Toddlers

Toddlers are insane. Toddlers are irrational and volatile. They are sneaky ninjas. They are menaces and maniacs.

Toddlers are amazing. Toddlers are spirited and enthusiastic. They are vibrant and alive. They are passionate, curious and constantly yearn to explore. They are my heroes.

My name is Jessica, and I’m am exhausted toddler mom.

I know I’ve made claims in past posts about dealing with toddlerhood, but I had no idea what I was talking about. I thought that was part was challenging, but boy oh boy, it gets harder.

Before I elaborate, I just want to send a shout out to all the parents out there. I am amazed by parents of multiple children because I find raising one child to be a great challenge. I am amazed by single parents doing it on their own because I have tons of support and am still struggling. I am just amazed by you.

As a toddler mama, it is my job to trust. It is my job to protect my daughter when she needs protecting, and to support her when she wants to explore. It is my job to reflect back to her the very wonderful girl she is on the inside. This means sometimes saying no, and other times saying yes. I am always close to her because sometimes toddlers hit or fall or get scared. I am there. I am present with her. And doing all this? It’s not always easy. And it’s definitely not perfect.

Last week, Emmy declared a nap strike. The way we had been approaching nap time was no longer tolerated, and she vigorously protested. She even climbed out of her crib, opened her door, walked out and said, “NO sleep.” At 21 months I was pretty shocked by this. Damn, girl’s got opinions, and strong ones at that!

So began the Nap Strike of ’17. And mama was at a loss.

After 8 days of struggles with her nap, I finally took a break and my husband took over. It took him a few hours but he reset the nap time ritual so that her stuffed animals are now involved. We call it a “nice nap” and we talk about how she is a big girl because she takes said “nice nap.”  Since the dada reset, things have been doing pretty well. *Knock on wood!

What did I learn? I learned my daughter is strong-willed and when she has an opinion she’s going to let me know it very clearly. (You go girl, and also I’m tired.) I learned I need a break or else I will indeed burn out.  I also learned what it means to make a decision for my child that she really hates, but I know is best for her.

I’m writing this as she naps with the following: a stuffed animal dinosaur, cookie monster, broccoli, hippo, turtle and two baby dolls. She asked for more but I had to draw the line somewhere, right? Emmy Duck

 

 

 

 

Wonderwoman

Today I did something I have not done in over two years; I went to see a movie by myself.

The last time I saw a movie by myself was when I was pregnant. I just love going to matinees alone. It’s such a treat! I can totally immerse myself within the movie and experience it fully. (Twizzlers and soda included.) As a movie-lover it’s one of my greatest escapes.

Today I had a babysitter for three hours and thought about what I should do. My first thought was go to Whole Foods, run some errands. Honestly that sounded pretty shitty to me.

So, on a whim I checked the showings for the movie theater around the corner and guess what? WONDERWOMAN was playing in 3D during the exact hours I had a sitter. DING DING DING! Winner winner chicken dinner. Whole Foods can wait!

I watched Wonderwoman today. I cried, I laughed, my whole body tingled. It was AMAZING. It was something I’ve never seen before. It was beautiful. It was fierce. It was a powerhouse of a movie.

And I thought… my daughter is growing up during a time when a bad ass woman is the hero, where a bad ass woman saves the world. Hell yes!

The first photo is my brother Chris and me on Halloween maybe 1988? As you can see, I’m Wonderwoman. And amazingly my mom saved that outfit. Emmy wears it now.

That little girl in the first picture could never have known that one day she’d have a daughter who grew up in a time where a woman saved the world; a world where a mama could take time for herself to watch it happen.

Story Time Yoga

Last week the first official class of my new company JEM YOGA NYC began. I was nervous at first, bur once I got into the flow of leading the class it felt like I was soaring. I was back at it and had that feeling of “this is what I’m meant to do.” And the best part? Em was right there with me.

Em is used to going to classes and is also used to doing yoga with me at home. I think in her mind it was just a normal day! She went with the flow, did some poses, joined me for savasana and proudly said, “Bye Bye Yoga!” as I put away the little yoga mat I had brought.

I felt so much emotion when I got home last week after class, but the biggest one of all was pride for my baby. I put my passion for teaching on hold for a while when she came into this world, and to come back now feeling like my heart is more full than ever? I just feel so blessed!

Story Time Yoga Class 1Story TIme Yoga Class 2

 

 

My Own Thing

I’ve been talking about starting up my own kids yoga class for over a year now. I have come up with about a thousand excuses for why I wasn’t going to. Then it hit me. What am I waiting for? So finally, I took the initiative to start a kids yoga class this summer at Gymboree, Emily’s favorite place. The best news? She could take the class too!

It is absolutely terrifying to put myself out there and say- this is what I want to do. I’ve never done anything completely on my own. In the past few weeks a lot of experiences have made me realize that even if I fail, it doesn’t matter. The important part is that I listen to that inner voice that’s saying. “Just give it a try.”

Story Time Yoga .PNG

That Moment 

I hadn’t taught kids in quite some time when I began teaching a few classes at a preschool last month. I was rusty and a little awkward and felt like it went… okay.

This morning I taught again and I felt my confidence in teaching surfacing again. It by no means went perfectly but there was this moment. 

It was when I walked into the last classroom and a girl was screaming crying and the kids were running and it was so loud. I sat down and began taking deep breaths, and something miraculous happened; the kids got silent and followed. 

We took a few breaths together and it was quiet and calm. And THAT moment, the brief pause between the lesson plan and the noise and the crying and the excited screaming and the running and the diving hugs, THAT is why I love sharing yoga with kids. 

If you watched a class it wouldn’t look like a clean and tidy yoga practice that’s tied in a bow. It would look a little messy and loud. But I’ve taught long enough to know that kids are sponges taking it all in in their own way. And what a gift for me today to bring them a moment of calm without saying a word. 

Mom Yoga, Toddler Yoga

Today I got in a yoga practice and it felt so good. I was able to do this because of Emily’s fascination with shoes. You see, she spent most of this time off to the side trying to get on her sneaker!

She wasn’t the least bit frustrated or annoyed as she did this over and over again, even though she never actually got her sneaker on. She was just content to be in the moment practicing something.  Isn’t it amazing how focused a child can be when exploring something they are interested in?

Emily reminded me of one of the Niyamas or observances in yoga called Santosha. Santosha means finding satisfaction in exactly who we are and where we are without wanting to change anything.

I am grateful that today we both got in a yoga practice. I got in my yoga through the poses (asana) and Emily got in her yoga by practicing her one-pointed focus (dharana) during her shoe-putting-on investigation!