Sunday, June 26, 2011

My Mom

I consider myself to be incredibly lucky that I've been able to make a friend out of my mother now that we're both adults. Like most girls, we hit a rough patch when I was a teenager - a really rough patch I guess would be a more appropriate term for it.

Our relationship remained rocky for a few years after I moved out. There were various stressors that kept our relationship strained, but thankfully, through a lot of very hard work, things were worked through and we were in a good place to get to know one another again when I became pregnant with Gracie. 

I was 20 and I still had a lot to learn when it came to living my adult life. (Not to say that I still don't have a lot to learn - but looking back, I'm incredibly surprised I survived on my own.) So when I became pregnant, I really needed some additional support. 

I was the first of my close friends to get pregnant, so the natural choice of people to turn to when I had questions or just wanted to commiserate with when I had morning sickness was my mother. At the time, she was living in Wichita, KS, so our relationship grew by daily phone calls. (Let's not kid ourselves here - sometimes we talked multiple times a day.) 

We talked about all kinds of stuff. First we talked about my pregnancy, then we talked about her pregnancy with me and how things were compared and contrasted between the two. We talked about her childhood and my childhood and the eventual childhood of the baby in my belly. And over the course of those 38 weeks, my mother and I became friends. 

A few months after Gracie was born, my husband and I got into some trouble and my mom moved here to take Gracie so we could turn things around. In the two years that she lived here, we became even closer, seeing each other nearly every day. She also formed an intensely deep bond with Gracie - a bond so deep that sometimes Gracie randomly gets upset because she misses her Mimi. 

Just before Gracie's second birthday, my mom moved to Tulsa and has been there since. It was really hard to go without having my mom around, but it was also a freeing experience, as having her here also meant having a safety net I'd never had before and going without that meant I had to learn how to be a real adult (one who is a productive member of society rather than a drain on it). 

We try to visit as often as we can, and we still talk on the phone almost daily. I'm not really sure why I started writing this post, or where I'm going with it from here - I guess I just realized that I haven't talked much about my mom on here and figured it's time. I love my mom very much and I am so thankful that she and I have both been able to work through our own personal issues in order to create a bond together. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Is That Kid on a Leash?

I've talked about my youngest daughter Kairi here before, and how she can be a little unruly. My husband Jason and I have been to parenting classes, we've worked really hard with her to try to improve her behavior, and we are getting ready to start family counseling to hopefully get a few more tools to utilize when Kairi's behavior gets out of hand. 

Gracie was nothing like Kairi. Gracie was incredibly mild mannered in comparison. Don't get me wrong - Gracie threw some fits and got a little crazy from time to time, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to Kairi. Kairi's fits are like nothing I've ever seen. She hits, kicks, screams, pulls hair, scratches, pinches, and bites herself so hard she brings up bruises. She also has a tendency to run off the moment we set her down. 

We've tried everything we can think of. Really. And like I said above, we're about to start counseling to hopefully get things under control before she gets much older. I know she's two, and a lot of people would say that it's just a phase, just the "terrible twos," but let me just say that this is the "terrible twos" on CRACK and we need HELP.

So, while we were on vacation, we decided to finally employ the monkey backpack/leash that a friend gave us for the kids to play with. We got it several months ago and never really intended on using it. I tried it on Kairi when we first got it, but she flipped out and hid it. But, we decided to give it another go, considering that we'd be in various airports, a major league baseball game, and a great number of other crowded locations where the idea of losing sight of our 2 year old, even for a second or two, is terrifying. 

As it turned out, this thing was a Godsend. I have never been more thankful for an accessory than I was for Kairi's monkey backpack. 

Prior to having kids, however, the idea of "leashing" my child really freaked me out. Admittedly, I was pretty judgmental of the whole idea. Having lived through mothering a child who will run off the moment you set her down, however, I totally get the need for this product. But it still draws in a lot of judgment.

One girl at the airport in Memphis made a comment in passing that really got to me. We were in the middle of our layover and we were hunting down a smoking area for Jason. We've got our 6 year old, our 2 year old, a carry-on, a tote bag, and a toddler carseat all in tow, and we're trying to navigate this incredibly busy airport. We're all tired, and Jason is incredibly cranky because he hasn't had a cigarette in hours. His crankiness made me cranky, which in turn made me snap at the girls probably significantly more than necessary or normal... It just wasn't a great situation. So, we're walking along when Kairi decides she wants me to carry her. Only I'm carrying the carseat as well as pulling the carry on behind me. So she just lays down and starts crying. And here comes little miss judgment, a girl who probably doesn't have kids, one of those people who would say, "Well, I babysit a lot so I know a lot about kids." As she's passing by, she says, "Well that's good planning. A lot of good that leash is doing you, huh?"

While actually in Florida, we passed a lot of people who said, only once they thought we were out of earshot, "Is that kid on a leash?" At one point in time, we passed a couple who made that remark, then immediately came upon a woman trying to buckle her screaming daughter into a stroller. She looked up at us after she saw Kairi skip past her and said, "Man... I could REALLY use one of those." 

So, in response to anyone who wants to pass judgment, yes. My kid is on a leash. But you know what? At least they're not locking down Wal-Mart to search for the child I lost, and at least her picture isn't going up on the lost child wall in the entry way. 

And to anyone who thinks I'm lazy for choosing to use a "leash," you try chasing my two year old around for a couple of hours, then we'll talk. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Back From Vacation

Wow - It's been a little while since I last posted. Apologies all around, folks. I haven't had many ideas on topics to write about, but I've decided that perhaps if I even just use my blog as a platform for an online public diary of sorts, perhaps by writing more frequently even just about our everyday happenings, maybe that will help get the ball rolling.

So, a lot has happened since I last wrote. School is out and summer vacation is in! So far I've been very busy this summer. I started a new part time job working at this really cool local coffee and sandwich shop. I used to go in just about every morning for coffee and a breakfast quesadilla before class (and oh my goodness, are their breakfast quesadillas the best ever! *drools*) They had just begun staying open over the weekend and business was finally picking up enough that the owner felt she could justify hiring someone to work the weekend shifts so she could have some time off and she offered me the job. It came at a perfect time too, because although I was working weekends at Chili's and making decent money, that money was also cash in hand - which slipped right through my fingers the moment it hit them.

Since my family was planning a vacation - a real vacation - I needed to save all the money I could, and putting a lump-summed paycheck in the back was a lot easier than depositing a slow trickle of cash. Plus, did I mention that this place is super cool and I love all the people that work there? It's an awesome job for me.

I am still working at Chili's too, though. I love my job at Chili's, and since my coffee shop job was only for weekends, I decided it would be in my best interest to keep my position at Chili's open so I can work there during the week while I'm not in school. It might sound like a lot, but really it's just two part time jobs that don't really equal a full-time job. I get in about 30 hours a week or so.

I'm just getting back into working however, because we just got back from our above-mentioned vacation. We took a trip to St. Petersburg, Florida, and it was AMAZING! My husband Jason and I celebrated 10 years together while we were there by taking the girls to the Sunken Gardens. I know, it doesn't really sound that spectacular, but it was a lot of fun.

We did a lot of stuff while we were there. The whole reason behind choosing St. Petersburg was because we have some very close friends who live there. Jennifer, the girl I grew up with, and her mom, one of my Mom's best friends, moved there 9 years ago, so we thought it would be a good place to visit. And boy, was it! I think we had the best time together as a family.

I'll be posting pictures soon, and giving more updates as they come - I'm hoping to write a new post at least twice a week, so keep your eyes peeled as there is more to come!