Stealing Moments

08_19_2013 (203 of 1)We live many, many miles away from any of Blaine’s grandparents. My parents come out from California to visit a fair amount since they have a place about 2 hours away in the mountains. But they don’t visit often enough for Blaine to really, really know them. When we do see them, Blaine doesn’t seem to remember them and the results just break my heart. I envy those who not only have free childcare, but children who know and adore their grandparents. Blaine? Not so much.

But we may have turned a corner last week. My mom came to visit for three days (mind you, we just got back from two weeks of visiting in July) and stayed to play. At first, Blaine was nervous about being left alone with his Nonni, as if she was going to steal him away or, even worse, I would abandon him to her care so that I could get a haircut or go to the grocery store without bringing a pacifying cup of raisins with me.

By the second and third day, however, he was pretty happy to play with Nonni while I went off to (gasp!) visit the restroom by myself, work on dinner, or even run a quick errand. And the highlight of the weekend was watching my mom dance with my baby boy like she did with me all those years ago. He loved it. She loved it. I loved it.

It is so hard to see your children not appreciate your parents (and their unending grandparent love) like you want them to. I am desperately hoping that when my dad comes in a few weeks that Blaine will take to him like a monkey to a banana, but I know the odds are slim. He’s a shy little guy, and grandpa is not much more than a stranger to him. I know that later on in life, when he’s older, he will recognize my parents more readily and he will be more excited to see them…but for the time being, it breaks my heart when he cries as they try to love him.

Oddly enough, my sister said that she applied techniques that she read in ‘The Cat Whisperer’ to meeting Blaine:

  1. Don’t make eye contact at first.
  2. Let him come to you.
  3. Use a soft voice.
  4. Don’t try to pick him up.
  5. Offer up a treat or toy.

Seriously, my kid is like an ornery kitten. But it totally works. He loves her.

Advertisements

The Perils of Craigslist: Dealing with the Crazies

Don’t worry, I didn’t get solicited by any creepy predators or anything – just ripped off. A little. It’s one of the hazards of buying any used product, but you always hope that the seller is of the honest variety.

In anticipation of baby numero dos, I’ve been compiling all of the necessary double-capacity items that I think I’ll need in a few months: a double BOB stroller (purchased from a friend by my friends and family), a double bike trailer in case I ever figure out how to leave the house with two littles, and a sit-n-stand stroller for high-occupancy places (because that BOB is not exactly space-efficient).

When I found an ad for a newer Schwinn bike trailer on Craigslist, I jumped on it and made an appointment to see it. The lady seemed nice enough, and even though it was an older model than in the picture (a Craigslist faux-pas if you ask me), it was still in pretty good shape and not a bad price – $60. Not to mention it was about 95 degrees, I had driven 20 minutes to see it, and I didn’t really want to leave empty-handed.

A nice trailer. They go for anywhere from $65 - $100 (usually with the stroller wheel, which this one doesn't have) online.

A nice trailer. They go for anywhere from $65 – $100 (usually with the stroller wheel, which this one doesn’t have) online.

Here’s the conversation we had, since I’ve never bought a bike trailer before:

Me: “And it has all the parts to attach it?”

Her: “Yeah. You attach it with the strap. It just hooks onto the bar of your bike. You can buy a plastic piece…”

Me: “Okay.”

So I bought it.

Notice that she said I “could” buy a plastic piece – denoting ‘optional’. Then I took it home and tried to attach it. No dice. The thing was obviously missing something. So I downloaded the instruction manual off the internet (ahh, internet, I love you). Yep, missing the ‘coupling attachment’ (not made of plastic, mind you) that is necessary. It’s not that you “can” buy it, you “have to” buy it if you want your bike to attach safely to the trailer and not with just the strap – which is only a safety precaution so you don’t leave your kids in an intersection if the coupler ever fails.

Missing something...unless you don't mind using duct-tape and a prayer to secure your kids to your bike.

Missing something…unless you don’t mind using duct-tape and a prayer to secure your kids to your bike.

I called her to politely ask if she had the piece so I wouldn’t have to spend an additional $20 getting it online and / or refund me $20 because I hadn’t anticipated spending that much on the trailer. I explained that the strap is just for safety and I can’t very well put two small children in a trailer that isn’t properly attached. I love them – even the unborn one. And when I reminded her that she had told me all the pieces were there, she said, “Yeah, you can attach it with the strap. I said you could buy the plastic piece. Don’t call me telling me you got ripped off.”

And then she hung up on me. A grown woman hung up on me. I am proud of myself for at least trying to explain myself to a woman who clearly didn’t know what she was talking about. (Don’t you hate it when people are so adamant, even when they’re wrong?) And it’s not worth the fight or the stress for a $20 piece of metal. Plus, she cra-zy, and crazy people scare me.

Thrifting / garage sailing isn’t always bad. Just check out this adorable trike that I bought for Buddy (currently $40 in stores) for only $8 the other day. Why pay five times as much when kids don’t care a bit if it’s missing a streamer?

He'll love it (and break it) as much as the last kid.

He’ll love it (and break it) as much as the last kid.

After losing a little sleep over the matter (getting yelled at always makes me upset, no matter when the situation), friends told me about other used-goods debaucles. One friend bought a nearly-new couch, only to bring it home and discover that it had been in a flooded home and the bottom was almost completely rotted out. Her handy husband rebuilt the frame and it was as good as new – and she loves the couch because it reminds her of how understanding and hard-working her husband is. And I will love my trailer because it will safely carry my children and remind me of the day I stood up for myself.

Lessons learned:

  1. Always carefully research an item before buying it on Craigslist – including the specific make and model.
  2. Print out the ad and bring it with you to the sale.
  3. If you show up and the item is already different than the add / picture – abort mission.
  4. Don’t stress over a few extra bucks if you do lose out – you’ll make it up in the next sale anyhow. (Like that sweet antique mason jar collection that you get for only $5 because Granny didn’t know it was awe-some!)
  5. Meet in a public place so that the crazies never find out where you live. (Glad I did this.)
  6. Pay in cash so that they don’t have any record of your existence should you complain / have a problem.

Life Lately: Cheerleading

If there’s one thing I love, it’s doing stuff. To be more specific, I love events. I love running in them, paddling in them, biking in them, and singing in them (it’s been a long time for that, though). Since I’m not of the über-mench pregnant woman variety (have you SEEN those women who run marathons while 7-months pregnant?), I haven’t been an active participant in any of the sweet events that happen in the summertime around here lately.
Cheerleading (2 of 6)

But, I can volunteer and cheer. A few weeks ago, I volunteered at our town’s Whitewater Festival. Our local go-get-em adventure group – FAR –  sponsors an obstacle race and I, being the cheerleader that I am, volunteered to give directions at one particularly difficult part of the race. It was fun to see all the racers and be part of the event. Hey, I got a t-shirt. It even fits over my belly.

Cheerleading (5 of 6)

And yesterday, Blaine and I came down to the river to cheer for a group of mommies in our playgroup who were participating in the second annual ‘Battle of the Bighorn’ – a combination raft trip / obstacle race that culminates at my husband’s place of work. So, we got to play in the river while we waited, see daddy, lie in a hammock, and cheer for our friends.

    Cheerleading (6 of 6)

(This photo aught to tell you why I never do ‘outfit’ posts. Nobody is pinning baseball caps on Polyore.) Then everyone got all loud and excited and Blaine was scared. He’s a delicate little monkey.

Cheerleading (4 of 6)

So life lately (linking up with Blair from Wild and Precious) is about enjoying some time off from participating…and just enjoying being a cheerleader.

I’ll Work, You Play

One of the reasons I think I am a good mommy is: I am tired at the end of the day. I am constantly riding a bike, walking across the yard, shoveling sand in the sandbox, or crouching by Blaine’s side at the river. (Who needs a gym, right?) He loves being outside, and I try to encourage this behavior by playing with him and helping him think of things to do out there. This morning, he wanted to play in the empty pool (wasn’t quite hot enough for swimmin’ yet), so I brought out some balls and made him a ball pit. He LOVED it. There was much rolling and giggling and jumping. The only problem was, he’s working on his fast ball, so there was also much throwing. All of the balls eventually made their way to the lawn. Twice.

But that’s cool. That’s what being a good mommy is about (I think): working hard to let your kids play. Toddlers are hard work. They require constant attention. (There will be no sitting on the lawn at the park idly watching him climb the slide for you, missy.)  And they are BUSY. All of the things that B seems to like to do require a significant amount of bending, lifting, grabbing, walking, pulling, or scooping on my part. It’s easy to get tired. His playing is my hard work. I dutifully picked up all those balls, but relished the look on his face when he got to throw them all out again.

06_16_2013 (6 of 8)

 06_16_2013 (5 of 8)

06_16_2013 (7 of 8)

For more information on why toddler moms are so tired (and how / when it will end), read this article – The Life Cycle of a Park Parent – on Funny is Family. It’s funny.

A Little Something

Do you ever sit down at the end of a hard day and think to yourself, “I deserve a little something for all that hard work I did today. I mean, I essentially did a P90X workout (over the course of a day) by picking up my 25-pound son 766 times, carrying 8 bags of groceries in on two trips, doing 112 squats (with said toddler) to pick up a cup /snack / book / Mr. Monkeybritches; I did the grocery shopping all by myself and only got tinkled on as a thank-you; made dinner and a potluck dessert; kept the kidlett from eating / stepping in / throwing doggie doo; and managed to feed everyone healthy food despite my cravings for all things fried and sugary.”

Well, I’m sure the actual tasks vary, but the idea is there: we do a LOT as mommies, and the reward is essentially intrinsic.

My job pays in smiles and giggles, which is an amazing bounty, to be sure. But sometimes, just sometimes, I want this instead:

Bern_Helmet

 

I saw it over at The Kubly Girl, and I am green with envy. Stylish and functional? Yes, please! My husband is so forgiving about my need for “things” every once in a while, and I try to be self-governing for the most part. I’m actually a little bit embarrassed to ask him if I can buy this for myself. (He never buys anything material that doesn’t go in his stomach or under the hood of his truck. He’s just minimalist like that.) Aaaand, I may or may not have just bought a super-cute Sherpani purse that was on mega-sale at a little shop in Breckenridge for only $20. Soooo…that may have been my allowance. Sigh. Maybe I’ll sleep on it…

This is Me: Self Portrait

I am linking up with ‘While Wearing Heels’ today for an assignment that I’ve been debating for a few days. I’m none too keen on having my picture taken, but I do feel compelled to share the difficulties of retaining your sense of “self” during pregnancy / motherhood. I have not been in the mood to star in any self-portraits lately, seeing as how it’s been 90+ degrees outside, I’m pregnant (read: 20 pounds heavier), and proper blow-drying and styling of my hair is woefully infrequent.

But then I remembered back to my angsty, faux-artsy high-school days, when self-portraits could be abstract, mysterious, and symbolic. So, I decided to compromise:

Self_Portrait (1 of 1)

I call this – ‘The Balancing Act’. Right now, I’m balancing all of my old and new loves in life with my pregnancy. I LOVE being pregnant with my second little boy. Every kick in the groin is a gift – truly. But no matter how appreciative you are of being pregnant, I’ve learned that it’s hard to give up little bits of who you are. I am an avid biker and runner (hence the bike pump perched on top of the books and journals), but don’t get to enjoy that much these days. But I do get to drink my favorite tea, collect rocks by the river with my little man, enjoy being a toddler mom, and read when I get the chance. The quote came from a pithy little charm that I picked up at a craft store. It’s not deep, it’s just true. Balance.

For another great self-portrait, check out Bonnie’s at ‘A Compass Rose’. She’s good, real good.

It’s What We Do

I love parks. Playdates are fun. But the only place that offers true respite from the 90-degree heat (aside from standing in front of my swamp cooler), is the river. We are fortunate to live about 7 blocks from the Arkansas river, which is running low and cool and just about perfect these days. (When it is high and muddy, I can’t stop thinking about how quickly Blaine could disappear under the surface if he ever wormed out of my hand and managed to long-jump three feet from the shore. Such are the fears of mothers.)

Happy dude.

Happy dude.

We go just about every day, and Blaine loves to play in the water, throw rocks (a habit that is translating into some difficult social situations), and dig in the sand. It was my husband’s day off today, so I managed to snap a few photos without endangering Blaine’s life by letting go of his nimble little hand. When it comes to taking blogging pictures, I put the priority level at just below ‘safety of child for which blog is named’.

Neverending source of fun.

Neverending source of fun.

I feel that the river is also a perfect substitute for all of those “sensory” bin activities that I see on Pinterest and can’t be bothered to put together. (Lazy mommy.) At the river, we play in the water, pick leaves, play with grass, run our fingers through sand, and stack pebbles. That’s a lot of sensory business going on, and I call it good.  It’s also good for me to get out and walk the nearly 2 miles to and from the park. Mommy needs some sensory stimulation, too. Not that Curious George isn’t engaging…

The mighty Arkansas River.

The mighty Arkansas River.