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The Great Dance Debate

Let me start by saying thank you to everyone who commented on my last post.  All of your suggestions were helpful, especiallyLindsey’s , who suggested that I just throw the recliner away.  I seriously thought about that one because really, who wants to clean a pee soaked chair?  Not me!  Although, I thought with the state of the economy I would choose the cheaper option.   I used a combination of Borax, baking soda, and sunlight.  All have worked to get the smell out, but the stain is still there.  I’m going to have to get some of that cleaner that Danielle mentioned because I do remember that it worked on my couch so well for food stains that we used the whole bottle. 

When I haven’t been all consumed with potty training over here (which takes up most of my free time), I have been worrying myself silly over whether or not I should start Aeralyn on dance classes this fall. 

What?  You never knew that I make a HUGE deal out of seemingly very small matters?  Well, hello!  You do not know the half of it.  Feel free to roll your eyes at my expense, because honestly?  I know I’m all shades of crazy.  My family tells me often.

Anyway, Aeralyn is 2 and 1/2 now, and I’m thinking it is time to put her in dance.  I say that, and I mean it, but in the same breath I realize how ridiculous that sounds, too.  I mean, she is 2 and 1/2.  Practically still a baby.  I do think that she is ready for something though, and I’m thinking dance is where we will start. 

Now, my issue is that there are tons of dance studios in our area.  The first one I looked at was ruled out quickly when I saw that the elementary age dancers were wearing booty shorts, half tops, fishnet stockings, and makeup caked on thicker than a New Jersey housewife.  It was also run by a girl that I went to highschool with and was never very fond of, so that was a quick no.  Even a HELL NO considering I don’t want my little girl looking like a little ho.

There were a few other studios that were quickly ruled out when I heard from other moms with experience that they didn’t approve of the dance moves, didn’t love the instructors, etc. 

Then I found one studio that I liked because they wear cute, age appropriate constumes, the owner is young, vibrant, and super sweet, and I had a good reccommendation from a mom that I know and trust.  They have one recital a year, classes are once a week from September to May, they have award winning competition dancers, and the instructors are all exceptionally trained.  The only drawback that I see is the price: $500. 

Five. Hundred. Dollars.  Half of ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS.  Payable in 4 easy installments of $125.  Oh, and by the way?  Costumes for recitals are extra. 

Once I died and came back to life, I realized that that is the going rate for dance classes, and actually?  That is a little cheaper than some places. 

Once I came to terms with the fact that dancing is quite an expensive activity, I thought I had settled on that studio.  I signed Aeralyn up for the one week summer dance camp and went on about my merry way.  Then, just yesterday, I found out about another dance studio that is right down the street from the first one.  I recognized the name right away, but I always assumed it was in Savannah, not close to my house, so I never thought twice about it.  Well, I paid that studio a visit this morning, and was practically swept off my feet. 

This studio is bright and shiny and a thousand times fancier than the first one.  I tried to tell myself that brighter and shinier does not always mean better, but I was quickly falling in love.  I took a tour and even got to watch a 5-6 year old class practice for the upcoming recital.  The dance was cute, the costumes were even cuter, and as far as I could see, I didn’t see a child hooker wannabe anywhere in sight.  The instuctor was also young (although older than the first), vibrant, and cheerful.  This studio has 2 recitals a year, including the cutest ever Christmas one where they perform the Grinch.  They have a float in both of our hometown parades, exceptionally trained instructors, a summer dance camp, and the same prices as the first dance studio.  BUT WAIT!  There’s more!  They also have logo tees, shorts, jackets, etc., monnagrammed dance bags and jackets, and all the other bright shiny stuff. And a waiting room for parents to sit in with a TV that shows your child’s class while they are practicing. 

I badly want to go with the fancier studio, but then again, I almost feel like I should go with the first because I really did love it, until I saw this other one.  And I already have Aeralyn enrolled in the camp there with a nonrefundable deposit.  I could try the first studio for a year and if I don’t like it, change to the other one the next year, but I really don’t want to do that.  I am almost certain that this is something Aeralyn is going to enjoy and want to stick with for a while, so I would like to pick a place and keep it instead of flip flopping. 

Is anybody still out there?  If you have any advice to give, please give it.  I know you may think this is the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard in your life, but it is very important to me, and I’m pretty sure it is going to be important to Aeralyn in the near future.  Atleast, I hope it is because I sure have wasted a lot of time worrying about it if it’s not.

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Some days, this working mom gig really sucks. 

Today is one of those days.

Everyday is a test of my patience, which I tend to have very little of at any given moment anyway.  I inherited the impaired patience gene from my father, and some days, I think the dear Lord forgot to give me any at all. 

Today was the last day of school.  Working in a Kindergarten classroom is challenging everyday, but throw in a week straight of rain (OH! THE RAIN!!), the excitement over summer vacation, total loss of routine and structure, and parents hanging out in the classroom all day, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for total chaos.  Today seemed to be one of the longest days ever, and my patience was definitely all used up at school, as it is on many days.

Now I feel guilty because I don’t have any left for Aeralyn, and it’s not fair to her.  And good GRACIOUS!  Does she ever need my patience today considering she did not get a nap at daycare, has been couped up inside all week (see above: RAIN!), and apparently ate 7 gallons of candy today(grrr…which reminds me: why the hell does every freaking celebration for kids have to involve massive amounts of sugar?  Whoever invented that concept should be locked in a room with eleventy million sugared up 3 year olds.)  

Ahem.  Back to my point. 

My kid is currently running circles around the dog in the living room and screaming like a raving lunatic(when I started writing this post, it was 4:30 in the afternoon.  Now it is 8:40pm and her little butt has been nestled in bed since 6:45pm).  Also, we have had meltdowns over: the wrong flavor of yogurt offered for snack, the fact that I gave her leftover broccoli and cheese soup for dinner (homemade and awesome by the way and totally not from a can), the inhumanity that there were no “pony panties” clean so I offered flowered ones instead and finally shoved a Pull-Up on her ass because I am thisfreakingclose to listing her on Ebay.  And everyone wonders why I’m so fanatical about her getting her nap during the day.  This is why people.  THIS IS WHY!!!  Then I decided to give myself a little bit of a break and pop in a movie so that I could load the dirty dishes torturing me in my sink into the dishwasher.  I was in the kitchen and she was in the living room, which is WIDE OPEN to the kitchen.  Like one big room, really.  She was sitting in the recliner which is facing away from the kitchen watching the movie…or so I thought.  I was working on the dishes for about 10 minutes before I thought to myself, wow, she is really quiet.  Then I thought, wonderful, she has gone to sleep at 5 in the afternoon.  I walked in to check on her, and I found this:
Photobucket

That, my friends, is an entire tube of itch relief cream.  And this is photo evidence of why you should never, ever, trust a quiet child.

Also, fun fact of the day that I betcha didn’t know because neither did I and I still wish I didn’t: guess what smells like a giant rotten egg fart?  If you guessed massive amounts of anti itch cream, then you guessed right!  Lucky you that you’re not here smelling it. 

The following conversation ensued between Aeralyn and I:

Me: Why did you play with the itchy medicine?
Her: Juss ecuz
Me: You know better than to play with medicine, don’t you?
Her: blank stare
Me: (growing impatient but still thinking I should probably get a picture of this) Don’t you?
Her: uh huh
Me: Then why did you do wrong and play with the medicine?
Her: Juss ecuz I was a little bit itchy

Well folks, there you have it.  Seemed like a good enough reason for me.  ‘Tis the story of my life. 

And who says I don’t have patience?  Oh yeah, me.  That’s right.

I was really going somewhere with this post about having all this guilt for being a working mom and blabbity blab, but I totally lost it and now you have the story of how we ended up with an early bath and early bedtime around here for everyone.  And now I’m off to bed so that I will be semi-ready when she wakes up at 6:30am since she went to bed so early.  I just know that is going to bite me in the butt.  And hopefully it won’t make it itch considering we are now out of anti itch cream.

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Month Thirteen

Dear Aeralyn,

On Monday, you turned thirteen months old.  You’ve made some radical changes this month, and I can hardly believe that this time last year you were a helpless little infant. 

You have turned into a little sponge lately.  Everything you see, you remember.  Everything you hear, you try to repeat.  It is nothing short of amazing.  The other day, I was reading one of your books about animals to you.  It is one that we have read almost every day since you were a couple of months old.  We got to the page with the big tiger on it, and you roared.  I always make the animal sounds when I’m reading that book to you, and you remembered that the tiger says “Roar”.  I couldn’t believe it.  Then later that day, a commercial came on with a tiger on it.  You stopped dead in your tracks and roared at the TV.  You also bark, which is funny because you whisper for some reason.  You meow when you see a cat, and you try to whistle when you see a bird.  You make a fish face sometimes when I ask you to, and you can say “fishy”.  You follow commands like “Get me a book” or “Put it in your toy box”, and you’ve started helping me pick up your toys.  You can choose between two snack choices by pointing at which one you want, and you let me know when you want to nurse by bringing me your pillow.  You are getting so big and independant every day.

With your new skills, you have also been busily developing your attitude.  You are now an expert at pitching fits, something I’d hope to avoid for a few more months.  Meal times are a challenge because when you’re done eating, you think it is time to get out of the highchair immediately.  And if that doesn’t happen?  You get a little angry.  But you will learn, I’m sure of it. 

You have developed a deep love for shoes, and if it were up to you, you would always have a pair on your feet.  Even while sleeping.  When I first started putting shoes on you, I worried that you wouldn’t like the confinement of them, or that you wouldn’t sit still for me to get them on your feet.  But that is definitely not the case.  You bring them to me and wait to be picked up so that I can put them on you.  Then you will sit on my lap patiently until I finish strapping them on.  I get the most fuss out of you when I take them off. 

We are taking you on your first vacation this weekend, and we couldn’t be more excited.  We are going to the GA Aquarium to see the fishies, and if the weather permits, we are going to the zoo to see the tigers.  I hope you enjoy it, and I will take plenty of pictures for you to see when you’re older.

I can’t wait to see what this month brings.  I love you punkin’, more than words can say. 

Mama 

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I just Googled “Homemade Halloween Yard Decor”.

Somebody please stop me.

This is what having a child does to you. Actually, I can’t blame it all on the baby. I LOVE Halloween. L-O-V-E. And I think that Aeralyn has inherited that love from me. On Monday, we went shopping. And oh my goodness, there are two brand spanking new Halloween shops in my area. Yes, TWO stores with nothing but Halloween items in them.

Ohmygoodness!!

In both of the stores, they had scary displays of ghosts, goblins, hideous witches, skeletons with flashing red eyes, HUGE spiders, the works. Aeralyn was fascinated with them all. And y’all, I might have had to hold in a tear because my little girl likes Halloween too!! Just like her mama!

Like I said before, somebody stop me. Or better yet, any ideas on homemade yard decor for Halloween? Or am I the only freak that would actually decorate their yard for the occasion?

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Around here today, there are many things that need to be done. There are clothes to be washed, and towels to be folded and put away. There are dishes to be loaded in the dishwasher, sinks to be scrubbed, and floors to be mopped. There are carpets that need to be vacuumed, and trash that needs to be taken out. There are errands to run, checks to write, and phone calls to make.

But none of that matters right now. All of that can wait until tomorrow, or even the next day. The only thing that is important right now is that my little girl wants her mama. She needs me to hold her and rock her and kiss her sweet cheeks. The rest of the world can wait because someday, she won’t need me anymore. But right now, she does, and that’s all that matters.

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*sigh* Last night was not great. I put her to bed at 7:45pm, and she was up at 8:20pm. It took Aaron and I right at an hour to get her back to sleep. When I first went in her room, I layed her back down and tried patting her back, but she was NOT having that. So I picked her up and rocked her without offering to nurse. I got her to the relaxed state and layed her down, and she started fussing so I stayed there with her and patted her back, rubbed her head, etc. This went on for about 30 minutes until I couldn’t lean over the crib anymore, and as soon as I walked away she started screaming. So Aaron went in and did the same thing (except he didn’t pick her up at all), and she fell asleep after about 15 minutes, but only slept for about 3 minutes. Then I went back in and she was so worked up, so I picked her up and nursed her for less than five minutes, and put her in her crib and patted her back for only a couple of minutes, then she was asleep. That was at 9:25pm, and she slept until 12:15pm.

Then, I remember looking at the clock when she woke up, but I have no recollectuion of actually going and getting her and bringing her to my room. That happens all the time. So I think what I’m going to have to do is set an alarm for a few minutes before she usually gets up so I will be up and ready when she wakes up. Then I will try to get her to sleep in her crib. We will see.

My ultimate goal is getting her weaned completely at night. I would like to have her fully weaned by October, November at the latest, but I can’t start weaning during the day until she is weaned at night. I have a feeling this is not going to be an easy process…

Thank y’all for helping me out and encouraging me during this time. It really is hard, especially when I know that I’ve created this situation. I have found myself constantly questioning and anlayzing my parenting lately, and I’m starting to drive myself a little crazy. I was so focused on breastfeeding in the beginning with Aeralyn, even though it did not come easy for me. She was a very fussy/colicky baby, and the one and only way to get her to calm down was to nurse her. So I did that, for hours and hours on end, day and night. I was obsessed with the fact that I didn’t know whether or not she was getting enough, and if she was crying, my first thought was that she might be hungry. Even if she had just nursed 20 minutes earlier, I thought maybe she didn’t get enough because I had no way of knowing. It was exhausting and frustrating, but she eventually grew out of the stage where she wanted to be attatched to my breast every second of the day. But, I still kept up with the “on-demand” feeding. I never fed her on a schedule. I never looked at a clock to see what time and for how long she was nursing. And I always nursed her to sleep. So this is how all this got started. It was all me. And I get alot of criticism from people over this situation too. I constantly hear about how Aeralyn is so spoiled, or how they can’t believe I don’t have her on a routine. Or, “She’s not sleeping through the night YET?!”, or “Are you STILL breastfeeding? When are you planning on stopping that?” as if it is the worst thing in the world. So, thank you all for not criticizing me here because all I am is a first time mom with no clue what to do. I’m just trying to be a good mom. And poor Aeralyn gets to be the guinea pig.

I’m going to respond to your comments in this post because I hate actually responding in the comments since I never know if anyone checks back to see.

Jessica: Thanks for posting Dylan’s schedule. It actually looks fairly similar to Aeralyn’s day, excet that she doesn’t take a nap that is anywhere close to that long. I think that has alot to do with why she’s not sleeping at night too, so I’m working on that. I wish that I would have started putting Aeralyn to bed awake at a really young age. I wish I would have thought to do that because, honestly? That never even crossed my mind. But now, it’s impossible to even let her try to cry it out because she doesn’t just lay there and cry anymore. As soon as you step away from her, she is standing up at the side of the crib and trying to climb out, all the while screaming her head off. So I just don’t see her going to sleep that way, you know? And I have mentioned it to her pediatrician, but I keep my mouth shut now when he asks me if she is sleeping through the night because I didn’t like his advice. He told me, get ready for this now….to give her Benadryl to help her sleep through the night. Yeah. And the only reason I haven’t changed pediatricians is because I LOVE everything else about him, and Aeralyn absolutely adores him, so I think I’ll just live with that. And the other pediatrician in the practice is an AP (attatchment parenting) mom to the EXTREME. I consider myself AP, but not in the ways that she is. She told me not to worry about her not sleeping through the night until she was atleast 2 years old, and by the way, aren’t you planning on breastfeeding her until she’s in preschool? And no, I’m not exaggerating. So, unfortunately I have no good advice on the pediatrician end.
I am going to do a combination of what you did with Dylan and what the book said to do. I’m not going to pick her up unless she is majorly freaking out. I’m hoping this doesn’t take too long. Thanks again for your help and encouragement.

Erica: Good to hear from you! I’ve missed your blogs lately. Thanks for your comment. Night nursing is definitely a habit for Aeralyn. I know she’s not really hungry, she just wants the comfort of it. I have tried giving her formula before bed with a little bit of cereal in it (several months ago), but it didn’t help at all. That is how I found out that the night nursing was for comfort and not hunger because I knew she was full from that bottle. She is trained to wake up and nurse. I’m like a human pacifier. And consequently, she absolutely will not take a pacifier. I try to give her one on a daily basis. Or nightly that is. Also, the last time I tried to give her a bottle, she would not take it. I had waited too long since the last time I had given her one, so she would not have it. And when I leave her for a few hours with my in-laws, she would rather just wait for me to come home than take a bottle. She will eat solid food and drink water or juice from a sippy while I’m gone, but she won’t take a bottle. I’ve actually thought about giving her water or formula in a sippy cup when she wakes up instead of nursing her. I wonder if maybe she would realize that she’s not going to get to nurse, so she’ll stop waking up. What do you think? Thanks again for your comment and thoughts!

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Well, so much for the schedule! We were doing great until around 10:00am, Aeralyn fell off my bed and landed right on her head. I know, what was she doing on the bed? I know! I feel awful. I was less than 6 inches away from her when she fell, but I just couldn’t catch her in time. It was like it happened so fast, but in slow motion too. I called the pediatician and they said to monitor her and to keep her up for the next 30 minutes. She only cried for about 5 minutes after it happened, and then she acted fine. She doesn’t even have a knot on her head (yet) and it’s only a little red. I’m so glad she missed the corner of my cedar chest because then we would have had a much bigger problem on our hands. The pediatrician called back about 45 minutes later to check on her and said it would be fine to put her down for a nap. That is what she is doing now, so I guess the schedule isn’t completely thrown off. Never a dull moment.

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