Monday, May 17, 2010

Slow down, you move too fast...

Monday May 17, 2010

Slow down, you move too fast...

...You got to make the mornin' last
Just kickin' down the cobblestones
Lookin' for fun & feelin' groovy
-Simon & Garfunkel, The 59th Street Bridge Song

Last Friday was one of the most fun days I've had in a long time. As part of my new job, I'm now working only part-time. And while part of my non-work weekdays will be spent getting classwork done for school (and maybe feeling slightly less overwhelmed by life's chaos!), Fridays are primarily going to be my fun with the kiddos days. I want to give Jay some undivided attention since Luke has removed him from his King of the Universe throne. While I truly don't want him to feel that he's the center of the universe, or even my universe, I do want to enjoy some special time with him one-on-one. We're calling them "Jay-days." And I want the same for Luke, though we just spent 11 weeks getting lots of one-on-one time. He'll get some special time, too (though "Luke-day" doesn't quite have the same ring to it!).

We spent our first Jay-day doing pretty much whatever he wanted to do. While still in our PJ's, we played outside on the new-to-us slide that his Auntie TOJ gave him. We got out soap and brush and water hose with the intent of cleaning up the slide - in reality we ended up mostly dousing each other with the hose. Once our jammies were good & soggy, we went inside to put on our bathing suits. We packed up & headed over to visit with our friends in the Admissions Office. LaLa was thrilled to see her little buddy, but he was more than a little shy in front of his Peele Hall fan club.

Then, we did the most fun thing of all ... we went to the pool! Those who knew me growing up remember that I was a pool rat, so I of course want my kids to love the water like I did. I spent many a childhood summer hanging at QHSC and swimming on summer league, year-round club, and high school swim teams. Let me just say that my boy has inherited my love for the pool. He started to giggle as soon as his toes hit the water and didn't stop laughing for the whole hour we were there! He had a blast, blowing bubbles, kicking his feet and jumping off the side. I think swim lessons are going to be in our future...

After an afternoon nap, we went to the grocery store. On the way to the car, Jay wanted to check out the weeds in our yard. Most every time we leave the house, he wants to stop and pull grass, examine the gravel in the driveway, pretend to water the weeds or something else to slow us down. I feel like such a nag: "Hurry up!" "We have to go to school!" "Let's go!" "Get in the car! Now!" But on Friday, there was nowhere we had to be. The Harris Teeter wasn't going anywhere. So we stopped to check out the dandelions, and we blew the fluff off every single one of them. I realize that in doing so, we ensured that there will be dandelions to come all summer long. And in the spirit of taking time to enjoy every moment, I am glad. We may not have the perfect weed-free yard that I would like, but at least we'll have time to enjoy the weeds.

Posted at 10:47PM May 17, 2010 by Jen Foster in General | Comments[7]

This is what it is about. Forget the muffin disaster, these are great memories!!!

Posted by crystal on May 18, 2010 at 08:51 AM EDT #

I am so happy you are making time for what makes you happy! And like the wonderful Mom you are it includes a Jay Day. Lucky for your kids they have a very intuitive Mom! And very loving!
As usual, I have been loving all the postings and the Muffin Man was hysterical! For me...I am thinking not so much for you?

Posted by Susie on May 19, 2010 at 06:17 PM EDT #

That sounds like so much fun! I personally think dandelions are beautiful, so spread the fuzzies and bring them on!

Posted by Cynthia on May 20, 2010 at 09:06 PM EDT #

When you question that you are a great Mom (which you should NEVER do, by the way) remember that you *DID* take time to blow the dandilion fluff, and 10 years down the road when you are so busy shuttling your boys to soccer and baseball and swim pracice and whatnot, you'll see a dandilion on the soccer field and you'll smile and remember the wonderful "Jay days"

Posted by Erin on May 26, 2010 at 02:16 PM EDT #

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Do you know the Muffin Man...

Wednesday May 12, 2010

Do you know the Muffin Man...

...The Muffin Man, the Muffin Man
Do you know the Muffin Man
Who lives on Drury Lane?
Muffin Man, traditional folk song

I publicly confess this story because it will show you just one of the many million moments that I struggle to balance my roles as mom and working professional. For all you who think I've got it together, this will prove that I'm a wreck, though I occasionally fake sanity convincingly.

So, this morning, I woke up almost an hour late. Now that I'm back at work, I try to get up at 5:30 a.m. so that I can nurse, pump, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, scan the headlines, feed Jay, get both boys dressed, pack up lunch & pumping parts for the day. (Good Lord! I'm tired just reading that list!) But today I didn't wake up until 6:15, so I was in a big fat hurry from the moment I woke up until 8:10 when I rolled into the office. Only 10 mins late - not too shabby. Derek, being the wonderful hubs that he is, offered to take both boys to their respective schools so I wouldn't be any later than necessary.

What I had forgotten was that today was Muffins with Mom at Jay's daycare. (Stretching out Mother's Day for a week - just one of the myriad reasons I love that place!) I'd gotten the email last week, but I completely forgot about it after it slipped out of the top 10 most recent emails. Derek called me at 8:18 to remind me about this big event. He reminded me what a great time he had last year after Father's Day at Doughnuts with Dad. I don't really want to turn around and leave work only 8 minutes after I arrived. I'm only in the office 3 days/week, so I really need to make the most of the time that I'm there. But there's this picture in my mind...

At at table in one of the Sunday School rooms down the hall, I imagine the happy moms sitting beside their happy kids munching on blueberry muffins and sipping OJ. The kids are all swinging their feet, happy to be at the "big table" instead of the usual kid-size one in their classroom. (It's those swinging feet that really got me!) Over in the corner of the room, I see a table with one poor, pitiful, lonely child - the only one whose mom couldn't come to Muffins with Mom. He eats his one little mini-muffin in silence while all the other moms laugh and smile with their perfectly behaved children. OH THE GUILT!

Not my baby! Jay won't be at the lonely kid table! I pick my purse back up and drive like a lunatic back downtown to the daycare. I make it there right at 8:30, the designated start time for this special event. I walk in, kid-less, while all the other moms who remembered this big party bring in their kids. I walk back to Jay's classroom; he sees me and immediately runs up to hug me. (He *never* does that when I pick him up!) I can see the joy in his face and the surprise at seeing me in the morning. His teacher comes up to me and says (I couldn't make this up) "Y'all are down the hall - it's just for moms. Jay - come on back in to have breakfast with your class."

WHAT? You've got to be kidding me!

Jay's little chin begins to quiver - he's fighting tears, big time. His mommy is here at school, and now Miss W is sending her away? Way to break my heart-and his!- into a million pieces. I pick him up and we have a nice snuggle in the hallway. I want to cry, too. But he heads on into his classroom and I'm left standing in the hall thinking "How the bleepety bleep did I get here?! But while I'm here, I might as well get my free muffins, dammit!!"

So, I trudge down the hall to eat breakfast. I sit down at the table with a bunch of moms whose names I have never heard. I know them only as The Pregnant One, or Suzie's Mom, or That Lady who Drives the Lexus. They are all downtown lawyer types, the kind who wear heels and perfectly pressed suits to work every day. I'm wearing my stretched out cardigan that I bought on clearance at Target 6 years ago. Sigh. They talk about the schools they will send their kids to when they age out of this center, and how they have had to suck up to the program directors to get their kids in. I haven't felt so excluded since sixth grade.

I sip my OJ, nibble my muffin and grapes, and make some small talk. When I can't take it anymore, I finally make some excuse about having to get to work, and I leave. On the way out, I notice that the sign says "Muffins FOR Mom." Not WITH ... For. Big difference. Note to self - read invitation a bit more carefully next time.

Posted at 10:07PM May 12, 2010 by Jen Foster in General | Comments[7]

Okay - I have to say - that's just weird. Why would the daycare assume that all the mothers just want to sit with each other? Why do dads get to eat donuts WITH their kids, and moms have to eat muffins with other mothers they don't even know?

Posted by Ginger on May 13, 2010 at 10:14 AM EDT #

Ginger - I totally agree! I had to call Derek on the way back to work and ask "Um, y'all really did eat WITH the kids, right?" And they did.

Bizzare. I was pretty peeved yesterday, but I'm laughing over it now.

Posted by Jen on May 13, 2010 at 11:53 AM EDT #

My only guess is that their thinking was that the stereotypical dad probably needs encouragement to spend some time with his kid and would loathe being forced to make small talk with the other dads, while the stereotypical mom would love a break from childcare and have some adult conversation?

Posted by Derek on May 13, 2010 at 12:15 PM EDT #

I totally agree that it should have been "with child"- at least you can go back to work with no guilt for having left your kid there dangling his feet from the big table and sniffling back tears while downing his mini-muffin ALONE!! Another point added for "Mother of the Year" award!! LYTB, AJ

Posted by jeannette johnson on May 13, 2010 at 01:32 PM EDT #

Jen, I'm so sorry, but I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face -- laughing. Only because I KNOW that frustration. Seems like the more I try to do the right thing -- the best thing -- the more I get it so wrong.

I do have to say that I had those same images in my head last week when I was invited to Riley's school for a special "Mother's Day Snack." I couldn't figure how I could go. I worried and worried about my poor child -- only one without a mommy. But I also couldn't figure who was going to teach that precious little class of autistic boys that I have on Friday afternoons. And, don't forget, I had promised to learn Miley Cyrus's Hoedown Throwdown dance to perform for that afternoon's EOG pep rally! My problem worked out better, though. I was so relieved when I realized that Jaunffrey was taking Riley out of school around noon that day to head to Virginia. (Yes, I'm the mom who wasn't even with her child on Mother's Day because I was supposed to be studying for my assessment.) So Riley wasn't there for the special snack. Whew!

I do think you should write this down as one thing to hold over his head when he's an ungrateful teenager. You DID care enough to rush out to be with him. (Never mind about the writing down -- That's what you've done here. Duh! But you get the idea.)

Posted by Amy G. on May 15, 2010 at 09:49 PM EDT #

That made me cry.

Posted by Lisa on May 20, 2010 at 12:28 PM EDT #

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Because you had a bad day...

Thursday May 06, 2010

Because you had a bad day...

You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
-Daniel Powter "You had a Bad Day"

Poor Luke had a bad day. How can an infant have a bad day, you ask? I mean really, all they do is eat, poop, and sleep. What could be bad about that?

Well, a bad infant day is one where you don't sleep, and Luke had that kind of day on Tuesday, merely his second day of daycare. He DID. NOT. SLEEP. AT. ALL. Apparently his day consisted solely of eating and crying. (Thinking about the 3 things infants do - eat, poop, and sleep ... really he didn't do 2 of those three. I'm betting the lack of pooping led to the crying and non-sleeping!) When my mom and I went to pick him up that afternoon, poor Ms. Samantha appeared ready to put him in the mailbox with a stamp on his butt just to get him out of there. Her hair was sticking out in crazy directions, her eyes were bleary, and she had that look of exhaustion that says "If you don't get this kid to stop screaming *RIGHT NOW* I'm gonna lose my ever-lovin' mind!"

Her words, however, said nothing of the sort. She said in the kindest, gentlest voice you can imagine "He's had kind of a rough day. He didn't sleep at all, and he's cried most of the day." Poor Samantha! I can read between the lines to know that she had to go home and crack open a bottle of wine after that scream-fest. And Poor Luke! His voice was hoarse after all that hollering, and I know he must have felt bad to have been so cranky. The craziest part was that after being awake LITERALLY all day long, I totally thought he'd crash as soon as he landed in the car seat. Not so much. He was awake for another two hours! Did somebody sneak some Red Bull into his bottle?

For the record, yesterday was better. I went by to check on him during the day, and he was awake and lounging in "the pool" in his classroom. The pool has no water, but it seemed fun enough to him. He did take a few cat naps of about 20 minutes each. Not exactly ideal, but it at least gave his poor teachers a moment of quiet. And apparently it was enough to keep them from kicking him out for good, since they welcomed him back with open arms today.

I guess change is hard for babies, too.

Posted at 12:21PM May 06, 2010 by Jen Foster in General | Comments[2]

Poor Luke! But Victoria & Samantha are fantastic, and soon the whole Infants Room scene will be old hat... Hard to believe that maternity leave is over; but that means that we'll have to do lunch! When I walked past the Infants room yesterday I saw the "Welcome Luke" sign and popped my head in to see if he was around, but they said that he wasn't. Can't wait to meet him!

Posted by Erin on May 06, 2010 at 05:18 PM EDT #

Hope things go better this week! Looks like its back to work officially on Monday. Enjoy your last few days of freedom!

Posted by Aunt Jamie on May 07, 2010 at 10:41 PM EDT #

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The party's over...

Sunday May 02, 2010

The party's over...

The candles flicker and dim
You danced and dreamed through the night
It seemed to be right just being with him
Now you must wake up, all dreams must end
Take off your makeup, the party's over
It's all over, my friend
-Nat King Cole "The Party's Over"

Ahh, the end of my maternity leave. I am certainly sad that this party's over. Perhaps that's why I haven't posted in 3 weeks - too busy living it up while I could (Bad blogger! Bad!). Or maybe that's why I'm still up at 11:10 on Sunday night - knowing that when midnight hits, it's back to the real world. Well, kinda.

Luke starts at daycare this week, though I'm not back at work for real until next Monday. He's not going to be full time yet, since we both need a little time to adjust to this new plan. I'm going to use this week to finish up all of the school work that I should have been doing for class all semester. Or some of it anyway. My fantastic professor is going to allow me to take an incomplete this spring, just like he allowed me to do last summer. (I know he's secretly referring to me as "that incomplete girl.") Then in the next month or so, I'm going to finish up the rest of the work that I can't cram into this week. Suffice it to say that grad school has taken the farthest back burner lately. That is really saying something because having a second kid means lots of things, including taking regular showers, get moved to the back burner.

I am really sad that my maternity leave is over, though. When I was home with Jay, it was all just so incredibly stressful for me. We spent his first weeks in the hospital then at the many, many, MANY follow-up doctors' visits for heart issues, surgery complications, and feeding problems. I didn't enjoy his baby days like I should have ... I really couldn't relax and enjoy it, and I felt very trapped in the house. I was glad to get back to work and get some sense of routine and the chance to interact with others.

With Luke, it's been completely different. I think I started getting out with him when he was barely 2 weeks old. We've been out to lunch with my mom, to the park with friends, thrown parties at our house, and even gone to the beach. When I've taken him places, I didn't stress about packing a bag with every possible baby supply we could need. We just went and made do. When he had a massive diaper blow out and I didn't have a back-up outfit, I put him in Jay's shirt like it was a dress. It looked ridiculous, but no one called child protective services.

But what I've enjoyed most is that I have spent some time every single day just staring at him. Admiring those adorable baby toes. Memorizing the cowlick on his forehead. Taking in that baby smell. We have snuggled on the couch and in the magic chair and on the back porch in the sunshine. I have made it a point to focus on enjoying these 10 weeks with him, and I've tried to appreciate the chance to spend some time with family & friends during the workdays. It has been such a blessing to be able to spend this time together, and I wouldn't give it up for anything.

Posted at 11:45PM May 02, 2010 by Jen Foster in General | Comments[3]

Hey Party on, party on! And if you need help, holler! I am so wowed by all you do. Give those beautiful boys an extra hug from me and here's a special hug from me to you! Hang in there and know you are loved and admired by many! xoxoxo Susie

Posted by Susie Hoffman on May 03, 2010 at 01:50 PM EDT #

I'm glad you've been able to enjoy the past 10 weeks!

(Also - I just commented on your last post again - I forgot to check back on my questions! Glad I remembered!)

Posted by Ginger on May 03, 2010 at 05:03 PM EDT #