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

 

 

 

 

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.”

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A Deep Exhale

Yesterday Em and I had a busy and stressful (for me) day. We had a follow up appointment with an orthopedist concerning Em’s hips. Being that she was a frank breech baby she was born with a risk of having hip dysplasia. For that reason, she was given an ultrasound on her hips at 6 weeks old and 3 months old.

We had a bit of a scare about her hips when she was six weeks old which left me a bit traumatized. You can read the back story here.

Our appointment was way across town which meant trekking across the city in the cold. I felt tense but breathed deeply and Em handled it like a champ.

We got there a half hour early. I know people say once you have a kid you’re always late but I haven’t found that (yet). Being late for something makes me SO anxious that I’m usually ridiculously early, even with my baby. I’m not saying this is a good thing. It’s just what always happens!

Being so early made me panic a bit wondering what the heck we would do for a half hour; however, The Hospital for Special Surgery happens to be amazing and very child-friendly. 

There was a woman playing ukulele in the waiting area! She asked for requests and gave Em her own show. She sang Itsy Bitsy Spider and I’m a Little Teapot. Em was entranced and so was I. When she sang “You Are My Sunshine” and changed the words of the first verse to be happier (like I do) I cried.

We got called in early and met with the lovely doctor who said Em’s hips looked great but they would do an x-ray just to be sure. When I asked how safe an x-ray was he explained it would be the same amount of radiation as a plane ride to California. We did that plane ride with Em so using that analogy soothed my worries.

We went across the hallway to get her x-ray and Em said “hi!” to everyone we saw. The receptionist. The 10 year old boy wearing headphones and watching a show on his phone. The mom waiting with him. The technician who walked by. She also pulled out my ponytail, snuggled into me tight and kept kissing me. Did she know I was scared? I don’t know. But she made me feel better.

As for the x-ray, I consider it a miracle moment. She laid perfectly still as we sang the ABC’s. It was shockingly easy as pie!

In the end we got confirmation that Em’s hips are developing normally and we don’t need to go back. I’m more relieved that I can explain here. The only way I could describe it is that Em having hip problems has been weighing on me since I was pregnant and learned she was breech. Now it feels like that weight is released and I am ten pounds lighter.

When we got home, I was physically and emotionally SPENT. My back was killing me from wearing 21 pound Em in the carrier all afternoon. I rolled out my mat. I rolled out Em’s mat, and this video is what happened.

I just want to say I’m so grateful for my healthy, sweet, social, communicative girl. My heart explodes every single day and I’m a way better person because of her.

Dingleberry 

I am going to bypass the story of the rude woman on the street today (I think you’ve probably heard enough of those) and go straight to the dingleberry story.

Today after we returned from Romeo’s morning walk we were chillaxing. I sipped by lukewarm coffee that I had been trying to drink for two hours (hello motherhood). Romeo lay on his special spot on the couch. Emily was being adorable chatting to herself and playing with her Daniel Tiger figurines.

From across the room I heard. “Cookie!” Emily is fascinated by Romeo’s treats or “cookies” as we call them. Hmm interesting, I thought. How did she get a cookie? So I walked over. I saw her holding what looked like a cookie in her hand. “Coooookie?” she said as she shoved it in Romeo’s face.

I looked closer.

Good God. That’s not a cookie. It’s a turd! It must have somehow stuck to Romeo and there it was in its fully glory.

I grabbed the small piece of poo from Emily’s hand and put it in a tissue. We then washed our hands THOROUGHLY.

Then I couldn’t stop laughing and texted friends and family to share the story. Most of them had a good laugh too!

Anyway what gets me the most about this all is the purity and innocence of it all. Emily had the best intentions. She was so damn cute in her enthusiasm “coooookie?” And then to imagine what Romeo was thinking. “Um, no thanks little lady.”

I hope that’s my first and only dingleberry story. 

Looking In Awe

Our Christmas tree has been up for a few weeks, and Emily isn’t over its beauty. In fact, she seems to appreciate it more and more each day.

She points to it and says, “Hi!” and “Oooh!” She looks at it whenever we say “Christmas tree.” She loves to look at each ornament and even loves the pine needles. She’s been persistent in her efforts to eat the pine needles so she is definitely keeping us on our toes!

Each night we say goodnight to the tree, and each morning we say good morning to it when she wakes up. It really is beautiful all lit up in the morning before the sun has come up. Even when I’m not quite ready for the day yet, I can appreciate it!

Today I was watching her look at the tree as if it was the first time she saw it, and I thought, wow. What if we lived that way as adults? What if we saw beauty every single day in the things that are always around us?

Then I realized there is a place I always look to in absolute awe. I never get over the feeling of consuming love, and it gets stronger every day. It’s when I look at Emily.

A good friend just had her baby girl last night, and she told me she can’t stop watching her sleep. It felt like an obsession. I told her that feeling never goes away.

This holiday season I am so grateful for the love I have for Emily. It’s a love that has me asking things everyday like- Where did you come from?? Who made you? Did I really grow you in my belly? How can you possibly be THIS cute??

It is a love of which I will forever be in awe.

 

 

 

 

Jingle Baby Yoga

Today’s practice was a lot of fun! Emmy went into cow pose on her own, and I showed her how to do tree pose. She won’t keep her Santa hat on for long, but when she does it’s adorable. Counting down 13 days to baby’s first Christmas! I talked with Santa and it sounds like he has some exciting plans.

Love Lives On

Even though it was a beautiful day, it was very hard not having my Nanna around this year on Thanksgiving. She has always been the center of that day- quietly cooking the most delicious food and then watching us while we eat and asking, “It’s not good?”

Your food was ALWAYS good, Nanna.

My Aunt Mary Jane sent me home with two boxes full of photos from Nanna’s house. This weekend I opened the boxes and they smelled like Nonno and Nanna’s house. They were filled with so many memories. My heart felt full and it also sunk.

It really hit me that I will never be able to go back to their house and visit them. At the same time, I know their spirits live in me and each of my family members. The photo of me below in particular stuck out to me. How can this be me? I see lots of Emmy in this photo.

I guess love lives on and on through each generation, and all we can do is love with all of our heart for as long as we can. I love you Nanna. I love you Nonno. I hope you had a good meal together in Heaven on Thanksgiving.

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Nanna at my wedding in 2014
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Me circa 1986