Family/Life Update: September 2018

It’s the start of a new school year for many families, and I too have some exciting family news to report!

This week was Kj’s first week of preschool!

We went into this new experience worried that Kj would have a lot of separation anxiety, but the school does a very good job of making the transition easy.  There were a few open events for families to attend late in the summer, to allow the youngest students a chance to get acclimated to the school itself.  Then, on the first day of actual class time, parents stay in the room with their children.  On the second day, parents leave the room but not the building.  The parents got to wait in a room together down the hall, in case any were needed by their children.  (That’s it for the first week for us, because we could financially only afford to enroll Kj in a two-day-per-week program.)  Next week, parents will leave the building, but class sessions will be shortened, allowing the students to ease into the longer time they’ll be at school the week after that.

Kj went to preschool on Tuesday and Thursday, but on Wednesday, he asked over and over again, “Go to school?  Go to school now?”  I think school is a big hit with him!  🙂

You may be wondering what business a 2.5 year old has going to preschool.  I’ve been asked more than a few times already why we would bother, when some kids wait until age 3 or 4.  Well, you can rest assured knowing Josh and I discussed this decision at great length, and we did determine it was the best thing for Kj, for a number of reasons.  Perhaps the biggest one being that Kj could learn some social skills by interacting with the other kids in his class.  Many of the kids who wait to start preschool (or who don’t go at all) don’t need to worry about socialization because they’ve already been going to daycare since birth.  We haven’t had that luxury, so preschool is the place we hope to give Kj the opportunity to grow verbally.  He may know words, but he has a difficult time putting them into sentences, or expressing opinions or abstract ideas, or even participating in a conversation as well as many other kids his age already can.  Sure, there may eventually be an academic side to school, too, but dry information dumping and flashcards are things we can do at home (and we do!).  The social skills are very unlikely to be learned at home (Josh and I are simply not socially-skilled).

Speaking of flashcards at home, there has been another milestone in Kj’s education.  As you may know, Kj has been reviewing letters and their sounds for quite some time already.  Since my last update, a new thing I decided to try to teach Kj is the concept that the letters should be looked at from left to right across the page.  I used a few basic words as examples.  While I was trying to show him how to read the letters from left to right, something else suddenly clicked in his mind:  He noticed that he can string the letter sounds together to make words!  He began reading a few basic words out loud.
To encourage his new skill, I made several basic word flashcards, and taught him how to read them.  That first, small set of words, he learned too fast!  So, I began to add more and more words, as he has been catching on faster and faster, and it’s important to me to keep him challenged.  Now, we have a stack of 91 words, 87 of which Kj is able read consistently.

 

While I am very proud of Kj’s interest in learning, I also have my own hobbies and interests I try to make time for.

I am still occasionally painting and crocheting.  Unfortunately, I’m finding it not very economical to keep buying supplies for these projects, and it sometimes becomes an issue of where to store completed projects.  We only have so much wall space for paintings to be hung, and there are only so many crocheted items I can wear or use.  I am considering starting an Etsy shop for one or the other (maybe even both?), so that I can continue doing these crafts I love, knowing that I’m not wasting space or material because the end product will go to someone else, and to bring in a little extra money for replenishing my yarn or paint stocks.  These ideas are purely theoretical at the moment.  I will give further updates if I decide to pursue this path.

And obviously, I am also still writing.  It isn’t easy, with nearly constant distractions available to me at all times.
I am so thankful to my husband for giving me relief from one of the biggest distractions for a bit so that I can focus.  We have an arrangement where one evening per week, Josh takes over sole care of Kj, so that I can use those few hours work on things like deep cleaning or writing.
As I am writing this, I can hear Josh down the hall barking at Kj, imitating the neighbors’ many dogs.  He’s doing a very good impersonation of those dogs.  It never ceases to amaze me how many creative ways Josh can come up with to keep Kj entertained.
About an hour ago, Kj was standing outside the office door, saying, “Mom’s working?”  It’s always strange to hear, because most of the time, it’s “Dad’s working.”
My wonderful husband answered him by saying, “Yes, mom is working.  She likes to use this time to focus.  Mom works very hard taking care of you, but she has other things she wants to work on, too, and this is usually the only time she gets to do it.”

Thank you, Josh!   ❤

 

Also on the subject of writing: Josh and I have begun to collaborate on a couple of writing projects together, which we are really excited about!  It’s not the time yet to disclose any more details than that, but please know that I am bouncing with the anticipation of being able to share what we come up with.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to say more in my next update!

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Mom-Guilt for Every Career Decision

When I was pregnant, my husband and I made the decision that I would be a stay-at-home mom.  At the time, it just seemed like a nice idea.  Becoming the domestic wife whose center and only focus was raising kids seemed like a sacrifice I could totally handle.  I guess I kind of romanticized the lifestyle.

Soon after the birth of our son, we found out that it was a good thing we made the decision for him to have a stay-at-home parent, but for an entirely different reason:
Bogged down by extreme post-partum depression, I found myself considering going back to work just for an excuse to get away, and I spent a lot of time researching infant daycare, and I found that it was so expensive, that if I went back to my old job (which was the highest I’d ever been paid, and probably the best I could ever hope for with my lack of qualifications), I would be paying out more in childcare than I’d be bringing in.  We would have literally lost money if I went to work.
So, I continued to stay home.

 

Why did I tell you about both of my reasons for being a stay-at-home mother?
Because by now, I’m conditioned to defend that decision.
There have been a handful of close friends and family who supported my decision (even a few who thought it was a great idea), but many people I know–extended family members, church acquaintances, former colleagues–were not so supportive.  Even people I barely know put their own two cents in when Kj was a few months old, and they realized for the first time that my leave from working outside of home was not as temporary as they apparently thought.  (“So, you’re still on maternity leave?”)
I’ve been asked on a regular basis when I’m going back to work.
I’ve been lectured on the physical activity I’m missing out on by not working, on stunting my child’s social development by being with him too much, and on setting a bad example for my child of laziness.
I’ve been asked ad nauseam that dreaded question: “What do you do all day?”

At several points, I told myself I was done justifying my time to anyone.
Unfortunately, there’s part of me that is always defensive, and cannot ever just let something go.  As much as I prefer to pretend that I don’t, I actually do worry what others think of me, so of course, a simple “It’s none of your business” does not suffice, and I feel the need to argue, again and again, the point that I am making a meaningful contribution to my family.
Also unfortunately, there’s part of me that doesn’t believe that.  I may say that what I do matters, but I’m never sure of it internally.  In addition to wanting a job just so I could have a break, and so I could do something fulfilling for myself, I was also feeling a constant guilt over not contributing to my household financially.  I knew I wouldn’t be making any money after paying for daycare, but I still felt that guilt.

In an attempt to remedy the financial guilt, I tried online work.
First, I tried transcription.  I made a little money that way, but soon gave up when I realized how hard it was to hear those poor-quality audio files, and then transcribe them perfectly, word-for-word. Even if I ever had a higher quality recording to work with, I’d probably take longer than the average person because of the way my ADHD brain processes sound.  (There’s a reason I don’t like to watch TV without captioning.)
Next, I tried freelance writing.  I did a little better there.  It’s hard to find assignments from clients who are honest about what they’re looking for, or who pay decently, but I was able to at least do better than with transcription, and it felt better than not working at all, so I continued with it, and still do it occasionally.

Online work wasn’t enough.  I still felt guilt.
There was guilt over no longer doing the job I had before baby.  I used to feel like I contributed meaningfully to society.  I used to get paid to help people with disabilities.  It was a dream.  I used to feel good about myself.
Then there was guilt over my child not getting out enough.  Josh and I tried harder and harder over time to give Kj plenty of opportunities to build his social skills, but I still secretly worried he might never catch up with the full-time daycare kids.

Overall, I spent more time than I’d like to admit thinking that a lot of problems would be fixed if I had a job.

But wait!  There’s more!
Recently, after seeing a job posting from the company I used to work for, about an opening in a department where I might be able to have hours opposite Josh’s job (and therefore avoid spending all my paychecks on childcare), I got in contact with the supervisor, and scheduled a meeting to talk about me coming back to work.
I was on cloud ninety-nine!  Just walking into the building made me feel like my old self, like I had never really left.  I went home after the meeting so excited at the idea of having a “real” job again.
That elation lasted a day.  The very next day, I started to think harder about how Kj would be affected.  It would be a difficult transition for him to have me away so much.
Additionally, there would be less time for teaching him.  I spend time every day helping him study vocabulary, reading, numbers and counting, art, and other subjects.  It’s fun and stimulating for him, and it’s important to me to give him as much of a head start on his education as I can (like all parents, I want my child to have the option to “do better” than I did).
And what about emotional connection?  What would happen if I was working nights and was never around to tuck him into bed again?
And what about Josh?  When would I ever see him if we were just taking turns taking care of Kj individually?  When would he ever have time to keep working towards his independent business dream, or to even have a hobby?
Suddenly, I realized how much guilt could be associated with being a working mom.

Sadly, I found myself thankful to hear back  that there wasn’t enough work currently available for the particular hours I had asked for.  I was relieved to not have to make the decision about whether to turn down the job that I had briefly been so ecstatic about.

Although I could just feel good about finally having validation that being a full-time parent was the right decision for my family, I’m also feeling very upset at the knowledge of how much guilt moms feel no matter which choice they make.  As children, we were taught that our careers were very individual decisions, and that we can and should be anything we want.  As mothers, we’re teaching the same thing to our children, yet no longer able to place our own dreams and professional ambitions in a place of priority.  Even when moms choose to work, their work is likely not as much of a priority as they wish it could be, when they have to be always aware of the mom-guilt, always second-guessing, “Am I doing what’s right for my family?” and always aware of the judgement someone in their lives may be putting on them.
I’m sad that mom-guilt over their career choices is a reality for all moms, regardless of what their choice was.
I’m angry that despite all of us having our own guilt to deal with, there are still parents out there judging other parents, which clearly does nothing but add to the guilt.   We have enough to worry about without having to know what other parents think of us.

 

I am now thoroughly convinced that there is no one “right” decision for work-life balance for parents, and I’m wishing more than ever before that moms would stop judging one another for their career choices.

Family/Life Update: July 2018

When I started doing this, I over-ambitiously thought I’d write an update every month.  So far, I’ve been accidentally skipping every other month.  Now, I’m realizing that at this point in my life, I should probably only try to do an update every other month, because there just are not enough major changes for now to warrant monthly updates.  So, every other month is what I’ll be doing for updates.  I wouldn’t want to spam my readers with filler posts just for the sake of sticking to monthly updates.  Thank you for understanding.

 

Life since my last update has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster…

First, there was that iconic steep drop the best roller coasters are known for.
With even less notice than you get going over that “point-of-no-return” on the big scary ride, I found myself suddenly sinking into one of the depressive phases that comes with having bipolar.  I was not myself, and was down and barely productive for weeks.  Honestly, I was shocked when I finally started feeling better.  But then, I know that the depression always feels like it will never end when I’m experiencing it close-up.  The same way that every time I am manic, I feel like I’m “cured” and will never feel depressed again!  (I’m always wrong about that, too.)  Right now, I’m feeling somewhere in-between, which is not nearly as fun as being in a manic phase, but–when I’m being truthful with myself–I know is the most stable place to be.

On some of my better days, I was suddenly motivated to start dabbling again in a dormant hobby: poetry.  I used to be really into writing poetry (even if I was not so much into sharing any of it).  Every once in awhile, inspiration strikes and I write a few more.

Additionally, I am finally working on crocheting a blanket I promised to an old friend a long time ago.  Somehow, it was a project that just kept getting put off, even though crocheting is a hobby that has never gone dormant.

 

Speaking of hobbies, Josh has been working learning a new one: game development.  He’s soaking up as much information as he can from tutorials, and hopes to have something original completed soon.

 

Right in step with Josh and I finding new, exciting things to fill our time with, we have been suddenly finding less time to fill, as Kj’s nap schedule is abruptly changing.  He is starting to not need naps every day anymore.  I suppose it had to happen eventually, as it does to most kids his age, and I count us lucky that he took such good naps for so long.
I can still get him to nap occasionally if it seems like he truly is tired and is only resisting the nap he needs… When he says, “Nap not, please!” (his way of saying he doesn’t want a nap), I give him a choice between taking a nap or having quiet reading time in his room.  He may choose quiet reading time nearly every time, but if he is tired enough, he’ll fall asleep next to an open book.

As if the reduced number of naps was not enough, another milestone came along to rock his sleep routine:
When I was dropping Kj off to spend a weekend at my grandparents’ house, before I could unload the pack-and-play from the car, my grandma said, “Well I don’t think we’ll need that.  We were just going to have him sleep on the couch.”  Of course, that launched a back-and-forth that involved a lot of me saying, “Are you sure?  He doesn’t even lie still in his crib, I don’t know if I’d trust him to stay on the couch.  Don’t you want me to leave it here just in case?”  But in the end, I was asked specifically not to even leave them the pack-and-play as a backup bed option.  Kj spent the weekend sleeping on the couch, despite my warnings that my child could not possibly be ready to sleep un-contained.
As you can imagine, I was thoroughly floored to hear the report at the end of the weekend that Kj had slept just fine, and did not get up and destroy the house in the middle of the night.
Deciding that the best course of action after this very recent success of Kj’s was to not give him a chance to regress, Josh and I transitioned his crib to a toddler bed.  (We’re very glad we chose a convertible crib back when we were shopping for baby furniture.)
As a celebratory family event, we took Kj shopping for a new pillow, and let him pick out his own pillow case.  To our surprise, he chose a plain, grey pillow case.
The first night, we watched him intently on the monitor, waiting for him to get up as soon as he realized he could.  It never happened.  We said to eachother, “Maybe he was just so tired that he went right to sleep.”  So we waited.  He woke up… and rolled over… and fell out of bed.  He tried to get back into his bed, but ended up falling asleep on the floor.  After we picked him up and returned him to his bed, he did not move from the bed again all night.  In the morning, he woke up, and sat there, waiting.  When I entered his room, he stood up on the bed and asked permission to get down.  (Is this even my kid??)
It’s been a couple of weeks now, and Kj is still using his toddler bed like a champ.

 

That is all the household news I have for now, so I guess it’s time to wrap this up.  If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading!  🙂  I’ll post another family update in September.

Why did it take me so long to text you back?

If you’ve ever texted me and then, when you finally received a reply hours later, breathed a sigh of relief knowing that I didn’t die, this post is for you!

I’m kidding.  I know that was a major over-exaggeration, but I’ve heard my share of complaints about my texting-back speed.
To that, first: a gentle reminder that the entire point of texting instead of calling is that what you need to communicate is not an emergency and you’re prepared to wait for the recipient of your text message to get to it on his or her own time.
Second: a list of very real reasons I’ve waited to respond or didn’t respond to texts, in case anyone wants to know (or can relate).

  •  I opened your message, couldn’t think of an answer right away, decided to come back to it when I had more time, but then forgot about it.  (Once a message has been opened, the notification for it goes away, making it hard to remember to come back to it.)
  • I opened your message, then immediately got distracted by another notification.
  • I opened your message, typed a response, and forgot to hit “send”.
  • You sent me an invitation or suggestion to make plans, and I am either not at home to check my calendar, or have other people to check with before I can confirm plans.  (Sure, it may be conventionally considered polite to let you know that I’m working on getting an answer, but let’s be honest: even a non-committal “Maybe. Let me check and get back to you,” would give any of us a false sense of hope.  If I care about you, I don’t want to do that to you.)
  • I opened your message, read and processed what you said, but it didn’t occur to me to respond.  (For example, if you send me a text that is purely informative, with nothing left open to interpretation, is not open-ended, and does not contain any question whatsoever, I might see that as the end of the conversation, and sometimes I forget that other people often expect a reply of “Okay,” to let them know the message was received.)
  • I didn’t receive your message because my phone’s storage is full, so it’s rejecting incoming messages, and I haven’t gotten around to deleting things and/or can’t decide what to delete to make room.  (As I’ve mentioned before, prioritization is not an easy thing for me.)
  • I opened your message and am delaying my response out of spite.  (Just kidding.  I don’t do that.  That always seems to be the first conclusion people reach, but it has yet to ever be true.)

 

I hope this clears things up for inquiring minds.

To anyone who can relate: I hope you take comfort knowing you’re not the only one!

Family/Life Update: May 2018

Oops, I skipped a month.
April flew by so fast, I’m not even entirely sure how I ended up not having time to write.  It was on my to-do list every week, and just kept getting pushed back in favor of other, seemingly more manageable to-dos.

But now it’s May, and if you’re friends or family, you probably want an update.
(If you’re not, this post will probably be uninteresting to you.  You can read it anyway if you feel like giving this relatively new, unknown blog a reader, or you can just scroll to “Sort by Category” (in the sidebar if you’re reading this on a computer or tablet; at the bottom if you’re reading this from a smart phone), and click any category other than “Family”.  These Family/Life Updates will always be categorized as “Family”
. . . Unless I forget.)

 

Recently, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out what my priorities are.

A problem I’ve frequently had is prioritizing everything, but then ending up having a hard time actually following through on everything.

Every once in awhile, though, I realize when something needs more of my attention.
If you are close to me, you might know that I spent some time struggling with my mental health.  Of particular note was post-partum depression, which I not only felt guilty for having, but also feared would affect my ability to love and parent my son properly.  Of course, I tried my best to take care of him, but after some time, I realized (maybe with a little nudge), that I was going to have to take care of myself if I wanted to have any chance of being a good mother.
After spending a great deal of time learning how to ask for help, practicing self-care, making time for breaks and non-baby-related hobbies, and a little bit of therapy, too, I finally feel like a whole person, and I even find ways to enjoy motherhood.
Somewhere along the journey of working on my mental health, I started noticing improvements I could make to my physical health.  The most obvious being my weight.  So, I started working on that, too.  I’m still technically “obese” by medical standards, but I’m making progress.
The reason I’m bringing all this up is because, over the last few months, I finally realized that I feel good, so now it’s time to figure out what I can do to help Kj develop and learn how to maintain a healthy state of mind.
I’ve been trying to make sure he gets plenty of time out in the sun (when there is sun, that is), and changes of scenery.  I’ve been logging as much time as I can playing and making him laugh.  I’ve been trying to pay attention and notice what causes him stress, how he handles stress, and what things are most helpful to him in stressful situations, as well as researching and testing activities for stress relief and prevention for children.  I’ve been reading Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham, and learning what I did wrong so far in Kj’s life, and how to improve.  (I won’t get into specifics right now, but maybe I’ll write a review for the book someday.)

While Kj is an obvious priority, in other areas of my life, it’s not so easy to figure out what deserves to be at the top of the list and what doesn’t.
Do I really need to exercise three times a day?
Yes, I do.  Slack off for even part of a day, and my motivation is killed for days.  Trying to get it back is like climbing a mountain.
Do I really need to help Kj study letter sounds and reading?
He seems to display a feeling of accomplishment over it, and I’d hate to just let him forget everything he already knows and have to start over.
Do I really need to study coding every day?
No, but I can’t skip more than one day in a row before I forget recent lessons and end up having to repeat them.  (Yes, I am trying to learn a new skill.  I could get into the reasons here, but I don’t know if this is the time to take up space with that list.  For now, I’ll just say that it is important.)
Do I really need to take a break twice a month?
Yes, I do.  I learned that during the self-care journey I mentioned before.
Do I really need to do the dishes every day?
WHOA, there’s not enough counter space in the kitchen to let those pile up, so yeah, I guess I do.
Do I really need to bug spray on a regular basis?
As someone who simply can’t even at the idea of coexisting with bugs, I can tell you that the number of dead bugs we find around the apartment really makes me worry about how many live ones we’d be finding if I stopped spraying.
Do I really need to write this blog?
I don’t even know.  Yeah, maybe.  Not really.
Do I really need to get 7+ hours of sleep?
Hmm… Maybe not.   Maybe I can cut into that to give me more time for other things…
Actually, yes.  Yes, I do.
I’ve tried on countless occasions to do with less sleep, and as a result, none of the above got done.  No matter what I try, the sleep just has to happen.
…And just like that, I can end up piling way more than I care to list here onto my schedule, justifying that every item needs to be done, and then feel overwhelmed and disappointed when I can’t do it all.
Periodically, I write it all out, with the amount of time each item takes, and add it up, trying to see if I can make everything I think I should be doing into a daily cycle:  Everything I wish I could make a daily priority, plus 8 hours designated for sleep time… 27.5 hours?  Sure, I can totally shove that into 24 hours.  Just gotta be faster.  (No, I know I can’t.  It doesn’t stop me from trying, though.)

I am slowly getting better at prioritizing, and finding ways to make a schedule that works, but I still can’t help trying to do more, more, more, sometimes when I get overambitious.  It doesn’t help that I’ve always been just a little too impulsive.

TL;DR: Why can’t I do all the things I think of? Why do I need to waste time sleeping?  Can I do everything?  No, but we all know I’m still going to try.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

Now for the most important part of this post:  Updates on Kj!

He now knows all the letter sounds, and is possibly getting close to learning how to read.  (And the best part is that he’s actually excited about it!)

Still not any closer to potty training, though.  I don’t have hope that it’ll happen any time soon when I can’t even get him to sit still on the potty for more than 0.6249 seconds.  All he wants to do is skip straight to hand-washing so he can decorate the entire bathroom with water splatters (but hey, at least it’s only water for now!).

His absolute favorite thing right now is playing on slides.  He loves them, and he goes down in all directions.  The plastic ones make his hair stand up.

Speaking of hair, he has even more of it now.  We might get him a haircut someday.  Eventually.  Probably.

 

 

Well, that’s all I can think of for now.  I plan to have another one of these updates written next month, if I remember, and if it doesn’t get shoved off of my to-do list by all my other “priorities”.
Thanks for reading!

5 Reasons Why We Ask You Not to Give Our Son Electronic Toys

Recently, Josh and I have started asking the friends and family who like to give gifts to our son to not give him electronic toys. We do actually have reasons for that request, and no, it’s not because we’re hipsters who think a superior child would be raised to use a typewriter instead of a computer. (I probably wouldn’t bother with a blog if we were.) To clear things up, I decided to write this post.

 

Here are five reasons we ask you not to give our son electronic toys…

Reason #1: They’re annoying.
I’m starting with the most obvious reason. The singing, beeping, high-pitched voices, and constant loop of children’s nursery rhymes is enough to make any adult pull their hair and swear off of electronics forever.

Reason #2: He probably has too many already.
First of all, there are the toys that were given to him since the beginning, a few at a time. They came at a slow trickle, and like boiling frogs, we didn’t realize at first how many electronic toys we were being surrounded with. When we did, we were able to slowly start getting rid of some, but it is taking awhile, as don’t like to give anything away too quickly after it was gifted to us, to avoid hurting feelings.
Then there are the toys that arrived more recently, even after we started making this request, because the generous people in our son’s life are human, and they forget.

Reason #3: They might be hindering his development.
Very little imagination and abstract thinking are needed to play with the electronics marketed towards babies and toddlers.  The toy does everything for you, or has built-in games so you don’t have to come up with your own.  Some research suggests that imaginative play is important to a child’s development, and helps teach social and problem solving skills.

Reason #4: They’re addictive.
Just having an even number of both traditional and modern toys isn’t enough, because when our son gets his hands on an electronic, he is so sucked in by the excitement of the noise and the flashing that he refuses to play with any other toys.  He ceases to even notice anything going on around him.  I’m not a child psychology expert, but I know that can’t be healthy.

Reason #5: They’re overstimulating.
As the offspring of two parents with ADHD, our is likely prone to sensory-seeking behaviors.  Before we knew what was happening and started making an effort to reduce the number of talking, singing, dancing, and flashing toys in his daily life, he was always acting bored and understimulated when he wasn’t playing with something electronic.  His toys were teaching him to expect to be constantly entertained, so he just didn’t know what to do with him when he couldn’t have instant entertainment on hand.

 

Those are the five reasons we’re trying to tone down the influence of electronic toys in our son’s daily life.  If you know us personally, thank you for understanding and being considerate of that preference.  To anyone else who may be reading: Please let me know if there’s anything I missed, or if you know of any other good sources for learning about this topic.

Thank you for reading!

Family/Life Update: March 2018

Blogging is harder than I thought it would be, but not for any of the reasons all the “blog advice” blogs tell you:
    “Writing is hard!”
    “You will probably run out of ideas!”
    “You need to advertise!”
    “You need to lure potential business partners!”
    “You need to have guest posts and a bunch of followers before you even start!” (Why?  I’m not that hardcore.   …I know, I know, there may be some cases where networking is the most important thing, but I’m just here to share what I think, whether to 1 follower or 100.)
No, the biggest difficulty I’ve run into isn’t any of the above.
It’s time.
I have plenty of ideas floating around in my head, but seemingly never enough time to get them written down before I forget (or before I’ve waited months since my last post).  (How does a WAHM not have enough time, you ask?  I once subscribed to the myth that a parent who stays at home must have all the time in the world.  I do think I ought to write on why I was wrong about that, but I should really save that for another post, to avoid getting too long-winded here.)

Anyway, I guess this might be a round-about way of justifying the gap since my last post.

On an only slightly related note:
One of the things I focused a healthy helping of that ever-fleeting time on since my last post was a major milestone in my family’s life: my son’s second birthday!

It’s amazing how much has changed since his first birthday.
– He’s taller.
– He’s smarter.
– He has greatly improved his motor skills.
– He can feed himself 100% of the time.
– He knows the alphabet and numbers 1-20.
– He has hair.  (He looks SO much better with hair.)

One other thing that was different for this birthday was that, contrary to what you may hear, we did not have a party.
We had a small gathering of people in Kj’s life who live close-by.  Some insisted on calling it a “birthday party,” but Josh and I were very diligent in our attempts to make it known that this was not a party.

Why no party?
I’ll tell you why:
– When a “party” is thrown, guests usually expect decorations and activities.  Our budget wasn’t that big.  We bought our guests lunch.  It was pizza.
– A “party” is also usually longer, maybe three to four hours.  Most of our guests were leaving within an hour and a half of arriving.  All were out in less than two hours.   This was better suited to our schedule (a two-year-old’s attention span).
– There’s not enough space in our apartment for a party.  A “party” would mean all friends and family should have been invited.  My extended family is fairly large in number, and we just don’t have the seating for that many people. (We didn’t even have enough chairs for the small gathering we did have.)
– Most importantly, we didn’t want to hurt any feelings.  By not having a party, I think we spared the aforementioned extended family and friends the feeling of being left out of a party.  No one gets upset over being left out of a “gathering”.
– Lastly is something that wasn’t so much a reason, but was a positive side-effect of not having a party: More people would have meant more toys added to our collection.  We have too many already, and barely enough storage space to keep them all organized.  Toys are taking over our home.  Some, he doesn’t even seem to know he has.  We can’t get rid of any toys to make room, because I’m always worried about hurting the feelings of whomever our child received the toy from.  Additionally, more gifts would result in more chances of electronic toys being given to him.  We make it a habit now to ask anyone seeking to give our son a gift that they choose something not electronic, but occasionally, there are some generous givers who forget and/or don’t listen.  (There are plenty of reasons we prefer to have as few electronic toys around Kj as possible, but that, too, is a subject for another post.)

Overall, Kj’s birthday was a success.  It wasn’t too stressful, we all had fun, Kj actually ate his cake without crying this time, and he got a few good creativity-stimulating toys and books, as well as some clothes that fit him and look good on him.  We dressed him in one of his new outfits for his 2-year pictures, where he really hammed it up and did a great job posing and following the directions of the photographer.

This has been a small update on a couple of things that have happened during the time I spent not writing.  I promise, I’ll try to make my next post more interesting and more timely.   🙂