Category Archives: Gray Hair

Big Changes Brewing

This next few weeks are shaping up to be the most tumultuous of Mason’s short little life.

At the end of the month, his bff is leaving our childcare program to attend 4k in his own school district and a daycare closer to home. He and Mason have played together basically every day since they were infants. I really cannot even think too hard about how sad Mason is going to be about this without tearing up myself. Mason still is regularly sad about another close friend (Cara) who left the center in June and currently cries if he knows ahead of time A won’t be at school that day. My heart hurts for him already and they still have a few more weeks together.

The following week, Mason will start 4k. He will board a bus every morning full of school kids and attend school at the elementary school from 8:00 – 11:15 Monday through Thursday and then return to daycare for the afternoon. He is SO excited about riding the bus and going to “big school.” We’ve arranged for him to attend morning classes so might have a chance to see Cara during group activities.

We’re considering changing child care centers and if this happens, we hope to line it up with the upcoming changes above. This is a hard move to consider since he’s been with the same center since he was 9 weeks old and a lot of those girls have had a huge hand in raising him. On the other hand, they’ve had a huge amount of turnover, poor communication, issues with bullying, and the list goes on and on. No center is perfect and we will genuinely miss some of the staff if he does go somewhere else, but there have been a few too many issues to keep looking the other way. If the change goes through, he’ll be home on some Fridays with SuperDad, which he will love. The new center also has a lot of kids that have moved on from the same childcare center we’re currently at, so there will be several familiar faces there.

Part of me thinks we’re nuts for considering throwing so much at him at once, but the other part of me thinks that some of the transition will go better if he’s immersed in a bunch of new things instead of having one thing change one week and then a week later something else and then the next week something else. Rip the bandaid off all at once, right?

Decisions like this are definitely NOT my favorite part of parenting.

What big parenting decisions have you made lately?

My Three Year Old Is Braver Than Me. And You. And Everyone Else.

When we went on vacation, one of the things I was really looking forward to doing was the Northern Lights Ropes Course. Basically, this is an obstacle course of sorts where you’re walking on swinging bridges, balance beams, tightropes, stairs, etc, all 30+ feet above the ground. I’ve seen a variety of activities like this on TV over the years and the  people who braved these things always seem so proud that they did something out of their comfort zone and I wanted that to be me even though I have the world’s worst balance.

So we get to Wilderness and my mind is made up. I’m going to do the ropes course. My husband thinks I’m nuts and when it gets to be time to do it, Mason wants to do it too. Well, like I said, I have ZERO balance and really wasn’t comfortable with the idea of being in charge of Mason while I was clinging for my life 30 feet above the ground (even though I would be harnessed, I know that wasn’t turning me into an Olympic gymnast in the balance department) so SuperDad elected to go as well.

Knowing we were first timers, a course guide went before Mason to help us get started. Then Mason went and then SuperDad. And you guys? I saw my little 35 pound son, my only child, walking across a rope 30 feet in the air and I almost puked all over. I didn’t even step foot on the first rope before going “Uh uh. No way. NOT going to happen,” I stared for a while and then had the person take my safety gear off so I could go watch my family die have fun.

ropescourse4(This one gives you a better idea how high up above the ground they were)

I got out my camera and start taking pictures – mainly of Mason and the ropes course instructor and a few of my husband, who looked as swooshy as my stomach felt. (I’m doing him a favor and not posting any of those pictures!) To make a long story (slightly) short(er), SuperDad went over three obstacles and then spent the next 15 minutes working his way back to the beginning point and Mason? Well, Mason and the course guide did every obstacle. Some of them multiple times. The guy was FANTASTIC with Mason and let him pick where he wanted to go next and WALKED BACKWARD and held Mason’s hand on the harder stuff.

ropescourse3Occasionally Mason would catch sight of me and call “Hi Mommy!” and give me a big smile and a thumbs up, and then it was back to business.They stayed out there the full half an hour and left no obstacle unturned.

ropescourse2
(I’m so bummed this picture is so blurry, but I was still trying not to vomit at this point LOL)

ropescourse7

As I walked around to get pictures from a better angle, I saw people everywhere stopping and commenting on my tiny little Mason out there, braver than could be. Fingers pointing, crowds gathering, everyone wanted to watch the little kid going with insane confidence over the course.  It was a sight to behold and I still can’t really believe he did it, especially after we BOTH bailed on him!

ropescourse1

So yeah, my (then) 3 year old is MUCH braver than his Mom and Dad.

ropescourse6

 *This post was NOT sponsored by Wilderness Resort. They did provide a free one night stay for my family but our time on the ropes course (or lack there of) was entirely my own idea*

 

 

Insurance Appeal

For those of you who are new around here, when Mason was a baby, he had plagiocephaly and issues with a tight neck muscle (torticollus)

We spent six months doing stretches, physical therapy, and all sorts of repositioning, only to have him end up in a cranial orthotic (aka a helmet) to help correct his very asymmetric headshape. Our insurance refused to cover the helmet, saying that yes, his head wasn’t correctly shaped, but by their definition, it had to be a liiittttle bit worse for them to cover a helmet.

We ended up paying for his helmet out of our pocket with plans to appeal their decision down the road. You know, when we had more time, when I could do more research, when I collected one more doctor’s letter, etc etc.

Well, now it’s three years later and our window for appealing is coming to a close.

Right before Christmas, I discovered that our insurance policy had updated their requirements for cranial orthotics and by their current definition, Mason’s helmet should have been more than covered.

Tomorrow (Thursday) morning, I have a hearing with our insurance’s board of appeals. It’s our last chance at possibly getting back thousands of dollars that, if you ask me, should have been covered in the first place.

Wish us luck please. #fingerscrossed

Voting with a Three Year Old

Today we had a special election in our school district to vote on whether or not to spend 20 million dollars to replace our 100+ year old elementary school and create new sporting fields in our community. I served on the committee that was given the task of feeling out what the community felt about the proposal and what they were hoping for in a new school. On the handful of nights we had meetings, Mason knew I was “at a meeting to talk about his new school” and he’d even asked me questions about how the school was going to be built so it wouldn’t fall down. (Oh, the worries of a three year old!)

I picked him up at daycare when I got done with work and headed to our polling location. As we drove there, I told him that we were going to vote before heading home. He asked what that was and I said “Mommy is going to go press a button on a computer that tells people whether or not we think we should build a new school here. Because it’s the community’s money, everyone gets to say whether we think it’s a good idea or not and whichever side has the most yeses or no’s, that is what will happen” I then explained to him that he needed to be quiet in the buidling and it would be real quick, yada yada.

We go in the building, he’s quiet waiting in line. I sign the form and he’s quiet and patient. As he holds my hand, I’m pretty sure everyone around me is impressed by how quiet and cute my adorable son is.

And then we walk up to the polling computer…

Mason, NOT whispering by any means – “Mommy, are you telling that computer if I should get a new school or not?!”

Me: “Yes, Mason, you need to be quiet, I’ll be done in a second!”

Mason, louder: “Mommy, don’t say no!!!”

Me: “Mason, shhhhh!”

Mason, VERY loud: “Did you say no??! I hope you didn’t say no!!!”

I quickly ushered him out of there, hoping no no voters were chasing us and as we left, he announced “I really want a new school! I’m a BIG KID!!”

Next time, maybe I’ll wait to explain the election contents until AFTER I’m done voting and out of the building….

Lazy Bones

Over the past six months, we’ve started wondering if Mason is… how do we put this kindly? A bit lazy.

This boy hates walking anywhere. If we try to take a family walk around the block, he’s asking to be carried when we’re less than half way. If we’re shopping somewhere, he asks to ride in a cart instead of walking. Even when we’re somewhere fun where he’s having a good time, after a short while he’ll start whining that he’s tired and he wants to be carried. And if you don’t carry him? Total meltdown which involves screaming about how his feet or legs hurt and he just cannot go on. Totally embarrassing.

Last month, we told him that we would all need to start taking long walks together as a family to get “in shape” so we could walk a lot on Halloween night for trick-or-treating. His response? If he couldn’t ride on Daddy’s shoulder’s, he didn’t want to go trick-or-treating. (Picture my jaw hitting the floor here)

He will more than happily run and play in the yard for hours or ride his bike for a couple of miles. But expect him to walk any distance and he’s complaining within a few minutes.

He has good (high quality brand name) shoes and we’ve tried MULTIPLE pairs to make sure it isn’t a comfort issue. We’ve tried bribing and we’ve repeatedly flat out refused to carry him to make sure it isn’t a power struggle thing and it doesn’t seem to be – he seriously seems convinced that his feet and legs hurt. But never ever complains about such a thing at daycare or while running and playing in the yard. So yeah, I think he’s just tired and tired = “Oh, it hurts!”

Has anyone else ever dealth with a toddler that doesn’t like to walk? What’s a REASONABLE amount of walking to expect a 3 1/2 year old to do? Maybe I’m off base here!  I don’t need to him to walk a 5k with me or anything, but being able to walk around for 20 minutes at an event or in the mall would be nice. Thoughts?

The Problem With Toys

As is the case with 99% of families I know, we have a serious problem at our house.

Mason has TOO MANY TOYS.

Seriously, we never intended it to be like this – our house looks like a toy store exploded and picking up every night takes longer than one DVRed sitcom. Grandma buys him a new toy EVERY SINGLE WEEK (and yes, we’ve talked to her again and again). It’s like they’re multiplying while we sleep. The dog and husband are ALWAYS tripping over toys (me, I look where I walk) and this insanity needs to end.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about how kids who have fewer toys tend to use their imaginations more, play longer with the same items (instead of bouncing from toy to toy), struggle less with picking up when they’re done playing, and take better care of their stuff. Don’t those all sound like a much better alternative to buying a third toybox?

Well it just so happens that the huge fall consignment sale is in a few weeks. Perfect timing, right?! I went into this with big plans to purge purge purge.

Only, I’m coming up blank.

Yes, Mason still has toys that he is way too old for. I’m looking at you, ball popper and ride-on zebra. Except, he plays with these things ALLLL the time. He sobbed and cried for two hours when I tried to give away the ball popper a few months ago. I can’t see selling something he’s so attached to.

ballpopper

He has 6 fire trucks. No kid needs 6 fire trucks, he only has two hands for pete’s sake! Well, he makes fire truck fleets. They work together and put out fires and pull the bus out of the ditch. Every fire truck has a job. So no go with the fire trucks.

firetruck

Okay, so he has like 15 monster trucks. Again, two hands, 15 trucks…. Well, he lines them all up and they jump over one another, crash into each other, different days he plays with different trucks. And he knows which ones he has, so I don’t think I could sneak some away.

I have a HUGE bag of  MegaBlocks that I got at Goodwill for a killer deal. He wasn’t too interested in them the last time we had them out (which was at least 7 months ago – my fault) and I feel like these are a no brainer to get rid of. Only, what if this winter he’s ALL ABOUT building stuff with blocks and I end up having to spend $40 on something I use to have in the basement and only paid $8 for. I feel like I’m saving money by hanging on to these.

We do the toy rotation thing. Things go in the basement and new toys come up. A lot of the stuff (like his toy kitchen) he asks for again and again. Obviously, the toy kitchen shouldn’t go anywhere, even though it’s been in the basement for a month. But what about the stuff he doesn’t ask about? Well, when he goes to the basement and sees those toys, he’s like a kid on Christmas – super excited to see his truck/tractor/toy that has been off rotation and begs to bring it upstairs.

So how the heck do I eliminate toys? What do I sell? I realize he’s three and I’m the boss, but the soft-hearted mom in me doesn’t want to get rid of stuff that would make him cry if it was gone. The thrifty person inside of me doesn’t want to get rid of stuff that I might want to re-buy down the line. I really don’t feel like he has any toys that he’s not interested in, but since he has SO MANY TOYS that doesn’t seem possible, does it?

How do you decide what stays and what goes? Is there an age where you say “You shouldn’t play with X anymore?” How do you convince people to STOP BUYING YOUR KID stuff? How many toys is too many? Do you rotate toys? How do you decide if a toy is “unused” and when it’s time to get rid of it? I would LOVE people’s feedback on this issue!

My Mother’s Words Come Back to Haunt Me

When I was younger and being particularly bratty, my mom would say something along the lines of “I can’t wait until you have kids and they act like this! Then you’ll see!” and all I would do was roll my eyes.

The scene would usually be something like this – we lived in the sticks (still do!) and my mom would drive an hour to take me on an awesome shopping trip. We’d spend the whole day going from store to store, buying most anything I asked for, eating where I wanted to eat, and having the whole trip be mainly about me me me. Then, we’d get in the car to go home and a magical switch would flip and I’d become a nasty eye-rolly pre-teen who would do nothing but snap at my mom, or possibly worse, just grunt in response to her attempts at conversation. And then she’d pull out the “We’ve had such a nice day! Why do you have to act like this and ruin it?” Which would make me angry and the whole situation worse. Then the “I just can’t wait until you have kids of your own. You’ll see then!” would come out, which made ZERO sense to my young self and drove me NUTS.

Fast forward 20 years and I sure understand that now! Lately, it seems like the MORE fun I have with Mason and the bigger and the funner (yes, it’s a word, go with me on this) his day is, the more absolutely out-of-his-mind naughty at the end of the day he is. Saturday we spent several hours at the lake and I’ve never seen him smile more. It was pure magic. Two hours after we got home, we were BOTH doing nothing but yelling and crying. Sunday we spent the day at a fair and later that night I was tempted to lock him in his room until bedtime as one never ending time-out. (Don’t worry, I didn’t)

I caught myself saying/thinking “Mason, we’ve had SUCH a fun day today. Remember how fun it was? Why do you have to act like this and ruin such a nice day?” And instantly, all the memories of the smiles and laughs earlier in the day were tainted by the awful end of the day – the whining, the crying, the total 180 in attitude….

And at that moment, I fully understood just what my mom meant all those years ago.

Don’t worry, I fully understand that Mason’s bad end of the day behavior is 70% pure exhaustion and 30% threenager. That doesn’t meant it doesn’t suck after a fun day though!

And Mom… I hope you’re happy now. LOL

So how about you, have you ever had your parents’ words come back to haunt you?

Last Day as a Two Year Old!

I really can’t believe it’s already here.

Today, Friday the 15th of March, is Mason’s last day as a two year old. Tomorrow? I will officially have a THREE year old!

I have to admit, the entire time I was pregnant and then after Mason was born, I pictured his first time rolling over, his first time sitting up, when he would begin to crawl, when he’d start to talk, walk, run, play with trucks, etc etc etc, but I never pictured having a kid who was THREE YEARS OLD.

Where has the time gone?!

Leaving the hospital.Newborn MasonMason on the beach.After Swimming6

Birthday Theme Conundrum

I’m far from a Pinterest Mom. I don’t craft. I can’t color coordinate. Heck, I’m pretty sure Mason would make less of a mess with any of these objects than I would: scissors, glue, glitter, paint, tissue paper, tape, and popsicle sticks.

Being a blogger, you see “everyone else’s” birthday parties. You know, the kind where every member of the family has matching shirts, the kids have custom ordered custom embroidered outfits (possibly multiple which they change throughout the party) and every single item of food has adorable decorations and matches an original non-store bought theme.

Not us – the closest I’ve come to that is last year when Mason had Yo Gabba Gabba birthday invitations and also Yo Gabba Gabba balloons. Anything beyond that? Just doesn’t seem to work out for me. I am not crafty (and after 30 years, I’ve decided that this is okay – it’s not a skill I NEED, although it would be handy at times) and I’m also too cheap to shell out $30 on a shirt that will make sense for like two days and another $50 on adorable, but one time use decorations. Sorry Mason.

But, that doesn’t mean I still don’t want a theme. SuperDad thinks it’s silly since it’s just a family party anyway, but I like themes because looking back, it will help us remember what he was into at this age AND when we’re having a party for him, it only makes sense that he be surrounded by his favorite things.

With his birthday less than three weeks away, I have yet to mail invitations out as I haven’t picked a theme.

The possibilities include:
Mickey Mouse
Tractors
Trucks Stuck in the Mud
Doc McStuffins
Chuggington

I think he’d get the biggest kick out of the top three, but I am really NOT a big Mickey fan (I think SuperDad already vetoed it as well LOL) and I have no clue how to pull off Trucks Stuck in the Mud, although it would make the birthday cake really easy this year.

So, goal for this week – pick a theme and order/mail out invitations. I’m running out of time!

And as for you, friends, reassure me that I’m not the only one who isn’t a “I began handcrafting decorations four months in advance” mom out there….

Parenting is Hard

Today was just one of those days for me…

One of those days where the toddler pees on the carpet more than he pees in the potty

Where the screams (from both parties unfortunately) outnumber the hugs

Where every food offered and suggested is met with an angry “No! No like  it!”

Where an entire box of crackers is dumped out behind the couch…

And an entire bucket of water out of the bathtub

Where the toddler hits the dog and pulls the cat’s tail… even though he knows better

Where an usually early wake up and an all too common late bedtime are not my friends

Where I spend way too much time whining on Twitter

Where I could vacuum another dozen times and the carpet still wouldn’t feel clean

Where dragging all the pots out of the cupboard and all the DVDs out of the entertainment stand is actually allowed just because it means just ten minutes of peace

Where the time outs are so many that count is lost

Where even the sweet demands from my beloved pets get on my nerves

Where the bedtime countdown has started by lunch

And I find myself wishing that I was a “glass of wine to take the edge off” person

A day where I feel like such a shitty parent

For the yelling

For the lack of patience

The lack of crafts

The counting of minutes

Wanting to run away. Or take a nap. Or even read a book.

Parenting is so freaking hard sometimes.

Tomorrow will be better, right?

This time last year – A Day in the Life of Joe / Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Two years ago – A Wee Bit Angry / Where is My Good Sleeper?