Kidriffic Weekend Events

I absolutely adore warm weather weekends. It gets me and the little one out of the indoors (movies, museums, playseums, etc) and outdoors for some fun! There also happens to be 9472954297534978 things to do in DC during the warm weather months. So I’m sure it comes as no surprise that this weekend we have quite the dilemma. You see, there’s draft day at FedEx field, and then there’s Maryland Day at the University of Maryland.

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To know me is to know that I love football! More importantly, I love my Redskins. I was born loving the Redskins. I will ALWAYS love the Redskins. My first word was probably Gibbs. So do I love draft day at FedEx field? Of course! Wait…RGIII is going to be there too? I’m in! I think…

There will be food and an big open field, the only two things that Johanna requires. Being able to run up and down a field is something I’m pretty sure she dreams of. But there will be so many people and running will literally be the only thing she can do. So, then there’s Maryland day…

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The thing that gets me about Maryland day is that there are 958567234987628945 activities going on and the University of Maryland campus is ginormous! There will be well over 40 activities for the kids alone to do. and 257243985923874285 activities for the adults.It sounds like fun and a headache all at the same time. I think how much sleep we get tonight will be the deciding factor on what we will do tomorrow.

If you don’t have any plans, come on out to Draft Day with the Redskins, or go to the University of Maryland. If you don’t like either of those options, checkout one of these other events like the Save The Frogs thing O_O You know…if that IS your thing…O_O No judging. Go frogs! O_O:

Move Me Festival
No matter what kind of dancing you want to try out — from traditional Hawaiian dance to clogging — this annual festival presented by Bowen McCauley Dance has you covered.
Kenmore Middle School
200 S. Carlin Spring Rd.
Arlington, VA
703-910-5175

Save The Frogs
Kids can learn about the life cycle and habitats of frogs.
Locust Grove Nature Center
7777 Democracy Blvd.
Bethesda, MD
301-765-8660

Washington Youth Garden Tour
U.S. National Arboretum
3501 New York Ave. NE
Washington, DC
202-245-2709

Rockville Science Day
Interactive experiments and experts on everything from astronomy to zoology.
Montgomery College – Rockville Campus
51 Mannakee St.
Rockville, MD

Tavern Toddlers
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum
The tavern hosts weekly playtime in the ballroom, complete with stories and crafts related to Alexandria’s history. Best for walkers age 3 and younger.
134 N. Royal St.
Alexandria, VA
703-746-4242

James and the Giant Peach
An oversize peach serves as a floating ship for a boy and talking bugs.
Imagination Stage
4908 Auburn Ave.
Bethesda, MD

~JM

The Problem With Motherhood

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Lately everyone seems to be in a tizzy over this article where a mother declares that her children are her biggest regret.

Gasp! Oh the horror! How could a mother say such a thing?!?!?

Really? Hmmm…

Having a baby is probably the biggest change that can happen to someones life. Now that I’m a mother I know that I really had no clue what being a mom entailed. None. Yes there’s smiles and giggles, hugs and tears, messy diapers and food everywhere. However, there is so much more. Being a parent, but especially a mom, can be incredibly taxing on your mental and emotional state.

Imagine having a baby that is colicky from birth. There’s nothing you can do to soothe him/her. They cry and cry and cry. They are a fussy eater refusing to latch onto your breast for milk, refusing formula and barely sleeping for more than an hour at a time. Yes, there are two of you in the home to help out, but no one is really getting any sleep with a screaming baby in the house. You’re worn out and can barely function because you’re human and you need sleep. People tell you it gets better, except in your case, it doesn’t. For the next 3 years your child is hell on Earth, but it’s your child. You love him/her, but you sure wish you would’ve thought more than twice before deciding to have a child. That child has turned your life (and your marriage) on it’s head so much that you regret the day they were born.

That up there is a true story. It’s not my story, but that of a friend. I felt bad for her. I still feel bad for her. I don’t know how she’s making it. Life with her kid has been anything but beautiful. I can clearly see how she can love her kid, but regret that he was born. My friend has changed for the worse. She’s bitter and mean, the complete opposite of the carefree, always smiling gypsy that she formerly was.

When you have a baby, your life changes. We all know that. But I bet you no one ever told you about the mourning period that you may go through.

When Johanna turned one, that’s when the mourning really got to me. I was a stay at home mom in the house with her everyday. I was always trying to find something for her to do, eat, see, etc. My life was now completely about her. I couldn’t take a nap unless she did. I couldn’t make a move unless she did. I could not do anything unless Johanna did. And lets not forget about friends. When most of your friends are single with no kids, they tend to leave you high and dry after having a baby. Suddenly invitations for me to go out dwindled. The phone calls stopped rolling in. This social butterfly was now a caged bird. I cried. I cried so hard. I missed my former life. I missed work! I missed coming home from work and flopping on the couch to watch tv. I missed going to happy hour. I missed enjoying my husband. This introvert missed being inside of her own head. My life had completely changed and I was angry! I was angry at my friends and I questioned their position in my life. I was angry at my husband for not being able to be a mom and have our daughter respond to him the way she responds to me. I was angry at myself for not having it together as a mother and being able to do it all. It sucked. It was truly a depressing period. While I never wanted Johanna to go away, I missed the time when all I had to think about was me. Now every decision I made I had to think for 2 or 3. Me and Johanna, or me, johanna and the husband. It was a lonely period. Incredibly lonely.

I am just now coming to the end of that mourning period.I decided months ago to stop chasing friends that didn’t chase me. If they didn’t understand that me being a mother and wife didn’t mean that all I wanted to do was be a mother and wife, then forget them. It was truly ok. I started going out to happy hour by myself and doing things for myself. Slowly but surely some of my friends came around. In August I got a job, and I tell you it is one of the best things to happen for me and Johanna. We needed some separation. I love that girl with my whole heart. I never knew my heart could be so full. But when they say absence makes the heart grow fonder they never lied. Going to work is like a vacation for me. It’s me time! Cooking in the kitchen while *dh looks after the kid? Me time! People in the grocery store laugh at me as I’m singing and dancing down the aisles. They don’t even know how freeing grocery shopping is for me now. Me time!

However, I can truly say that even in my mourning period I did not regret Johanna. She is my special gift from God. But she was also the model baby. She only woke up once every three hours to be fed and changed. She started sleeping through the night by 6 months. She used to be a really good eater (I miss those days) and although she has more sass than any adult I know, she also has incredibly sweet moments. She says Please and thank you, she gives hugs and kisses (when she wants to) and she lets me cuddle her. I love her. I’m thankful for her. She’s made it really easy to love her.

I just want the mom of that article to know – I get it. People have kids for all of the wrong reasons all the time. There are plenty of women out there that regret having their kids. Yes, regret. That strong word, and they mean every single syllable of it. But they love their kids. It is possible for the two to coexist and those that say it isn’t are wrong. How dare you say someone else’s truth is false? I have regretted plenty of people in my life and my mother was one of them. For a moment in time that lasted almost 3 years I regretted that I was born to her. I’m so thankful that that period didn’t last and by the time she passed we were best friends. But I regretted God giving her to me for a time, I did. But I loved her fiercely too.

Being a mom is hard. Let me say it again – it is H A R D! I could only imagine how much harder it is when you never bonded with your child. It took me 6 days to bond with Johanna. I bonded with her the Tuesday after she was born. That Wednesday my mom passed away. I know deep down in my very soul that my mother waited for me to form that bond before she left this Earth and I’m so thankful for that. Bonding doesn’t happen immediately after a baby is born for all women. Bonding is not the same as loving. I held Johanna all the time when I was in the hospital (whenever I wasn’t in the ICU) and whenever they removed her from my room to bathe her I got antsy. I loved her, but we weren’t bonded yet. This woman never bonded with her child. I don’t think she would choose for things to be that way, but they were. I bet that was really painful for her as well. I have sympathy for her and her kids.

To be clear, I would never write an article saying I regretted my child if that’s how I felt. I just couldn’t. But a lot of mothers live with that truth every day of their life and that article was probably very comforting for them.

Have you ever regretted having your child(ren)? Do you know anyone that has?

~JM

*dh=dear husband

It’s Us Against Her


Le sigh. I have been using the term le sigh for…13 years now. Every time I think that I’m going to retire it, I can’t. I can’t because something happens that irks me so bad that a simple sigh won’t suffice. A heavy sigh doesn’t really convey what I’m feeling. So, le sigh it is.

Le sigh.

That is what I find myself doing everyday now. Johanna has finally figured out this whole terrible two’s thing. She’s really got it down. She understands how to throw tantrums that will grate every last fiber of nerves and patience that we have. For example…

After finally getting home from work and daycare yesterday, I go in the kitchen to fix johanna a sippy of milk that she asked for. She proceeds to drink it. 5 minutes later, she asks for milk…again…Here’s the thing. Johanna loves milk. She cherishes it. It is the best thing that has ever happened to her, if you ask her of course. I cannot name one thing that Johanna loves more than milk. I get it! But I will not let her just sit there and drink it all day. We’re standing in the kitchen and she’s asking me for milk. I tell her no. She proceeds to throw her sippy onto the ground.

*raises eyebrow*

Me: Johanna, pick your sippy up.
Johanna: No.
Me: Ummm, so, that wasn’t a question, it was a demand. Pick your sippy up.
Johanna: No, mama.
Me: *I kneel all the way down to her level*. Johanna. Pick.Your.Sippy.Up.Now!
Johanna: *Begins crying and screaming shaking her head* NO MAMA!
Me: *super duper small eyes*

Me: Oh, well, then you can go sit in time out. It’s cool with me. I have all night!

At this point I put Johanna in the corner in the kitchen and leave her sitting there crying. She’s crying and stealing looks at me. Every time I squinted my eyes at her she burst into tears more. Ok, I thought this was going to be easy. Every time Johanna has gone to timeout, she’s never there for more than 3 minutes. So at the 3 minute mark I say Johanna, pick up your sippy. She proceeds to tell me no, crying and snotting and all. Ok, cool. I got this. So every 5 minutes I told her to pick up the sippy and she wouldn’t. At the 15 minute mark her father walked into the kitchen, right after I told her yet again to pick up her sippy and she sobbed nooooooooooooooo. Then she cried dada dada! When he refused to pick her up she was really done. That’s when she turned her head towards me and my baby, the one I carried for 37 weeks and almost died giving birth to, rolled those big ole almond eyes…at me! Blink blink. Keanu Reeves is that you? Because surely I am in the matrix. Or maybe that’s Leonardo Dicaprio I see. Maybe this is a dream within a dream within a dream. Because what I know! is that this lil 37 inch midget did not-tuh roll her eyes at me.

Ya’ll, it was about to be a misunderstanding up in there! I told her to do it again. I wasn’t playing. She was trying me, and I just wanted her to do it one.more.time. I wanted to see how crazy my 2 year old really was. She looked at me like this O_O then burst into tears again! Finally after 25 minutes of this, and me sitting on one of the steps filing my nails, I tell her to get her sippy and she gets up and gets it. I give her a tissue to wipe her nose and tell her she needs to tell me and her dad sorry. She pitifully says sorry, gives me a hug and then does the same for her dad. So we’re all good right? Fast forward to 5:30 this morning…

“Mama…milk.”That’s what I hear at 5:30am. Now for the record, She had a sippy of milk 30 minutes before she went to bed, as well as juice. My response?

And I continue to try to sleep. Then this little crumb snatcher proceeds to have the breakdowns of all breakdowns screaming for milk until I finally declare “It is 5:40 in the friggin morning and you ain’t gettin no flipping milk!!!!”. Yes, ain’t gettin no. Sometimes I have to go there to get my point across. We struggled with her all morning. I yawn as I type this. I’m exhausted. It was a fight like no other this morning. I don’t mind fighting in the evenings, but the mornings? Chile, bye. Just moaning and crying all morning even as she was drinking her milk O_O. Why Lord? Just…why???

As we drove off to work this morning Jonathan grabbed my hand and said “We have to stick together. I’m serious. We have to. It’s us against her, and Johanna isn’t about to kill me”. Ya’ll it is just that serious. Pray our strenf!

I did have a good laugh at what he said though. Of course it immediately made me think of Bernie Mac’s piece in Kings of Comedy.

Have you gone through the terrible 2’s yet? How did you cope? Any advice for this worn out mommy?

~JM