I Want Sleep Parity and I Want It Now!

If you have small kids, how do you and your Sig O share the load when it comes to night time and early morning wakings?

For Hubby and me, it has never been even a little bit close to equal.  If one of the kids wakes during the night or before we’re up in the morning, I’m the default caretaker. This drives me nuts.  I know it’s not healthy to keep score, but it’s kind of hard not to when I’m basically batting one thousand.

Biology is part of the problem.  I breastfed both kids and so the assumption is that they are waking to eat, and I’m the food.  I’d be curious to know, though, what the division of labor is for families where there is not a breastfeeding parent.  Is it any more equal?  And, needless to say, it’s not like Hubby started taking half the K-Man wakings when I weaned him.

Another count against biology: I’m apparently wired to wake up to the sounds of baby cries, and Hubby is not.  Or at least that’s what he would like me to believe.  I’m not entirely convinced he hasn’t been pretending to be asleep all this time.  Either way, unless I roll over and physically wake him up to help out, I’m on my own.  It is exhausting — and feels selfish — to have to always beg him to do his share.

To be fair, Hubby’s work schedule makes it impossible for him to wake up with the kids most days.  That’s because on the days that he works, he’s usually leaving the house before they even get up.  (And this is the part where you lose all sympathy for me, right?  But the petty part of me has to point out that when I was working and Hubby was in school, I was still always the one getting up with K-Man, even on the weekends.)

I’m not asking for anything unreasonable.  Here’s what I want: on the days that Hubby gets off, I want an even split between who gets to sleep in.  And I don’t want to have to remind him or ask for it.  I want it to be the default.

These days, if I want the chance to sleep in, we have to discuss it the night before.  I have to make an appointment.  And sometimes, come morning, Hubby doesn’t honor the appointment.  Nothing makes me more grumpy than waking up with the kids when I was led to believe I was going to get an extra hour of glorious sleep.

Last week, Hubby randomly had three mornings off in a row.  Great, I thought, I’ll get to sleep in at least once this week!  We didn’t discuss anything before the first morning off, so Hubby slept in.  I was fine with that, he works hard and deserves his time off.  That night, though, we talked and Hubby volunteered that he would let me sleep in on the second morning.  However, when Ell-Bell woke for the day with her cranky cries, Hubby opened his eyes for a few seconds, rolled over, and went back to sleep.  After I gave him a thorough reaming when he finally did get up, Hubby promised I could sleep in on the third morning.  Well, needless to say, Ell-Bell woke up on Day 3 and Hubby wasn’t budging.  So I passive-aggressively brought her in to bed with us.  She grunted and screeched, but Hubby still snored on.  Finally, I swore loudly and stormed out of bed.  Hubby woke for a few seconds to ask “What’s wrong?” but he didn’t follow up when I didn’t answer and left the room.  I came back up a few minutes later to get K-Man’s monitor, and Hubby was like, “leave it, I got him.”  Seething, I told him it didn’t fucking matter and stomped away.  Another five minutes later, I heard Hubby coming down the stairs, and I instantly felt regret and guilt.  Why am I such a monster about this stuff?  Why can’t I just act like an adult and calmly resolve these issues with my Hubby? Halp!

So yeah, I have some work to do on coming to terms with my current sleep situation.  You know what else would solve this problem, though?  Kids who don’t wake up in the middle of the night!  And kids who don’t wake up at the butt crack of dawn!  Little turds.

Until next time,

Vee

#NaBloPoMo Day 27: What Happened at Thanksgiving

It’s the 27th day of November and the 27th day of NaBloPoMo.  While today’s theme is supposed to be Christmas, I’m going rogue and talking about our disastrous Thanksgiving instead.  Don’t forget to read yesterday’s post about how Hubby and I went rogue and bought a house without seeing it in person!

When I designed my list of NaBloPoMo themes, I thought I might use today to talk about Christmas, because I am one of those people who gets into the Christmas spirit early.  Like, let’s get Halloween and Thanksgiving out of the way already so we can make some fucking Christmas cookies!  (And if you’re a celebrate-Christmas-before-Thanksgiving-er, more power to you!)

But today, instead of looking forward to Christmas, I find myself reflecting on how this past Thanksgiving was something of a disaster.  Before your imagination runs away with you, let me just say that most things food-related turned out really well (with a gravy exception discussed below).  So why was our Thanksgiving so disappointing?  Would it give it away if I suggested we rename it Pukesgiving?

Half of us got a horrible, pukey, 24-hour stomach bug.  It all started when I heard my sister-in-law (SIL) puking in the bathroom on Friday night.  She puked twice and then had a headache and chills.  Then I woke up at about 1am Saturday morning and vomited my brains out.  I threw up 4 more times before actual morning.  And then Ell-Bell barfed all over herself and our bed at about 3am.  And at 4am Hubby spewed an unbelievable amount of his insides out, developed the most violent shivers I’ve ever seen, and then buried himself deep under the covers and became totally dead to the world.  When K-Man woke up for the day at 7am, he said his tummy hurt.  Uh oh.  Over the next 8 hours, he managed to chuck on the rug, the sofa, and the kitchen floor.  Who knew two-year-olds had so much room in their tummies?

I continued to vomit every 1-2 hours for the first half of Saturday, and then I felt like death warmed over for the rest of the day.  Hubby was only out of bed between the hours of 11am and 6pm, and when he was up, he was pretty much just sitting on the couch moaning and shivering.  We have no idea what happened to make us all so sick.  Food poisoning is one potential culprit, but we couldn’t isolate anything that only the sick folks ate, so who knows.

It was pretty brutal, though.  There we were with guests who had come all this way to see us, and we could barely function enough to keep our kids alive, let alone be good hosts.  And if I’m being completely honest, I was pretty bitter that Hubby just helped himself to bed, leaving me solely responsible for our two little vomiting munchkins.  Have you ever tried to clean up toddler vomit alone while keeping a crawling and curious baby at bay?  All while trying to soothe your own ever-increasing urge to barf?

On the bright side, I lost 3 pounds in a day!

Aside from the pukefest, there were the inevitable awkward interpersonal shenanigans that just made the whole weekend kind of uncomfortable.  Caution, major vent sesh ahead.

My SIL and her husband (BIL) would not stop with their miserable bickering.  It was kind of my fault that they weren’t getting along to begin with.  We were talking about BIL’s little brother, and I mentioned something about the brother’s fairly unusual and newly-diagnosed medical condition.  Well, unbeknownst to me, I wasn’t supposed to know about said medical condition.  So BIL really let SIL have it about telling secrets that were not hers to tell.  Never one to leave a damsel in distress, I rushed to her defense: “To be fair, I think I heard about it from [SIL’s dad].”  And then BIL proceeded to flip out because he didn’t know that SIL had told her dad about it either.  So, yeah, I was super helpful there.

But they kept up with their fighting all weekend, and it was majorly uncomfortable.  SIL was a grumpy buttface and treated BIL like dirt, and BIL made no effort to tone down his “go fuck yourselfs” in front of us or the kids.  I have never had to change the subject so much in my life!

BIL was also weirdly combative with Hubby and me about things that just don’t matter. Like, why didn’t we have a baby gate at the top of our stairs?  What if K-Man suddenly developed a sleep walking habit and fell down the stairs in the middle of the night?  Why did K-Man’s training potty have a liftable top lid on it? What was that for?  And back when I had a job, why did I choose to eat breakfast at work instead of at home?  BIL also insisted on taking charge of the gravy for the Thanksgiving meal because “Americans don’t know how to do gravy right” (he’s from the UK).  Guys, he totally wrecked it.  It tasted like watered-down Turkey butt.  While that may be the approximate technical definition of gravy, can I kindly introduce you to my two friends, salt and butter?  I wouldn’t hold it against him if he hadn’t thrown out the whole “Americans don’t know how to…” business.

Also, K-Man and my nephew did not get along.  At all.  Which we expected because they’re both two, and when you’re two, you couldn’t give any shits about caring through sharing.  But my god, could 3 seconds go by before they were both screaming and rolling on the floor, wrestling over a stupid toy that neither one of them wanted to use only moments before?  And of course both sets of parents had to run to the rescue, and there were all kinds of awkward politics as we tried not to directly accuse the other couple’s child of being a complete asshole.

Finally, SIL and BIL just made themselves a little too at home for my taste.  The kind of petty stuff that shouldn’t bother normal people, but I have trouble letting go:

  • SIL decided it would be fun to let her son do sensory play with a bowl full of cranberries on our floor.  She made no effort to clean up or apologize when he spilled them everywhere, stepped on them, peeled them, and smushed them into our carpets.  What the fuck?
  • My nephew was completely naked from the waist down approximately 79% of the time.  Too much baby penis for me.  And maybe you could have your kid put some pants on before he rubs his bare butt all over my furniture?
  • My SIL’s bra broke and she had to borrow one of mine for the rest of the visit.  Is it just a little bit weird that she only brought one bra?

Okay okay.  Petty complaints aside, it really was good to see family for a few days.  And SIL and BIL really stepped up to the plate when Hubby and I were drowning in puke on Saturday.  My SIL even cleaned up one of K-Man’s vomit piles.  That’s the real deal.

Nevertheless, this introvert is exhausted and ready to recharge alone at home for a few days.

Until next time,

Vee

#NaBloPoMo Day 24: Let’s Go To The Mall

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving filled with warmth, family togetherness, and good food.  Now that it’s NaBloPoMo Day 24, the theme is Shopping.  Let’s go to the Mall!

Here in the States, it’s Black Friday, aka, the day of major epic awesome sales in stores nationwide.  These days, it’s not uncommon for Black Friday sales to start on the evening of Thanksgiving.  So folks will finish up their turkey dinners and head out to the stores before they even have time to button their pants back up! Ahh, I love you America.

Truthfully, I’m not much of a Black Friday shopper.  Because people are legit scary out there on this day.  Thank you, internet, for enabling me to take advantage of most Black Friday deals without having to rub elbows with the crazies.  Even though I don’t partake in Black Friday festivities, I do have the shopping bug.  Guys, I have it bad.

I get quite a rush from buying anything, whether necessary or superfluous,  practical or impractical.  Dishwasher detergent from Target? I’m delirious.  New anti-frizz product for my hair?  Yes please.  Even more new dresses for Ell-Bell?  Would love some.  Another Moleskin notebook when I already have 5 and none of them have a single page filled out? Gotta have it!

I’m guessing I inherited my shopping habits from my mom.  She’s the kind of lady who thinks she saved money when she bought something on sale that she wasn’t already planning on buying.  I mock, but here I am years later buying things from Target that I don’t need because I have a coupon for ten cents off.  Yikes. (But guys, I saved ten cents!)

As if my own shopping habits aren’t bad enough, I compounded the problem by marrying another shopaholic.  Hubby, he likes the finer things.  So while I’m out killing us financially by the nickle and dime, he’s browsing the internet for table saws, 900-fill down jackets, and pick-up trucks.

This is all pretty problematic when Hubby and I are somehow supposed to be cutting our expenses down by 75%.  So does that mean all shopping has gone out the window? Honestly, no.  Shopping has always been therapeutic for me, and I can’t bear to give it up completely.  But, I do a lot more near-buys these days.  You know, put it in your cart, walk around with it for a while, and then put it back on the shelf.  What a rush!  I’m living dangerously over here, you guys.

Until next time,

Vee

 

Thankful

Because today is about spending time with family (and stressing my way through hosting Thanksgiving), I’ll keep things brief on this 23rd day of NaBloPoMo.

When I was growing up, my family’s tradition on Thanksgiving was to go around the table and, one-by-one, say what we were each thankful for.  Probably not a very unique tradition, but it did give the day some transcendental meaning.  So in the spirit of nostalgia, here is what I am thankful for over the past year:

  • My cute kids:  Shifting from one to two kids over the past year was a lot harder than I thought it would be, but as low as some of the lows were, the highs were even higher.  I am so blessed to be able to mom these two amazing, adorable, incredible, funny, smart, CUTE FREAKING KIDS.  I need to remember how lucky I am all the time, and not just when I’m feeling sappy at Thanksgiving.
  • My husband: Hubby worked his ASS off this past year.  His 4th year of medical school, the residency interview and match process, his first year of residency.  These are things that drive normal, single medical students insane, and Hubby survived it with a crazy wife and two young kids! He is a super hero (probably sexy sexy Batman, if I get to pick).
  • Our new home: How special is it to be spending this Thanksgiving in our first very own home?  There’s a fire crackling, it’s warm, there’s family, and it smells like delicious-ish food.  This is amazing.
  • Our extended family: Because of Hubby’s crazy schedule and workload, we’ve been pretty delinquent about making the travel rounds this past year.  We are so grateful to our extended family for making the effort to come to us, they’re the real MVPs!
  • This blog: The newest member of our family, haha!  But seriously, though it has only been a month going, I am grateful for this outlet, this newfound hobby, and a few people I’ve gotten to know better through this venue.

Okay, that’s enough sap.  Happy Thanksgiving to all! Go get your Turkey (or Tofurkey) on!

Until next time,

Vee

#NaBloPoMo Day 21: Our Proposal Story

Welcome to NaBloPoMo Day 21. So what’s the theme du jour?  It’s the theme of the day!  (Raise your hand if that Dumb and Dumber quote gets you every time.). But today’s actual theme is Proposal. Yes, more mawwiage stuff.

What’s your dream proposal?  And if you’ve ever been proposed to before, did it live up to the hype?

Hubby’s first proposal to me was after just a few months of dating. “Hey, do you wanna get married so I can make more money from the Army?” I told him to shove it.

Hubby’s second proposal to me was simple but sweet. Nearly perfect.

About 5 years into our dating relationship, I knew it was coming. We were living together, we had cats, and one of my good friends had just gotten married so my marriage clock was ticking. We had been talking about the possibility for a few months, and had even been ring shopping together. (He sold his car to pay for the ring. I mean, how cute is that?)

So when Hubby asked if we could go up to Connecticut for the weekend to visit his parents, warning bells sounded in my head. Could this be it? As we took the train from NYC to New Haven, both of my parents randomly checked in on me via text and wished me a good day. Weird.  (Come to find out Hubby had asked for their respective permission before proposing, and filled them in on his plans. So they were being nosy and annoying.)

When we got to CT, Hubby’s Mom served us all lemonade in their gorgeous back yard. Then Hubby asked if we could go for a walk through the small apple orchard. As we started to stroll around, Hubby’s Dad came out to water some plants nearby, but scurried away quickly when he realized what was about to go down.

I don’t remember exactly how it happened.  I remember Hubby subconsciously kept tapping the ring box in his pocket, which was cute. I also remember I tried to hug him while we were ambling around, but he kind of stiff-armed me. He told me later he didn’t want me to feel how fast his heart was beating.

After a few moments of conversation, Hubby joked about how he had asked me this once before, but this time it was for real. And then he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It was the first time I saw the ring, and even though we discussed what I might want, it was so unexpected and breathtaking and gorgeous. One carat princess cut with two tear drop side diamonds, swoon. I still stare at it in amazement to this day.

After the proposal, I kind of fell to my knees goofily so I could be eye level with Hubby.  I felt awkward hanging out up there by myself!  But Hubby made me stand back up and accept the proposal properly.  I said yes, of course.

Then we returned to his parents’ house to share the news. And about five minutes later, I went out to the drug store to buy my first bridal magazine, because duh. And about a year later, we sealed the deal at the chapel on the campus where we went to high school together.  And a charming marriage ensued.

Until next time,

Vee

How to Discipline Your 2-Year-Old (#NaBloPoMo Day 18)

And we’re on to NaBloPoMo Day 18!  I know it’s the weekend, but I hope you’re all behaving. Today’s theme is Discipline, and things are about to get pretty stern up in here.

Let’s talk about my son K-Man.  I love him to the end of the Earth.  But the terrible twos have struck hard, and my once sweet little boy is now a bona fide ass face.  Guys, it’s so bad, so bad that I have to wonder if everything is ok.  Is this normal two-year-old stuff? Or is he going to have major behavioral issues as he ages?

The biggest problem is violence.  His body is a weapon and he knows how to use it.  He knows how to use it on the cats, his little sister, and even his poor unsuspecting parents. It’s not so much that he’s outright hitting us — he mostly knows that’s wrong, though he’s not above it when he’s delirious with exhaustion.  Instead, he’s all about crazy, uncontrolled hyper movements that he knows are going to land on an innocent bystander.  And casually bumping his little sister out of the way when she’s already teetering on her unsteady feet.  Or hugging her and then slowly pushing her to the ground. (Rage.)  Or jumping on my knee caps when I’m sitting on the ground with my legs extended. (More rage.)  Or choking Hubby out from behind.

And then you have the epic tantrums and the never ever listening when you ask him to stop doing something destructive.  All of this without an ounce of apology or empathy behind those beautiful big blue toddler eyes.  Ugh, it’s so exhausting.  And it’s constant.  And it’s been going on since well before he turned two.  And he’s almost three now.  Relief, are you out there somewhere? Are you lost? Did you get my change of address?

So what do you do when you have an extra sociopathic toddler?  How do you discipline a two-year-old?

My knee-jerk response is to say that you don’t.  Because they’re still so dumb, you guys.  They really don’t understand anything.  I mean, I’m 32 and I still haven’t fully learned how to follow rules or do the right thing, so why should I expect my toddler to?

But deep down in my heart I know that as hard as disciplining is at this age, we have to try, right? Because if we don’t, sociopathic toddlers (normal) could turn into sociopathic adults (not normal).  Yikes.

So if your kid is about to enter this charming stage of his or her life, and you’re looking for help (because I know I still am), let me give you the low down on some of the things we’ve tried with our little butthead.  Spoiler alert: most of it doesn’t work.

  • Yelling:  Nobody likes to be yelled at, so this one should discourage your kid from doing most undesirables, right? Wrong.  Toddlers are immune to yelling.  They don’t care if you scream at them until you’re red in the face.  In fact, they enjoy watching you change colors.  There is, however, one exception.  If you’re yelling at your kid in terror out of fear for his or her life — as in, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP YOU’RE ABOUT TO RUN IN FRONT OF A MOVING VEHICLE — they listen right up.  And thank god for that.  (Hmm, maybe I need to learn how to emulate that terror in my voice even when I’m just asking K-Man to get his mother effing butt off the mother effing dining table, for the last time. Gawd!)
  • Time-in:  Time-out is getting a bit of a bad rap these days, so the new hip thing to do is sit down with your child for some “time-in” — you can discuss the transgression with your kid while also keeping them company and reinforcing how much you love them.  Aww!  For a while, time-in was our jam.  If K-Man smushed his little sister one too many times, we would buckle him in to his booster seat at the table and sit next to him to talk through it.  And once K-Man had a good idea of what time-in was, we were able to use the threat of it as a deterrent.  As in, “if you smush your sister again you’re going to have to do time-in!”  Unfortunately, in recent weeks, K-Man has learned a little self-determination, and he no longer willingly goes in to his booster seat for time-in.  And since I’m not cool with physically forcing his body in half to get him to sit down, we’ve had to retire time-in to the discipline graveyard.  Boo.
  • Bribes: K-Man loves him some choc-luht, and we’re not above luring it over his fat head to get him to do something that we need him to do.  They’re just baby teeth, right?  This tactic works well for encouraging certain immediate affirmative behaviors (e.g., “if you let me brush your teeth you can have some chocolate after”), but it is less effective for discouraging prospective actions (e.g., “if you don’t do the naughty thing that I don’t know you’re about to do, you can have some chocolate”).
  • Taking Things Away:  I can’t believe how long it took me to figure this one out.  Toys? A privilege.  TV? A privilege.  If my turd of a child is acting out, I don’t have to let him keep playing with toys or watching tv! Whaaaat? This is my current discipline of choice, because it is the most effective deterrent.  “If you don’t lay down for a diaper change, I’m going to turn Moana off!” or, “If you hit your sister with that truck again, I’m going to take it away!”  Genius! Should I write a book?
  • Telling Him He’s In Trouble:  K-Man hates being in trouble, even if it comes with no real consequence.  He just cringes at the word.  So sometimes, all I have to do is tell him that if he carries on with certain behavior, he’ll be in big trouble.  Or if he’s already done the offending act, I just let him know he’s in trouble and he immediately gets majorly uncomfortable.  “No, I not in trouble, you happy mommy.”  “No, I give you a hug and then I not in trouble.”  “No, I not in big trouble, I in small trouble!”  What a dork.

 

So there you have it, my busted up list of tips and tricks for toddler discipline.  (Side note: should they really let people be parents without first passing a course in child psychology?)

The only other piece of advice I have for those maneuvering toddler discipline — and this bit is actually genuine — is to sit down and talk through strategies with your significant other.  Make sure you have a game plan, and make sure you’re on the same page.  Ideally, you would do this before your child gets to the age where they need actual disciplining.  Because the last thing you want when you’re navigating your child’s first god awful temper tantrum is to learn that your hubby doesn’t even know what time-in is.  Yikes!

Until next time,

Vee

 

Soccer Mom In the Waiting (#NaBloPoMo Day 17)

It’s the 17th day of NaBloPoMo, yo!  Since 17 has always been my jersey number, let’s talk about Sports!  And if you missed yesterday’s gut wrenching Kardashian confession, go check it out!

Hubby and I are both former athletes.  I say former because these days we gym 1-2 times a week and rock some epic mom and dad bods.  But back in the day, I was pretty serious about soccer.  And Hubby played squash like a pro.  (If you don’t know about squash, it’s just this silly little New England sport that is the same thing as racquet ball.)

Because athletics were such an integral part of my youth, I can’t imagine my kids not sharing that same passion.  And if there’s anything I love more than my own children, it’s spectating sports, so they better be ready to put on a show!

And you know what? I don’t even care that kids suck horribly at sports for the first few years.  Trust me, I am not picky about the quality of my sport spectating.  If there’s a competition, a winner and a loser, I’m into it! And if there’s a snack bar selling nachos nearby, I’ve basically died and gone to heaven.

Since my kids are not quite at the team sports age yet, for now all I can do is watch them eagerly to try and discern where their respective talents lie.  K-Man is all about kicking the cats and body-checking his little sister, so maybe soccer is in his future?  Honestly I’d prefer he take up tennis because I really want him to turn pro and take me to Wimbledon every year, but that’s a bit of a pipe dream.  As for Ell-Bell — beautiful, 95th-percentile-in-weight Ell-Bell — she’s got sumo wrestler or shot putter written all over her.

I suppose I do need to prepare myself for the possibility that my kids won’t want to play sports.  Wow, I just broke into a cold sweat writing that.  But seriously, whatever they throw at me (figuratively speaking, in this scenario), I’ll be ok.  Right?

Until next time,

Vee