Working days, you have the evenings “free” (as if as a parent you never have anything to do in the evenings, certainly not mundane things like cooking dinner, mowing the lawn, doing dishes, washing laundry….Nope, those things don’t need doing.) to do those extracurricular activities as most of the time the games or matches are scheduled in the early evenings. Yes, there are field trips and class parties but those are once every few months, or at least in our schools they are.
Not like t-ball and soccer which was 2-3 nights a week for the last 2 weeks and now twice a week through June. Yikes!
When I worked days, I thought “Man! Everything is scheduled for those people that don’t work days.” That was back in the day when a playdate from stay-at-home moms was the highlight of the activity schedule…or maybe a mommy and me class.
Now that I work nights (again) and my kids are older, I feel that I’m missing out on a lot. All their sports and classes and such are at night, well, because most people work days. Nights makes sense.
And now..*sigh*…now, the kids KNOW things. When they were younger, it wasn’t a huge issue if we didn’t hit that weekly playdate. They didn’t know the days of the week, or how to count, or able to really keep track of when things were. Now, they do. And they remind me of these things.
Zachary told me that tonight was his first “non-practice” for t-ball.
He then informs me “Momma, I’d really like it if you were there to watch me at my first non-practice.”
Ugh. Rip my heart out, kid, and stomp on it. That might make me feel a bit better. I’ve tried to explain that Momma can’t make it to every game but that’s something they don’t exactly understand yet. And really, neither do I. I should be there for everything. My mom was for me, afterall, right?!?!
STOP. Your mother, Lisa, was a stay at home mom. She didn’t have to try to balance home with personal time at work.
My boss is really understanding of me leaving for an hour or two every night, but I have to use up my personal time. Which is also the time that I have to use for vacation. And long camping weekends. And Christmas off with the family. And I’m not even talking about a day for actual “personal” use! Yea, right, does that even exist for moms?
Well, I did go tonight. And loved it! The boys did a great job, Lucas has quite a throwing arm and Zachary can really catch a piece of that ball! And the looks on their faces when they saw me there was….priceless.
I just feel saddened by the fact that I might miss out on one of my son’s first home runs, or first goal with a goalie, or any multitude of huge things that I could miss out on by not being there.
And the hurt feelings they’ll have knowing that their mom never saw it.
ETA: Don't get me wrong. I feel very lucky to be able to stay home with my kids during the day and be able to not have them in daycare at all. It means that they are always home with a parent, and I like that a lot, but there are days when I wish I didn't have to work at all. Today is one of those days.
She passed with flying colors. Like anyone thought she wouldn't. Pshhhaww.
Elizabeth is now 19 lbs and 14 oz and exactly 30 inches tall. She has gone from 10th percentile for weight to 50th and is still hovering at the 75th percentile for height. Her head circumferance shot up from 5th percentile to 50th!!! The dr. figures she just had a major growth spurt (No? Really? Could it possibly be from all the food she keeps eating? Ack. At this rate my kids are going to make me broke by the time they all get into elementary school!)
The doctor did say that it's a little abnormal to grow so much in the head and weight and not in the height, but it's not something she's concerned about in the least as she's still on the same curve for her height, so her other stats are probably just catching up with her.
We went through all the traditional pediatric questions:
Is your house babyproofed? Yes.
Do you have functioning smoke and CO2 detectors? Yes.
Is she sleeping in her own room in a crib? Yes. (most of the time ;))
Is she drinking whole milk in addition to breastfeeding? Yes. (Yes, I am still breastfeeding. Suck an egg if you have something to say about it.)
Is she still in a car seat? Yes. Rear-facing.
Then she asked if she was saying "mama" and "dada" yet. I giggled. It just slipped out. I, being the humble parent that I am *cough, cough* replied "Um, yea! and much more. She has about 20 words right now."
I think the Dr. thought she heard wrong. She repeated it back to me; "20?" Yep. We're just as suprised as anyone considering our boys didn't really speak until they were 2. But she talks All. The. Time. Mama, dada, brother, doggie, milk, ball, down, na-nas (probably the most important one to her...Nursing)....the list goes on. Of course, she only does it in her own time, no one can make her say those things when we want to!
Yesterday, she wanted one of my chocolate mini donuts (this girl lurves chocolate...found that out at her 1st birthday party!) and started spazzing by shaking her head around, shifting from one foot to the other, reaching for them and when I asked "do you want one?" she sat down (hard! Ouch!) on her butt and started shaking her head yes. Over and over until she got one. No screaming. No grunting. It's just so easy to talk with her.
So, all in all, a good appointment. Minus the screaming due to the shots, but even that was short lived. All is well in Elizabeth's world.
As I was listening I was hit with a memory. A very good, relaxing memory. One that I should start using as my zen memory.
It was a sweltering hot day in late July. Made even more sweltering by the fact that we were in a vehicle with no air conditioning, on black top surfaces in a traffic jam due to construction surrounded by big rigs in Chicago. Did I mention we had 2 toddlers with us and we were pulling a camper. We were headed into downtown Chicago to see the Sears Tower and eat at Eduardo's for traditional Chicago-style pizza.
We made it in and out with little problem. The pizza was great, the boys were mostly well-behaved, we had ice cream. How can you top ice cream?
We were headed to our campground about an hour from Chicago. The air had finally started to cool down since darkness had fallen around us and you could hear the crickets through the open window along with the rustle of the corn in the fields. We got to the campgrounds and everything looked dead. I read through the phamplet at the front gate, to see how they handle their late arrivals and I'm so glad I did. After closing time (11:00 pm) they put out tire shredders. No one, not even current campers, allowed through the gate with a vehicle after close time.
Okay, so here we are with a camper in the middle of nowhere, late at night, with 2 sleeping children. What do we do?
We keep driving. That year I was working a modified schedule so I was used to being up until 3:30 am or so, therefore, I was wide awake and willing to drive a bit further to find something else. Plus, the boys were sleeping and the air had finally cooled down enough to be comfortable. I took over the wheel, Chuck riding shotgun.
It was one of my favorite nights together ever. The windows were rolled down and you could smell the sweet, balmy, summer air. The boys rhythmic breathing coming from behind us. The radio on really softly, probably listening to Mellencamp. The moon was huge and full on up in the sky lighting our way through the back roads of Illinois. We really didn't know where we were going exactly, just knew we were headed west. Towards Iowa.
Chuck and I talked that night. Like we hadn't talked in a long time. Those summer nights take me back to our summer at camp when we first met and everything was new and exciting. I heard stories that night on those back roads of Illinois that I had, surprisingly, never heard before. I felt relaxed. In love. Happy.
We came up to a four way stop in the middle of cornfield alley, when we saw some lights. It was strange as we hadn't seen any lights for quite a while, save the occassional farm porch lights. Off to the southwest corner of this 4 way was a bar. But not just any bar. A strip bar. Advertising some big name stripper and a sign that said BYOB. Chuck and I just looked at each other. Surely, that didn't mean the same thing as in Michigan.
Yep. It did. Waiting in line...yes there was a line in front of the strip club of the corn....there was a line of dudes sitting on their cases of Bud Light cans. It was the wildest thing I think I've ever seen. We joked about how it's too bad the kids were with us as it would have been a case study on human nature like never before to go into that place.
We drove on. And talked. And just lived and enjoyed each other and the night for all that it was. And before we knew it, it was 3:00 am and we were in Iowa.
Somehow, the lights of the Iowa/Illinois border town, broke the magic of the evening and I was instantly tired. We ended up parking our camper in a hotel parking lot and getting a room to get 4 hours of shut eye before we moved on for the day.
On my Mellencamp nights or those balmy summer nights, I'm reminded of that night in rural Illinois. And reminded how great my life really is to be able to have and remember those moments.
So why have things been crazy and I’ve been bitchy? Well, we had 5 birthdays within 2 weeks. My birthday is April 28, Luke is May 1, my Dad is May 3, Zachary is May 9 and Elizabeth is May 11. During that time we have one huge birthday party plus Mother’s Day. This year we also had a field trip to the zoo for Zachary’s school.
So for those 2 weeks, I worked a modified schedule. What’s that mean? Well, that means I get virtually NO sleep. Really. I work four 10 hour shifts from 4:30 pm to 3:00 am. Get home and asleep by 4. Up to get the kids off to school by 7:30 at the latest. And since it’s filled with errands and stuff to get ready for the birthday party, usually no naps.
No sleep=bitchy mommy.
(I’m sorry Chuck.)
So, why do I do this to myself? Because we only have one party for all the kids, we want to make sure that THEIR day is special to them. So, I take the evening off of each child's birthday every year so that they can do things that they want to do. Like go to Toys R Us to pick out their birthday toy and choose the sit-down restaurant that they want to go to. Growing up, I always shared a birthday party with my dad, but MY day was MY day. I want to make sure that the kids get to feel special on their birthdays like I did.
So, that being said, we had a birthday party. A big birthday party that was wonderful and completely chaotic at the same time.
Wonderful because we have only one party and I get to make it a big one because well, there is only one! Wonderful because you have three times the fun. Three times the excitement and anticipation. Three times the squeals of delight and the exclamation of “OH! That’s just what I’ve always wanted!” Even though they may have never laid eyes on it before.
It’s complete chaos! Have you ever tried to have 3 kids’ friends and family together? It’s a lot of kids! And then amidst all that we have 3 kids opening gifts at the same time. It’s a lot of gifts, a lot of wrapping paper, a lot of bags, a lot of noise, and a lot of confusion. Well, confusion for mom and dad anyways. It’s very difficult to keep who got what and from whom straight.
But after all is said and done we survived. Exhausted and seriously ready for a beer after the kids’ bedtimes but we survived (The need for beer was not a direct result from the kids: more along the lines of inconsiderate, rude, mean, irreprehensible
Zachary sporting his "6" crown that we made from posterboard. Do you have any idea how easy it is to find princess crowns but difficult to find king crowns? The boys were excited with their homemade-by-them crowns regardless.
Lucas in all his 4 year old glory. Getting a good picture from him anymore is like pulling teeth. I think the only reason he looks happy in this picture is because he was finally (Ghod, MOM!) able to eat his cake!The birthday kids together. Elizabeth didn't really know what to think of the candle.She did, however, know what to think of the cake. And she thought, no KNEW, she liked it. Miss E wasn't a very happy camper when I took her chocolate away from her. It must be in the genes she got from her daddy.
So, that's it for yet another year. Whew. I'm glad it only happens once a year.
4 years and 9 months ago, I had a dream.
The Leibrand family then consisted of Mommy, Daddy and Zachary who was about 1 ½ at the time. On vacation in Wisconsin, Mommy had “the dream”. The dream that told me truer than a pregnancy test could that I was pregnant with another baby. You. Daddy, of course, didn’t believe me, but I knew it.
Two weeks go by and we got the positive test that confirmed my belief. We were expecting another child to add love to our family. (age in pic...16 months)
Over the last 4 years (Wait! FOUR years? How did you become four years old?) you’ve grown into an amazing, bright, vibrant, charismatic boy. You’ve enhanced our family. You bring laughter and joy and love to our family every day; sometimes in small ways and sometimes in a way that bring a giant belly laugh to all those around you. You, Lucas Michael, have a gift. A gift of laughter. A gift to touch those around and make them laugh and appreciate the life they’ve been given. That’s a very important thing; one I’m repeatedly thankful for.
Over the last year you have grown up so much. You started preschool at your 3rd birthday and went to school for the summer with your big brother. The teachers all told me that you were a quiet boy who was a bit of a follower, but you followed directions very well and tried to get along with the others. Then Zachary went onto kindy and you were alone at the preschool. You blossomed there. You made friends. You became your own identity at school. And on the way home from preschool every day for the last 8 months you talk non-stop about everything you learned, heard, and did. You are so incredibly smart. Sometimes it surprises us when you come out with some fact that we're SURE you couldn't possibly know...and yet you do. For 2 months we have heard all about the planets "Did you know that the sun is a star? And that the Earth moves around the sun? And Pluto is the coldest planet because it's the farthest from the sun?"
But, it doesn't end there. You pick up things every where. I remember being in the store with you a few months ago and you picking out the letters of your name off the formula can that you were carrying. I went to school and let them know you could start learning your last name...which you have now. Along with your birthdate, our phone number, the list goes on.
I know we've had a rough year, buddy. You've been usurped as the baby in our family and I know that some of the issues we've been having the last few months is a bit of the "middle child syndrome" coming out. I understand. I remember. I promise to make some special time for just you and I so you can see how truely special you are to me. And what an incredibly important role you play, just by being you!, in our family.
I love you little man,