Monday, August 19, 2013

Coming Full Circle

I haven't read a book in a while that I really connected with.  I just finished reading So Much Sky by Karen Weir-Jimerson.  The book is a collection of short stories about living in the country in Iowa.  This book brought me full circle.  It reminded me of how I grew up.  I could relate to so many of her stories; shearing sheep in the spring time, bottle feeding lambs, being able to go out to the garden and pick our food for that night’s dinner and all the splendor of the Iowa State Fair.  

The book also made me realize how much plans and dreams can change as we grow up.  I couldn't wait to get out of the country and out of a small town when I was in high school.  I was determined to be a city girl.  In fact, I actually remember telling my parents that I wanted to live in a city that had a traffic report.  When my best friend got a job offer in Minneapolis and asked if I would move with her, I jumped at the opportunity to move to a big city.  

I bought my “single girl in the city house” just outside of Minneapolis and thought I was set.  Then I fell in love and got married and eventually had a baby.  Now that “single girl in the city house” just isn't cutting it.   I long for the privacy of the country and want to have space for my child and dog to run free.  I want to have chickens scratching in the yard and pick their fresh eggs.  And I want to be able to use the phrase, "Go into town."   

It's amazing how this book really got me thinking. What I ended up wanting in life in the long run, I had the entire time.  It made me sad the more I thought about this.  But then I realized if I hadn't  pursued my dreams of being a city girl, I probably wouldn't have appreciated what I had growing up and realized that my heart is in the country.  I also wouldn't have met my amazing husband and had the best kid a mom could ask for.   

I know that eventually my family will end up living in the country because that's where we're meant to be.  Whether it's in the country I know so well in Iowa or I discover country living in Minnesota, that's still up in the air.   For now visits to the country keep me satisfied and help keep my dreams alive.   One day, I will be able to look out my kitchen window and see a sea of corn fields and look up from my yard and see so much sky.  

Friday, August 16, 2013

Feeling Like a Mom

As much as a I hate to admit this, there are times when I don’t feel like a Mom.  I think part of it is being a working Mom with an at home Dad for a husband.  Since E and Mike are together pretty much 24/7, it’s only natural that E would gravitate to him more.  It's not that I doubt E's love for me.  He greets me at the door when I come home from work, usually with a book or toy to show me and always with a smile.  But it’s clear that Mike is the primary care giver.  He knows E’s likes and dislikes better than I do and knows E's daily routine inside and out.  

When we’re all together, I find myself asking Mike questions.  Like what E should eat or when he needs his nap.  It’s those moments when I don’t always feel like a Mom.  He’s my child too, I should know these things.  But the reality is, I work outside the home and Mike is an at home Dad.  Sure, I wish it were me that got to stay at home and be a full-time Mom.  But for now I’m just grateful that we even have the option to have one of us be an at home parent.

I've learned that if I do things with E on my own, I feel a stronger bond with him and have that "Mom" feeling.  I realized this a couple of weeks ago.  A friend asked if E and I wanted to meet her and her niece at an indoor play area. We went and had a blast.  I actually felt like a Mom.  I can’t explain it, but it was a feeling that just hit me.  It had been a while since E and I had done anything just the two of us and it’s just want I needed to reaffirm my feelings as a Mom. 

I love doing things as a family but it’s important that I have my own time with E.  Mike has plenty of 1-on-1 time with him and I want E to experience that with me as well.  It also gives Mike a break from being in Dad mode 24/7.  There will be many more Mommy and E dates in our future.  Well, at least until he hits the teenage years, then I'll give him a break.  

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Settling into the Toddler Stage

Expressing that he doesn't want the banana.  
We've reached the toddler stage and from what I've read and heard, the toddler stage lasts quite a while.  The Terrible Two's are also just around the corner.  E is only 14 months, but I think we're rounding that corner.  E isn't throwing tantrums or anything like that, he's just becoming more of his own person each day and learning to express his thoughts and opinions. He is also very curious about his world and with that comes testing boundaries. He knows when something is naughty because once I tell him "No", he'll turn and slyly smile at me and try to do it again.

Being a toddler also means not sitting for more than a minute at one time.  Mike and I used go to a restaurant and E would be content sitting in his carrier watching the world go by.  Now we bring plenty of toys and crayons to keep him occupied but we usually end up taking turns walking him around the restaurant.  We're getting more and more take out on those days when we don't feel like cooking.    

Mike and I are trying to figure this discipline thing out.  It's hard with a 14 month old.  I don't want to squash his curiosity or his spirited opinions, but at the same time I want him to learn manners and the proper way to behave.  Not to mention some of the "No's" are for his own safety.  I also don't want to be the mother that's constantly harping on her child chasing after him yelling "No, no!.  That's not fun for either us.  Mike actually saw one of those at the library the other day, he said it wasn't pretty.

We do our best to redirect E when he's in the "naughty zone" and remove anything that could possible hurt him.  I've learned that childproofing is an ongoing process.  We've got some time to figure it out though. Mike and I are settling into this phase because we'll be here for a while and the fun is only beginning.