Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Aging Ungracefully

At some point the line was crossed, and I want to know when. When did this happen to me? Today, I was eating lunch at Moe's when a group of high schoolers came in. I'm not talking 5 or 6 here. I'm talking at least 50 by the time we were done. I don't know why they were all there, nor do I really care. What I am concerned about is that, suddenly, I was old! I mean, it's ridiculous really, how old I'm still feeling. "I'm not old. I'm 37." (Okay, i'm 26 but I couldn't resist the urge to reference Monty Python.) Let me say that my intention is not to make older friends and family feel like cavemen, but to ponder this sad and simple fact of life: When did I go from feeling like this...

Seriously, those are high school freshman!

to this?!!!

Sure, I see high school kids all the time but never in such large quantities that you can compare and say, "Good Lord! They all look that young!" Somewhere, just in the last couple of years, I've begun to see myself as a different person. This should have been immediately obvious to me when I first realized that I was still unconsciously saying I was 25 when I'm, in fact, about to turn 27? Did I forget my age? Is the pregnancy amnesia more severe than I was lead to believe? I mean, honestly folks, I have to stop and think about how old I am. What's with that? No matter how many times I tell myself, "You're 26, Amanda. 26. Almost 27," there's a little voice of defiance deep within shouting back, "25!" I can almost see her there, with her arms folded, glaring back at me.

I know, in the grand scheme of things, I'm not old by a long shot, but man have I been smacked in the face with this today. Some may suggest that maybe it's because I'm now a mom, but what about teen mothers? Do they feel like they're not high schoolers anymore when they still are? I don't think it's because I'm a mother. I think it's because I'm officially closer to 30 than to 20. So, now I'm wondering, will I be hit with this feeling each time I cross the halfway point in another decade? 36, 46, 56?

I can only hope I age as gracefully as my mother or ya know, Jane Seymour. (I had to choose a fellow ginger, ya know...even if it's not natural.)

58!!! That woman right there is fifty-eight!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dear Husband,

Over at, there are many birth clubs and forums and topics. In my November 2009 forum, there are constantly girls posting threads about their husbands laughing at their pregnant appearance, leaving their pregnant wives and girlfriends, saying maybe it would be better if the baby would die (Seriously?!!), and just being all around dicks. One mom started a thread for us with decent men to post a letter of thanks to them. Sadly, not many participated. Now I'm not saying that Tyler doesn't have his flaws. He's got loads of them, as do I, but this is about all the amazing things he does every day. This was what I posted (with a few others added as I thought of them).

"Dear Husband,

I am so grateful that you're the man in my life (though, clearly, I don't always show it appropriately...or at all) Every day I'm reminded by friends, family, and people I don't even know how lucky I am to have a man who is as responsible, generous, and patient as you. Thank you for helping with our son as much as you do. There are too many dads who are uninvolved in their childrens' lives, even if they live in the same home. Thank you for busting your ass at work and for asking me to be a stay-at-home mom b/c that's the kind of care you want for your children. Thank you for the sacrifices you have made in order to keep a job closer to where we grew up just because you know how very important my family and friends are to me, and even though you know I'd move with you wherever. Thank you for the massive amount of help you gave me, while I was recovering from the preeclampsia and for forcing me to rest (even when I was in hysterics trying to defy you) because that's what the doctor ordered. Thank you for struggling to keep your eyes open til I fall asleep on nights when I'm having an anxiety attack. We both know how hard it is for you to stay awake once you're ready for bed.

Thank you for never, ever telling me you think I look bad when we both know there are plenty of times I'm not looking great. Thank you for never mentioning the 50 or so stretch marks I got while making your son. Thank you for telling me I'm your best friend. Thank you for pregnant foot massages. Thank you for not being the giant douche of a man that some of my friends always seem to end up with. Thank you for chasing down Mattie right before our wedding rehersal because you love that dang dog as much as I do, even if you don't always admit it. Thank you for our first date being a messy barbeque joint and playing pool. Definitely not the most romantic of first dates, but look where it's landed us in 7 years! Thank you for being exactly what my mother prayed for me, and on that topic, for loving your extended family. Thank you for seeming to love me in spite of all the crazy floating around in here.

You're amazing and I love you, but don't think this means you're getting some tonight."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Growing Pains

Up until I became a mother, I thought I grasped all forms of that term. "Growing pains," pains in the legs and knees before your teen years, the emotional pains that come with adolescence, and a cheesy 80s sitcom that I watched and adored. Last night I came to the realization that parents experience their own growing pains, with the growth and development of their children. I know, you're thinking, "Hello?! You just figured this out?" Well, no. I've known from the first hint of a developmental milestone that some parents ache at the thought of their baby getting bigger, me included, but it's not something I had given a name to, until the phrase entered my mind around 4 this morning.

We decided to try to move Jamie to his toddler bed. We bought a video monitor, because Jamie sleeps with his door closed, and I knew that I would be desperate to see whether he'd fallen out or climbed out or gotten into trouble even though his room is completely baby proof. (He's very ingenuitive, as toddlers often are) I didn't want to keep opening the door and waking him if, in fact, he was sleeping in his bed, which is exactly what he did for the first four hours.

Tyler put him down, as usual, walked out, and closed the door. Jamie sat up and cried for a few minutes but was asleep within ten. He does this most nights, but by cry, I mean whine. He didn't even attempt to get out of the bed. I thought, "Hey, this is gonna work!" and started my own nightly struggle against insomnia. Each time I got up to use the restroom, I checked the monitor and there he was sound asleep in his bed. Around midnight however, it started to go downhill. He woke up crying, which he generally does in his crib at some point during the night, but only once and not for more than ten minutes before he's back to sleep for the remainder of the evening. I told myself that this was more of the same, and it was...sort of. He would cry and then "sleep" for about ten minutes and then cry again. This happened over and over again for about 2 hours. I wanted to go in sooner, but I kept hearing Tyler's voice in my head, "Let him do it. If you go in there, he won't go back to sleep." Never once did Jamie try to climb out of the bed. He just stared at the edge like he was confused, and I think that's precisely what the problem was. He didn't know what was going on. Eventually, though, I looked at my crying baby on the monitor and then looked at my soundly asleep husband, and the baby won.

I went in there and sat beside him. I patted his back. I covered him snuggly. I tried everything and when it was apparent that he was not going to let me put him back to sleep in his bed, I carried him to my bed. He was excited to be there. He saw his daddy, but quickly noticed that his dear ole dad was dead to the world at the moment. (Tyler's the kind of person who can sleep through two hours of toddler cries and wake up in the morning with, "Jamie did great, didn't he? Told you there was nothing to worry about." At which point, I'd be considering the best way to strangle him.) Jamie relaxed but continued to stare at Tyler. As soon as Tyler moved in his sleep, Jamie took that as an invitation. He shouted, "Daddyyyy!" and poked him in the face.
"Ow!" shouted Tyler.
"No!" shouted I.
"Wah!" shouted Jamie and that was the end of Jamie's stay in our bed. And the end of Jamie sleeping in a toddler bed, for now.

Tyler carried him back to bed, changed his diaper, fixed him a cup of milk, and while he was laying there drinking it, Tyler put the front of the crib back on the bed. Jamie went back to sleep and is still asleep now at 8 o'clock. That's about 5 hours, at this point. At least, Jamie had pretty good timing. It was about 3:10 when he woke Tyler, who would've had to have gotten up at 3:30 today anyhow.

As I finally tried going back to sleep myself around 4 am, after Tyler had left for work, I thought about growing pains and about how different ones affect each parent with such different magnitudes. I felt slight pangs every time he outgrew clothes or diapers as well as when I looked at "old" pictures and realized he would never look like that baby ever again. I had no trouble switching him to solid foods or a sippy cup. In fact, those things made me glad. I felt sad the first time Tyler pointed out that we had a toddler, but it was quickly replaced by the joys of having such an adorable being. I have a close-knit family including in-laws and several competent friends, so letting Jamie have his first night away was not that major. Sure, I stayed awake and wondered what he was doing all night, but it didn't cause me the same anxiety I felt leading up to this. Why, I wonder, did I feel so much angst at taking away my baby's crib? Why is this particular thing such a sore spot for me, personally? Now that I'm pondering it, I think I'll wait til Jamie's about thirteen to move him out of his crib.

Not exactly the "Growing Pains" I was referring to, but ya gotta love those early 90s hairstyles!