Parenting · Single Mom

Making Friends with Batman

I was so excited about Christmas this year for my darling two year old.  I hoped that Santa would bring him trains and other nice toddler toys.  I knew he would enjoy seeing Ho Ho –he always does.  But there was something about this year that was even more exciting than the last two.

You see, he is nearing three –and with all the changes that entails.  His excitement is contagious.  He YIKES Ho Ho.

The thing that I did not expect–was how much he began to yike Batman. . . . and Spiderman. . . . and “All That.”  Sure, I knew that I was probably never going to get around the superhero faze.  (Looking back, I’m not sure why I ever even  wanted to).  The truth is, I’d hoped that I could keep my toddler into Elmo (who he yiked a month before he met Batman) and Dot Dog (otherwise known as Mickey Mouse) for a little bit longer.  I even bought him an early Christmas gift for good measure–Tickle Me Elmo.  I was certain he would LOVE it because we had just visited Elmo’s Castle and he told me how much he yiked Elmo.

But sometime between Elmo’s Castle and Christmas, my Massimo met Batman.  And when we visited Ho Ho for the first time, he asked for Batman, Spiderman, Batman’s House and “all that.”   We visited several Santa’s during the course of the Christmas season (Santa is Massimo’s homeboy), and each and every time he told Ho Ho the same thing.  There was no fighting it–no matter how much I tried.

Family members asked what he wanted:  my response was always–“well he wants Batman, but I’m not sure that Mommy is ready for Batman.”

Sometime after the second or third Santa, I realized that I was no match for Batman.  Batman was just too strong.  He is a superhero after all.

Trying to make the best of what I had lost–my toddler–who Yiked Elmo.  I began to embrace the Batman.  I began to realize that it was not necessarily a fighting super hero he wanted.   What he really wanted was action figures that he could play with in their “house,” much like a preschool girl wants a doll house–and there’s no cooler way to do that than with Batman.  I don’t understand Batman.  But I do understand dolls and doll houses.

On Christmas day, I could barely contain myself for him to see his Batman and Spiderman and “all that.”  He was so excited. Oh. My Doodness.  I think I was more excited though.

Christmas afternoon we ended up in the ER.  Luckily, we had Batman, Spiderman, and all that with us to keep us entertained while we waited.  Since Massimo is in a cast now, he’s had a lot of downtime.  Thank god for Batman.  He’s been playing with his superheroes and their houses for days.  And Mommy is really enjoying watching him.

Now, I don’t know what I’d do without Batman.

Love,

 

J

 

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Parenting

Elves

I love Christmastime.  I love the lights.  The joy.  The goodwill.  I love it even more through the eyes of my little guy.  He is SO excited.  Oh. MY. Goodness.

Everything about Christmas excites him.  Ho ho.  Baby Jesus.  Lights. Monsters. Trees.  Not to mention presents.

After we put up our tree, I wrapped a couple of gifts and put them under it right next to Massimo’s nativity play set.  Clearly, I didn’t think that part through.  As soon as he saw the presents, he ran to them saying:  “I so excited!  My presents!  Batman! Spiderman! All that!”

Uh oh.

I responded, very sweetly, “no baby, those aren’t for you and we can’t open presents until Ho Ho comes.”

And he wailed.  He cried and cried and didn’t understand.  His feelings were hurt because (1) those were not his presents–in fact none of the presents were his, and (2) I wouldn’t let him open them.

Oh the horror.

Then I made mistake number 2.  I left the room to attend to a biological need.  When I returned, I found Massimo and an unwrapped gift.

“Massimo,”  I said.  “That wasn’t for you.”

Again, he wailed.  He cried and cried and cried.  It was a great parenting moment.  I had sucked the joy of Christmas out of my two year old baby.

I also thought it was a teaching moment.  A moment to teach my two –almost three year old–a little bit about self control.

So, the next day–I wrapped more gifts.  Again, I put them under the tree next to his nativity set.  Again, he was confused.  He cried and wailed.  He wanted to open the new gift.  Which was either Batman or Batman’s house.  (Have I mentioned that my child wants Batman, Spiderman, Batman’s house, all that–and that up until right about now I’ve not been so sure about embracing the superhero theme at 2).

One thing quickly became clear, if I was going to teach him self control–I needed help.  And I needed help from someone Massimo loved and respected.

Luckily, we have our very own elf–Bobby Gi Gi.  It can be kind of a hassle trying to figure out new places to put him every nigh.  And, to be very honest, I can’t imagine that I’ll be able to remember to move him every night during Christmas until he no longer believes that Bobby is magical.  But for now, Bobby is magical.

So the next night, Bobby went to the North Pole and returned with a letter to Massimo from Ho Ho.  In the letter, Ho Ho asked Massimo not to open any more gifts until Mommy told him he could.  Ho Ho said he was busy working on Batman and Spiderman but if Massimo kept opening the gifts under the tree, he would have to give Batman and Spiderman to another little boy.

Massimo hasn’t opened any more gifts under the tree.

Thank you Bobby Gi Gi and Ho Ho.

Love,

J

 

 

Wellness

The Time for Gratitude

Every night before I put Massimo to bed, I ask him to tell me what he’s grateful for.  He usually says “Mama, Nana, Da, Buddy, Robin, etc.”  Sometimes he leaves out a couple of people but it is always the people who he finds most important in his life.  It is never a thing.  It is always the people who he is grateful for.

Having just wrapped up Halloween (which by the way was super fun with a two year old–I’ll have to blog about that later),  we are now preparing for Thanksgiving.  It is my favorite holiday for so many reasons.  Importantly, it is the only holiday that Madison Ave has not quite figured out how to bastardize.  It is also the best holiday because it is one that forces us all to consider what we are grateful for–instead of what we need or want.

A gratitude practice is good way to cultivate happiness.  Many wellness experts suggest the use of gratitude journals.  I find them very helpful.  If I write down three things that I’m grateful for in the morning, I am better able to focus on my haves than my have nots that day.  Prayer is also a good way develop a gratitude practice.  Thanking God for your individual blessings is a another way to focus on what we have rather than what we perceive we are missing.

The past year and half of my life has been rather hard.  I suffered a major professional disappointment and am quite sure that I was wronged.  I then removed myself from that disappointing and unhealthy situation and ended up in an even more unhealthy environment.  Now, I’m in a happy and healthy environment–for which I am very grateful.  Although my current environment is not perfect, it could have been so much worse–I could be stuck in my last environment without an end in sight.

During this time of professional disappointment, my heart has overflowed with love for my little boy.  Every time I look at him I am reminded of just how lucky I am.   The stars aligned and God shined his grace right down on me the minute he decided to put this amazing child in my life.  Focusing on the blessings of joy and love has (mostly) provided me the sanity to cope with the choppy professional waters I’ve been swimming in.

I do have to admit that sometimes its very hard.  Sometimes I just feel like throwing my hands up in the air, crying, and giving up.  But I know that the stars will again align and God will again bestow his grace on me in a way that will make all of this struggle worth it.  In the meantime, I’m forever grateful for the people that I have in my life–particularly Massimo.  Even a two year old can tell you that people are much more important than things or status or power.

Love,

J

 

 

Fertility · Single Mom

Elderly Primigravida: Not for Virgin Marathon Runners

Massimo doesn’t know this but, when he was in his Mommy’s belly–I called him Baby Sue.  Two procedures, almost daily doctor visits, daily shots, blood tests every other day, and finally my little nugget was conceived.

Eight weeks later–I was back in the doctor’s office.  This time it was the normal OB/GYN.  I was pretty excited–but I had enough of doctors.  At that point, I would have been just fine if I’d never seen another doctor in my life.  Don’t get me wrong–I was incredibly grateful for the skills that they had used to create the life that was growing inside of me but I would have preferred to be grateful from afar.

I had a vision of a beautiful natural child-birth.  With candles and a bathtub.  There would have been music–maybe even chanting.  It would be painful but worth it.

I even picked the doctor’s office that was affiliated with the one and only midwifery center in my area.  The office had the highest natural childbirth rate in my state and the doctor I picked ran the midwifery center.

After my eight week exam, the doctor invited me into his office–where he discussed his vision of my child-birth.  We were not on the same page.  I’m not even sure we were reading the same book.

I explained to him that I was interested in learning more about the midwifery center and wanted to “register” to have my birth there.  The doctor, who appeared to be 78, scoffed!

“You wouldn’t run a marathon for the first time at 37, you can’t have natural childbirth for the first time at 37.  You will RUIN OUR NUMBERS!!!!!!!”

I envisioned the following response: “I burst out in tears, lunged across the desk, grabbed his lab coat and shouted at him.  Don’t you understand!  I’ve had enough of your type!  I just want to have this baby and be left alone!  And you, you crotchety old man!  Its 2014.  Not 1914.  Put me on the list for the midwifery center and I’ll show you a marathon!”

Unfortunately (or fortunately), I didn’t do any of that.  I did nearly burst out in tears but I got up and left.

I was scared.  Pregnancy is scary.  Exciting but scary.  I think the medical field does a good job of making it even more scary.

Three years later and I’m STILL scared. Does that ever go away?  I have my doubts.

After the doctor’s appointment, I went home dejected but did NOT give up the hope of having a natural childbirth.

I soon received an email from my doctor with the notes from that day’s appointment.

It contained the following diagnosis: Elderly Primigravida.

Love,

 

J

 

 

 

Food · Whole 30

No Roux Whole 30 Gumbo

My favorite part about the Whole 30/Paleo eating is that it isn’t a gimmick.  Now, I know that I gave you a bunch of brand name Whole 30 Essentials here, but you can do a successful Whole 30 without any of them.  In fact, I did not have any of them for my first Whole 30.

You do need time to prepare food and determination.  But both of those things are going to benefit you, not someone else’s wallet–and that’s what appeals to me.

The thing about cajun-type food is that it usually has a roux, which is all sorts of noncompliant.  For this gumbo, you don’t need a roux.  All you need are the ingredients and a slow cooker.  Plus, if you are lazy and you buy the veggies already cut up you don’t even need a lot of time–but you will need thyme.

Ingredients:

2.5 pounds boneless skinless breasts, thighs or a combo

6 ounces of your favorite, compliant andouille sausage (I used this one)

About a pound of frozen shrimp

One green bell pepper

One onion

2 celery sticks

A cup of frozen okra

2 cloves of garlic

2 bay leaves

15 ounces of diced tomatoes

6 ounces of tomato paste

Spices

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp thyme

1 1/2 tbsp Whole 30 Compliant Cajun Seasoning

Put all of the ingredients (other than shrimp) in the slow cooker and cook on high for about 4 hours.

Put the shrimp in when you have about 20 minutes left

When done, shred the chicken and serve over cauliflower rice for Whole 30.  If you aren’t on a Whole 30 or trying to eat paleo, you can serve it over white or brown rice.

Enjoy!

 

Love,

 

J

 

 

 

Parenting · Working Mom

Riding with the Toddler

It seems to take much longer to get ready in the morning when I have to take Massimo to school.  However, I read somewhere that it takes, on average, two and a half extra minutes to get a toddler ready to go with you than it takes on your own.  Two and a half minutes–For just a few years.  Those are precious two and a half minutes.

Until this past April when my mom retired, I took Massimo to school about three or four times a week.  That made for both long mornings and long weeks.  When she retired, she started taking him into school.  While I’m super grateful for the help (and the shorter days and shorter weeks), I realized this morning how much I’ve been been missing out on.

This morning was the only day this week that I took Massimo to school.  Boy was it fun. Yes, I had to contend with a kind of grouchy child who did not want to go to the bathroom, change his diaper or get dressed.  I also had to feed him at 5:30 am (even though he is fed breakfast at school)–he wanted “hotcakes” and fries (lucky for him we had one of the two).

Then, instead of allowing me to load the car with the various paraphernalia that I needed, he insisted on coming with me and getting in the car –even though I wasn’t quite ready to leave.  I loaded him in the carseat in the dark (which is more fun than a barrel of monkeys)–and he was COLD and thirsty.  Please note, he was cold because I had put a sweater on him–which would have been warm enough if Mr. Patience would have let me run out to the car to turn the heat on.

Back in the house I went to get him a blanket and a bot bot (cup–for those of you who don’t speak toddler).   I came back out and warmed him up with the blanket.  As I was snuggling him tight with the blanket, he told me that he was scared of my shadow.  This is new.  My child isn’t scared of anything–let alone shadows.

Once I had him snugly in the carseat, I realized mommy had left her bot bot (a.k.a. coffee) in the house.  Can’t forget that.  I ran quickly back into the house and picked up my bot bot. And finally, we were off.

We chatted and sang the whole way to school.  He counted to ten.  We sang the ABC song, the Itsy Bitsy Spider, the Wheels on the Bus (he knows all the moves and noises), and maybe a few others that I’m missing.  He’s learning so much these days and his vocabulary is expanding a LOT.  The things he says. . . . “OH MY DOODNESS”–is his new phrase and there is absolutely nothing cuter in my life right now.

When we arrived at Debbie’s house (his teacher is Debbie–so he calls daycare her house), we had to take the blanket with us because he was COLD….brrrr he said.  I realized then that I’d packed everything but the kitchen sink in the car this morning. . . . and his cookies we baked last night for school.

Love,

 

J

 

Single Mom · Working Mom

Giving Back to Society

Every now and then, I get a wild hair up my tail and decide that I need to join a group to give back to society.  Ultimately, I know that I’m very bad about joining and participating in groups.  I don’t know why that is but sometimes I feel like I need an additional social outlet that also makes me feel like I’m contributing something other than legal opinions and raising a child to this world.

I felt one such wild tail last year around this same time when I almost joined a philanthropical group of women.  Almost for a number of reasons.  Mostly, because I was too tired.  When I say too tired, I mean literally too tired.

I went to one meeting at the leader’s house.  She lived in a swanky neighborhood and had her house decorated for Halloween.  She had painted glasses for all of us (I wish I had time to paint glasses).  We had wine and nice conversation.

During the “happy hour,” before the actual meeting, several of the women asked me the same question:  “Do you work?”  To which, I responded –yes, I’m a lawyer.  But I thought, do I work?  Doesn’t everyone work?  What is this not working that you are alluding to?  Who doesn’t work?  And how can I get that job?

After the happy hour, we had the meeting where all of the fundraising activities were discussed.  It was very clear to me that they were all very into raising money for a really good cause–which was what appealed to me in the first place.  When the meeting was over, our host told us to take our painted glasses with us and bring them back at the next meeting.

I drove home but I was so tired.  Massimo wasn’t really sleeping all night long.  I woke up at O dark thirty in the morning and my commute was really bad.  I nearly nodded off on the way home from the meeting.

I still have my glass.  Every now and then I see it in the cabinet.  It stares at me, reminding me how bad I am at joining groups and how I really should give that nice lady her glass back.

Love,

J