Andy and I had a lot of great moments this week. Tons of cuddle and playing time and more yelling of the word "Mommy!" than I thought one little boy was capable of. I got to see Andy's face light up and his little legs kick in excitement from his seat in the stroller whenever we took a walk and the park came into view. I heard him call out "Whee!" every time he flew down the slide. He had a blast playing at the Round Lake Children's Museum, and I know he loved seeing our neighbors so much. All I'd have to do was mention little J's name (J being one month older than Andy), and his face would break into a huge smile as he ran to get his shoes. Yesterday, when we were hanging with them in their kitchen, J's dad came in and gave both her and her mom kisses. Andy expectantly puckered up his lips and presented his face for his own turn. My neighbor very good-naturedly kissed Andy as well after an appropriate pause, and I realized that Andy believed the neighbors were family. Which, in a way, they kind of are.
Is that the hammering of a "For Sale" sign I hear?
Aside from all the great, sweet moments shared between Andy and his Mommy, though, we had a couple rough patches. And I had a couple of major realizations. Here they are, in no particular order.
* Keeping Andy occupied when he's not in day care is going to be difficult. Add in the fact that there's going to be a new baby for me to care for, and suddenly the task seems insurmountable. Andy grew bored very quickly of all of the at home activities I presented for him and would ultimately seek out his shoes and point at the door for me to take him out. Which would be fine if I had all the time and all the perfect weather in the world to take him out as he pleased. But I don't, and telling him no resulted in a lot of screaming and crying. The at home activities- the Play Doh, the coloring, the car racing- all worked for about five minutes until he'd smack them away disdainfully. I grew desperate a couple times, filling a large bowl with soapy water for him so that he could play with the bubbles. This resulted in a lot of soapy water on my floor, but Andy's interest in messing with the bubbles lasted a full twelve minutes- an eternity- and, hey, my floor needed a mopping anyway. I also tried to tempt him with plugging the Donkey Konga drums into the old Game Cube (how could he NOT love this??), but even his interest in banging along to a monkey was fleeting. Shocking, I know.
* Andy thinks that he's the boss. Chris had been on my case for some time now for not disciplining Andy when he needs it, and I've mostly brushed off his criticism, because Andy is my perfect little baby and I have a running list of excuses for every ill deed he commits. Well, this week, the error of my ways came rushing up to me like a dog smelling beef in my pocket. I'm not doing either of us any favors by letting him get away with hitting me when I tell him no, or by half-heartedly telling him no and then letting him do something naughty anyways. I need to be stricter with him. Otherwise, we'll have repeats of our incident in Wal-Mart this week, which was the most embarrassing half hour I've ever spent in a Wal-Mart. And THAT is saying a lot, since I vaguely remember peeing my pants in a Wal-Mart when I was a kid. Or maybe that was Venture. Who remembers Venture?
* Andy will NEED a schedule of activities. This is going to be more difficult than it sounds, since I'll have the newborn and a missing income. But, this is something that is going to be very important for both of our sanities. I need to secure a two year old preschool program for him and also find other things he can do, either with or without me, for cheap at the park district. He loves other kids and people and needs to be in a setting, at least for a few hours a week, where there are structured activities in a safe setting. I'm terrified of Andy not having day care anymore. Day care keeps him busy and happy. And, as his mother, I'm afraid that I can't offer him the same busy and happy atmosphere. Does that sound like a terrible thing to admit?
|Andy at the Children's "Museum."|
Speaking of peeing alone, now might be a good time to mention that Andy peed on the potty by himself this week! He totally initiated the action, took a whiz in his little pot, and even- I swear- reached for toilet paper afterwards. That happened on Thursday (or was it Wednesday- what day is it today?), and while I've placed him on the potty several times since then, he's not replicated his awesomeness since then. No worries, though- he's not even 21 months yet. So, I'll keep offering up the potty for now and we'll see what happens.
This week has had me wondering if it's the best idea for me to stay home from work. There, I said it. Here's the problem, though. I believe it's best for me to stay home for the new baby. It killed me to return to work after three months with Andy. But I'm not sure it's best for me to stay home with Andy, who has grown used to his day care weeks with his friends and teachers. So, how do I balance that, I wonder? By taking my time off from work, enjoying my children, keeping Andy busy as best as I can- and then re-evaluating when the time comes and finding a new job and new schedule that works for me and my family. It would be wonderful to find a two or three day a week job, or something with some flexibility where I can feel like I'm doing it all- being with my kids enough, getting out enough (making some money won't hurt), and letting them do their own thing with their own peers enough. That being said, I do think a vital part of this "plan" is quitting my full time job now. Giving myself a clean slate, as it were, to allow me to figure out a near-perfect life for all of us. So, in that respect, I'm on the right track for what I want and what I think is best. But, it's scary that my plan is basically a non-plan. At least I know that I don't want to work forty hours anymore. I've done it for a year and half with Andy, and it's been too much. But maybe... fifteen or twenty would work? We'll see in time, I suppose, after I've been home for a while and have had some time to see how the other half lives.
I guess I should have this new baby first, and then go from there. That's step one. And I've got over two months until that first step is taken- so for now, I'll enjoy standing where I am now, with my whirlwind of a first born, the last weeks of the full time job I've held for almost eight years, and the mystery of what lies ahead slowly unfurling before me.