Saturday, September 26, 2009

My daughter, oh she is 13...I mean 5

They say girls are made of sugar, spice and everything nice... did they decide to not mention that sassy, head strong and well something else isn't also in that mix??!!

Don't get me wrong, there really is nothing like a little girl (okay so my 16 month old son really does crack me up...)that is until they hit 5 and all of sudden you are seeing a preview of the teenage years. This is a preview through that I would like to fast forward through through!

My Stella Bella is amazing, kind hearted, fun to hang out with and really knows how to pull on my heart strings like a trained musician! Since the day she was born I knew she was going to be a force to be reckoned with. Gee...I wonder if it could of been the fact that after being at the hospital for almost 3 days that it took the doctor saying "this could lead to a c-section" for her to decide 2 hours later to come on out. Or could it have been when her prized stuffed animal "pengy" was lost at daycare and I decided that telling her that he went to the North Pole to help Santa Claus would be a good excuse for his disappearance. She responded with "whatever helps you sleep at night Mommy". Yeah she was 3... Oh and don't get me started on the sweater that she wore every day for close to 5 months during the dead of summer. She wore the damn thing to bed. Her teachers laughed that she would probably be wearing it over her ballet costume at the recital...could you imagine?? I really think the last month of "stripes" life, she wore it to piss me off!

All of this should have prepared me for the sassy 5's right??!!. I don't think anything could have prepared me though. Stella has always been an old school....I guess I was just hoping that meant she was an old soul at the age of 20. But nope, I think we are stuck with an old soul at the age of 13!

I know there have been many changes over the last year. New little brother, mommy crying a lot after new little brother was born, litte brother getting bigger and getting lots of laughs. Not to mention the biggest change of them all....leaving the bubble of Young Life (our daycare for close to 3 years) and entering Kindergarten.

From the outside she has put on a good show through these changes and many have said she has dealt with it all flawlessly. Underneath it all I think some of the talking back and sassy behavior have stemmed from those changes. Okay so maybe I just came up with that rational....

I sympathize with her, but let me tell you when she flips that hair, puts the hands on the hips and says "well Mommy..." I want to say "hey, where is that little girl that could barely say Momma.."

So you have the attitude and the eyes rolling and now throw in the things that come out of her mouth! (not bad words...well okay her first word was shit...but she used it perfectly and in the right content...back to the blog..) The other day on her daily progress report her teacher wrote "we are amazed with Stella's vocabulary". Okay, so you would think "wonderful, awesome!". Nope...we just looked at each other and said "Oh God, what did she say?!!"

During our Parent/ Teacher conference the teacher said "well you know she is a chatty cathy so we don't need to go over that..." I shrunk in my chair (not a hard task though when you are sitting in a Kindergartners chair) ready to hand over my Mommy card. She then expressed what a confident, bright little girl she that point I was ready to hand over that Mommy card for a "way to go" punch. Oh and b/c she came out of my body (days and days...oh sorry already mentioned that.." I get to talk about me and not the fact that my awesome hubby deserves equal credit!

So I guess the ups and downs and the sassy attitude are just part of a 5 year olds make up and I need to just buck up and just deal with it instead of bitching about it...

On that note, I will go make that phone call to my parents and apologize once again for anything that I may have done as a 5 year old...heck for anything I have done over the last 38 years!

Just think though...there is a poor little boy out there just innocently climbing a tree or playing with his toys not even imaging that one day he will meet Stella Bella....he is in for an adventure!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How Facebook Saved My Sanity

How Facebook Saved My Sanity

Hi. My name is Alysia, and I am addicted to Facebook. I’m not ashamed of it. In fact, I’ll share it with the world. I don’t care what any of you Facebook “haters” think. I am happy that I am celebrating my one year anniversary on the website this week (yes, I know exactly when I joined). I am convinced that Facebook saved my sanity this year.

Like many people, I was a skeptic. A social networking site? Isn’t that for 20 year olds to share pictures of themselves drinking? I was a thirty-six year old stay at home mother of two, seven months pregnant with my third boy. I certainly didn’t fit the profile of what I though a Facebook user was. Do I want the world to know all about me? And do I want to know all about the world? A friend of mine convinced me to check it out. She had just come back from her 20 year high school reunion, and said how amazing it was to have connected with all these people again through Facebook. So online I went. Just to see.

And so began my entry into the world of the Facebook. Status updates, quizzes, profile pictures, “friending” people…it was completely mind-boggling and confusing at first. But I couldn’t turn away. My 20th high school reunion was being planned on Facebook. Over 50 people that I went to high school with (and who I hadn’t spoken to in 20 years) were in this group, and I “friended” them all. Friends of mine from college had profiles, friends I used to work with, members of my family…I couldn’t believe it. I “friended” everyone and e-mailed friends of mine who weren’t on Facebook to tell them they needed to be a part of this. Before long, I fit right in - taking quizzes, posting status updates, and sharing photos of my family with all of my new friends. I was sucked into this new world like a mosquito to a bug zapper.

In late October, about two months after I signed on for the first time, I had my third baby boy. I was not prepared for the complete isolation that having a winter baby in New England would bring. My first two kids were both spring babies, and as hard as those first few months with them were, we were still able to get out and go for walks, or go to the store or just be out and about . It was a particularly cold and miserable winter here in Massachusetts, and if I wasn’t at the bus stop, we didn’t go anywhere. I had groceries delivered so we wouldn’t have to all go out to the store. We didn’t go out for many playdates or have anyone over. It got worse when the baby got sick in February - I was so afraid of his getting any germs that we stayed tied to the house. I was going out of my mind, and so were the kids.

Enter Facebook. My daily “conversations” with my Facebook friends saved me. When I was having a particularly rough day, my friends encouraged me to hang in there, sharing their own stories of a tough winter. When my husband had pneumonia three weeks after the baby was born, they were there with sympathy. When the baby got sick with bronchialitis, they were there to cheer me up. When I had questions about his acid reflux or his continuous ear infections, they were there to remind me it would all be ok. When I was home alone with all three kids while my husband was away on business, they all chimed in with stories of their own about being alone, and how they survived. And I did the same for them. It was my social network - albeit a virtual one - that got me through those tough days. The best part is that most of these “friends” were just that - already friends. They knew me, and I knew them. We were rediscovering each other in a whole new way, helping each other out as if we lived next door. I never would have gotten through the winter and spring without them.

I have friends who live down the street, and friends who live halfway across the world. I have friends who have known me since I was five, and friends who I’ve just met. I have 36 members of my family on Facebook, including my mother, brother, sister, and sister-in-law. Friends I play Scrabble with, friends who I chat with late at night and early in the morning. Friends whose advice I seek out, and friends whose advice makes me laugh. Friends whose successes I help celebrate - new jobs, new marriages, new relationships, new family members - successes that I would not have known about without being on this website.

My brother the psychologist told me that he thought Facebook was the soap opera of our generation. At first I bristled at this - soap opera? What is he talking about? But his point is valid - soap operas provide a daily connection to people’s lives, usually in an exaggerated way that make the viewer feel better about their own (usually more boring) life. The shows give the viewer a story to follow, people to relate to, something to look forward to every day. For me, that was Facebook. It was my connection to other people’s stories, other people’s lives. Before signing on, I had lost my identity as a person. I was Mom to my kids. After Facebook, I was more social then ever. I felt like me again. People cared about my opinions. It felt nice.

It’s the end of summer, and I find myself needing Facebook a little less than I did before. We’re able to get out more, I’m more sure of myself as a mother of three now, and I’m not feeling as needy as I did last year at this time. However, I’m still on several times a day - posting my status update, commenting on my friend’s pictures, losing at Scrabble. With these connections, I’m a much better wife, mother, daughter and friend because I am getting the social outlet I need. I can do it at times when the kids don’t need me and I don’t even have to leave the house. I am looking forward to more years with my “friends” on Facebook, and maybe I can help them in the same way they did for me. I’m hopelessly addicted to it, and I’m a better person because of it.

Just don’t try to get me on Twitter.


Transitions – I have been thinking a lot about them this week. With the changing of the seasons, it is hard not to. We have been doing a lot of transitioning lately, some has been hard, some not so hard. It is just hard when so many seem to be happening all at the same time. Ultimately I know that these are changes that most people go through and that they will all be for good. I just needed a few moments of reflection on some of them.
The most obvious and biggest transition for us is that Sarah is now going to school 5 days a week from 9:30 to 2:30. She absolutely loves it. She runs into her classroom each morning and sits down at the table to do puzzles or whatever table time activity they may be doing that day. She is so anxious to get started most mornings that she runs in and sits down without taking her backpack off. I stand in the door and remind her to go hang it up. She gets so engrossed with her activity that sometimes she doesn't even look up as I leave. This has left me with mixed emotions. For one thing, she has always been like this. She has never been a clingy child, much to my shgrin, but this is the first time that she has ever been away from me for so long. I sometimes wish she would just miss me a little bit more. On the other hand, it fills me with such joy and amazement at how well she is doing in school. She is certainly thriving and she never ceases to amaze me. She is making friends and learning new things all the time. She is going to be ready for kindergarten with no problems. She is so confident, she just runs into new situations full steam ahead. It fills me awe and I'm so incredibly proud of her. She could just miss me a little bit more.
Because of Sarah's new school schedule, another transition is that I am spending a lot more one on one with Emma. Although Em really misses Sarah sometimes I think that Emma is really thriving too. We have been going to the playground, the library, story time at the mall and at the end of October we start a Mommy and Me gymnastics class. I'm having a lot of fun being with her and doing these things. I wasn't really able to do many of these things with Sarah because we already had Emma. It is a bit lonelier that it was with Sarah though because she had a strong playgroup. I see Emma's confidence building as she starts to participate in the activities. She is talking a lot more and she also amazes me on a daily basis. We are working on potty training, so hopefully soon we will not have any diapers left in the house. And very soon we are going to take down the crib and get Em a big girl bed.
My girls have transitioned from being babies and toddlers into 2 big girls. No more babies around here, so we have been starting to give away baby things. When I first gave away a bin of 0-3m clothes, I cried and cried. Seth and I talked and talked about it and we both decided that our family was complete now. I love our life and yet I still feel a twinge when I see a little baby. I think about our baby that never was and how different our lives would be if he had lived. As hard as my pregnancies were, I really loved being pregnant and I loved having a little baby around. I know that I can't keep everything forever, we don't have the storage space and I know other people can put it all to good use. This transition has been especially hard for me, but we have given away the maternity clothes, the exersaucer, swings and bouncy seats. The last item we just gave away was our double stroller and the bucket car seat. We have transitioned out of baby mode and now have room for the big girl bikes and scooters and anything else they might get into.
Giving away these things is really what got me started thinking about all the changes that are going on right now. It is what made me realize that my girls are really growing up now. I no longer have toddlers in our house. I love our life. I love watching the girls play together and I love that they can walk and don't need to be carried all the time. Can't wait for Emma to be really potty trained, so no more diapers. This is such an exciting time with the girls, they are at such an amazing stage of life and I want to give them the best. I'm so proud to be their mother. They are 2 exceptional little girls and I can't wait to see what they do next.
These changes keep us moving forward and making our family better and stronger. I'm sure that next fall I will have more anxiety about the next set of transitions. Sarah will be going to kindergarten and Em will start pre-school. And who knows what I will end up doing. That is what is exciting about transitions, you never quite know what is going to happen. Life is good!!