Friday, April 23, 2010

Making Lemonade

In the face of all these damn lemons, I am desperately trying to make lemonade here.

I haven't blogged for so long. Mainly because life has taken a downswing, and my energy/vitality for much of what I love to do has taken a corresponding beating. I just can't get it together, folks. I am trying...really, I am.

First item of note: Matthew is doing well for the most part. He's now almost 14 months old, healthy, doing well in daycare, and making us laugh every day. The things that worry me are threefold: (1) He's still not walking. (2) He's still not saying consonants of any kind (only utterances with his mouth open, lips apart--"uh" kinds of sounds). I need to make an appt with Montgomery County Infants and Toddlers; the caseworker and pediatrician suspect he may have some "low tone" in his mouth muscles, which are impeding his ability to form consonants and to move forward with his speech. (3) He needs glasses. Yes, you heard me right: The kid needs glasses in as soon as 6 months. I'll write more on this. Again, not a lot of energy to go into it. Plus, if you're my Facebook friend, you've heard about all the drama in enough detail.

Second item of note: Jupiter has been very ill. He wasn't doing too least, not until this past Tuesday, when he had spinal surgery to remove a ruptured disc...he has cervical disc disease (genetically predisposed to beagles). It's a long story, and one that I don't have the energy to go into right now. But he'll be OK. The surgery was rather invasive so the healing process is going to be challenging: for him and for us. Because he feels 100% better but can't go out for walks, jump up on anything, or play. And no more collars, ever again...he is to wear harnesses from here on out.

Third item of note: I've been sick with a variety of illnesses since basically the end of February. I fell and injured my wrist (which landed me in the ER), had carpal tunnel and tingling in my hands/arms (that my sister helped me out with, the wonderful PT that she is), then had a stomach bug for 10 days (at least it helped me remove 6 pounds), and now have had some sort of virus for the past several weeks. (Keep in mind: Because I am an adoptive, not a birth, mom, my maternity leave primarily consisted of unpaid FMLA...was not eligible for short-term or long-term disability the way birth moms often are...I try to not be bitter about this but at times like this, when I need to use sick time but don't have it, it's hard.) As a result, the exercise program I've been trying to re-incorporate into my life constantly keeps getting interrupted. But on days that I feel good, I continue to do my workouts. And I've started taking Pilates as well as a step class at work. And I'm back to teaching yoga.

Some more good news is that I am continuing to lose weight and am on a healthy track as far as my eating/diet goes. I've achieved short-term goal #1 and now am working on the next one. I've signed up for a cool program at work called The Biggest Mover. I'm on a team with several other people. It starts in early May. I'm looking forward to getting healthier, slimmer, and more fit--so I can be the best mom to Matthew and Jupiter, the best friend and wife to Jeff, and as patient/loving with myself as I possibly can.

So, that's the scoop. In a nutshell. I'll blog more on different things (like the glasses) in the weeks that follow. I'm just trying to get my own internal act together.

I hope everyone is doing well, and thanks for continuing to follow this amazing journey of ours. We are so lucky to have Matthew as our son. I'm thankful every single day.

So, like I said, I've been busy making some really yummy lemonade with all these gosh darn lemons that life is throwing our way.

I am a strong believer in karma, so I'm waiting...I absolutely know that I am due!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Managing the Mix (Mom + Wife + Editor + Yoga Teacher)

I'm sure so many of you can relate to the title of this post.

With so much going on in all of our lives, it's a wonder we parents balance it all. After being a mom for just 4 months, I have so much respect and appreciation for the balance that all of you (including myself now, finally) must constantly strive to maintain. It's such a fine line between keeping all the plates spinning and happy--and succumbing to the chaos, allowing the plates to crash to the floor.

So, how do we do it? How do we keep family life balanced with career, personal goals, etc.?

Well, you tell me. This is my first "interactive" post. I'm hoping that you all will respond via the "Post Comment" feature on this site or, if you're my friend on Facebook, by posting a comment there.


The fact that Jeff and I truly share our parenting responsibilities pretty much down the middle. He's not the kind of dad who's never changed a diaper or who sits in front of the TV ignoring his kids. If anything, he's even more engaged with Matthew than I am. They have so much fun together! I think he has less fear about what is "right" and "wrong" about parenting. He just does it, opinions be damned. I tend to think I'm being judged more, so I'm more cautious. (I know, you would have thought the reverse would be true, if you know anything about Jeff and my personalities.)

The fact that we take Matthew everywhere we go, and even it's scary at first, we do it. Like the first time I took him to a restaurant...I was absolutely terrified that people would be giving me dirty looks if he cried...he did great, by the way. Sometimes I think we don't give our kids enough credit. He surprised me that day, for sure. And then I look at his personality and think, "But were you really surprised?" Now, he's used to being out and about, and thoroughly enjoys it. He just looks around and watches people. What comes to mind is that Saturday in early March when we had him at the car dealership for 6 long hours while we purchased our new Forester. Not one meltdown. I think I was more ready to melt down than he was!

I won't lie...the fact that he's a great sleeper and eater and napper? Yeah, that works for me. That really, really works for me. Those 2 hours in the evening are my most priceless hours of recuperation (frequently accompanied by mindless TV).

Getting him outside in the sunshine and fresh air. It benefits everyone involved...the dog, the kid, the mom, the dad.

Being a working mom (see discussion below).

Admitting that I need a break, and taking it (for example, going away on girls' weekends...I've already gone on one). And not feeling guilty doing it.


Being a stay-at-home mom. God, I love him to the moon, but I was happy to go back to work. I found more balance in my life, and everything kind of clicked. I loved being at home with him, don't get me wrong: But it was far from easy (especially being 100% housebound due to several blizzards and 3-4 ft of snow) and sometimes very, very trying. I missed my job, and my friends at work, and my yoga teaching. I'm finally comfortable saying all of this with no guilt, with no fear that my friends who ARE stay-at-home moms will resent me or think ill of me. (I think the world of them for the ability to do what they do every single day. [insert deep bow here]). It's a personal choice, and I think I made the right one for myself and my family. As my friend Kellie told me (and it's stuck ever since), I'm a better mom to my kids when I'm working.

Overscheduling. My favorite moments are the times the four of us (dog included) are out on the deck, just playing with toys in the fresh air, watching as Matthew points up to birds flying around our treetops. I hope that as Matthew grows, I will remember to strike a balance: keeping him active in various things but not TOO active, to the point where there is no time for that gloriously fun free play.


Now I'm going to shift gears a little and tell you some funny things that Matthew is doing lately.

--The other day, he starts crawling toward the dog's dish...while the dog is eating. I calmly tell him "no." He swivels around, pauses, stares me down, and promptly sticks out his tongue and gives me a giant, lingering raspberry. Ooooh, kid, you are tryin' my patience. It was all I could do to suppress my laughter!

--He has taken to feeding Cheerios to the dog, dropping them off the highchair tray one by one. Jupiter is definitely not complaining. Mom and Dad are working on addressing this, with little success.

--I finally taught him to sign "more" when he wants more food! The shrieking just had to stop. It wasn't that he was unhappy; it was just his way of asking for more food. I was told it would take just a few days and he'd get it. Well, it took us and Kim (his daycare provider) four long weeks of constantly signing "more" (while he was in mid-scream) before he finally got it. Now, instead of shrieking for more food, he bangs his hands together (it looks more like clapping than the true sign-language sign for "more" but hey, whatever works--I know he knows what it means).

--He pushes this light wicker chair all the way across the deck. Back and forth he goes. If he encounters the occasional bump, he just pushes it harder until the chair leg clears the bump. The actual walking toy is not something he's interested in...the household furniture is much more appealing. But hey, he's safely practicing his walking. I'm not complaining. One of these days, I know, he's going to start walking. Jeff and I are trying to be patient and not worried about this. He's only 13 months old...some kids don't walk till much later than that (or so I'm told).

Coining the phrase of my favorite t-shirt company, "life is good." Being a mom is fun, challenging, hilarious, busy, demanding, different from my old life, and sometimes makes me crazy. But I absolutely love it.

Have you seen that commercial for the new TV show, "Parenthood" (which I love, by the way)? They are interviewing random people on the street. A woman says "Parenthood is...the most fun I've ever had."

I can't think of a better way to describe it than that. So that's where I'll stop.