Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Revolving Door of Motherhood

I admit wholeheartedly that I had a very hard time adjusting to motherhood. Hell, I'm still adjusting and I'm toting around a full-fledged toddler with another one on the way.

I have always loved children, but it's easy to love kids when they go home with someone else at the end of the day. But when you have your own, it opens up a regular Pandora's box full of issues that never ONCE crossed your mind. Vaccinations? Illnesses? Poop? Babysitters?Circumcision? Potty Training? The list goes on. But for me, the hardest part so far has been dealing with the constant changes that occur within my daughter and disrupt common order and peace-harmony-love in my household.

It's life twisted game. Once they finally conquer a milestone, another one waits on the other side. And it's always worse. Like "yay, she's sleeping through the night but now she won't eat a damn thing."


It is only now that I feel any level of comfort when it comes to the major areas of my child's life, and even so, things continue to change even faster than I can comprehend. The only difference is that I can't blame those things on teething.

Just when you get to a point where she's sleeping, eating, pooping, and playing in some type of regular pattern, something else goes totally South.

Let's face it. Routine and predictability breed comfort and comfort breeds happiness. Change can be scary for even the most adventurous of folks. Moving to a new place, taking a new job, and even eating at a new restaurant can wreak havoc amongst even the most sane of adults. So, when I became a mother and realized that my daughter would sleep through the night for 2
weeks, and then she would be teething and back I was, sleeping in the rocking chair with her attached to my boob, I freaked out. Or when she would be eating anything and everything until another tooth would cut, and back I was, feeding her frozen peas and grapes, I would

Louder than she ever could.

I was so attached to my little achievements -- those little moments of sanity and order -- that when they were turned upside down on a very frequent basis, I was up in arms, pulling my hair out, and wondering why the hell I was given a child.

I'd read 14 baby books, engage in way too many Google searches, and sit for hours on the message boards hoping someone would have the answer.

But no one ever did.

I finally realized that I'm dealing with a rapidly growing little human who is learning new and exciting skills each day. And no book or Google search can take away the change and disorder that comes with having a kid.

So, I rejoice in those little moments of restfulness and ease that come my way, and then try to remember, when they are seemingly erased in a matter of minutes, that the door of motherhood is always revolving. And while that may be a pain in my ass right now at least I know it's
moving and it won't be stopped in the land of tantrum-sassy-time-out-nap-fighting for long. And, I'll be able to walk through that door again to see what adventures (hopefully independent poops in the potty) lie on the other side.

*Kristen is a stay-at-home-mother to a toddler and another one on the way. She's currently trying to maintain her sanity while living at her in-laws. Yes. It's pretty bad. Come visit Kate there today. And stay for the craziness. Click here to learn more about The Blog Exchange.*

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Holiday Wrap Up

Well it was another stellar holiday gathering with the in-laws this year. Randomly aged kids running around with new toys, an 81 year old crazy (as in senility) MIL calling me an idiot, and no alcohol being served to dull my senses. All of my immediate family is out of state, so each holiday is spent with my husband's side of the family, because I have no interest anymore in shlepping 600 miles east to fight holiday traffic and bad weather. So there were far too many people crammed into a small living, under a sea of ripped wrapping paper with squealing kids lost in its waves. My sons received way too many generous gifts as usual. And even though I had planned on putting my foot down about not spending money on gifts for the nieces and nephews, the guilt weighed heavily on me Christmas morning as we were packing to go, and as we all got in the car for our 2 hour journey to my SIL's house up north, I scrambled to make payable 8 checks in the names of Lauren, Alex, Lizzie, Ian, Mandy and Nick. They were the only nieces and nephews we were seeing in person, and the thought of not showing up with at least something in hand was beyond my comprehension.

We stayed at a hotel that night, so after all the festivities at my SIL's, all the kids went swimming in the indoor pool. After a terrifying underwater dunk by his cousin, CJ wanted to get out, which was fine because it was really late by this time. All was well until the middle of the night when CJ was burning up with a fever, then shortly thereafter the next day developed a terrible honking cough. After a trip to the doctor yesterday, it was determined he has the flu. Poor bugger lied around all day yesterday, and when I left him this morning as I went to work, he was still sleeping. You know he's sick when he hasn't lifted a finger to play with his brand new remote control train. And not to sound like one of those annoying "my kids are perfect!" type moms, but CJ is hardly ever sick. Outside of a cold here and there, and maybe a spell of diarrhea, this is the first bad illness he's had in about 3 years. And it also happened to be the flu the day after Christmas in 2003. It must be all the excitement that builds up and then his immune system just crashes. Now, we're focused on getting him better and trying to keep the baby from getting sick. Not to mention ourselves. I'm taking about 3 echinecea pills a day right now. I've sworn by that stuff for years. (knock on wood)

Other than that, I have total writer's block and haven't had one insightful thought that I felt compelled to write down in days. Too much confusion, too little sleep and not enough time to breathe. But slowly starting to exhale. There's a whole new year to be thinking about.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday

Originally uploaded by katebunge.
Dear Dad,

It's been a long time since we spent time together, just chatting or sharing
artwork creations, or watching bugs bunny on Saturday monrings. I spent
only 16 years of my life with you, and July 3, 1987 seems like an eternity
ago. It took a decade for me to realize that being the only family member
to share the last days of your life, and subsequently find you after your
passing, was not a curse, but a gift. Back in those days, we had no idea
that the night we spent on the cruise around the Hudson River, under the
awesome display of Lady Liberty, that it would have been our last special
moment together. You were so full of life, although inside your heart was
slowly dying. A mere 36 hours later, and I would be sobbing over my loss.
And at the time, it was MY loss, not yours. Too young to realize what a loss
you suffered, it wasn't until my mid-twenties, while aspiring toward my
own careers goals in New York that I realized that it was not I who had
suffered such a loss, it was you. You were only 49 years old. With so
much life ahead of you. You missed out on the birth of all of your
grandchildren, the weddings of all your children, and golden years with
your wife. So on this Christmas day, what would have been your 69th
birthday, I wish you Happy Birthday to let you know that you are still
sorely missed and the wound in my heart for you, I fear, will never truly
heal. Love, Kate


I wanted to remember my dad this Christmas Day and encourage
anyone else to remember a loved one this holiday. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

My 100th Post

I'd like to share with everyone how fortunate I feel to have found such a welcoming, friendly, warm, and hilarious online community as the blogosphere I joined a mere 5 months ago. I never knew such a "sphere" existed, and that I would have so much fun. I've always loved to write. And having this blog is so cathartic for me, that no one will ever know the extent to which it has changed my life. As we come close to beginning a new year, I will remember 2006 as the year I met the best writers on the web (see blogroll at right). You have provided me countless hours of giggles and support and made me feel like I am not alone. I started this blog as a way to feel a little less alone in the world as I was weaning my son, and feeling a lot of emotions over whether I should stop pumping milk at work, and all of you have helped me to realize we are all mothers, friends, neighbors, providers, women, daughters, wives, and we are more alike than we are different. So thanks to everyone for making my year.

So, OK, enough with the sappy stuff. It's not my last post of the year, but I also want to highlight some of my successes. Like writing one of the favorite posts from this month's blog exchange! And by request from at least one commenter, here are a couple of the pictures I shot in Vermont with my trusty 35mm SLR Pentax film camera.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Don't Mind the Tent in my Living Room

(Cue Jaws theme or Psycho, whichever menacing theme music you prefer): Just when you think it's safe to open packages in the mail with Christmas gifts inside from relatives, you open up the package from your brother in Wisconsin and find this: (And no, those aren't my kids playing gleefully inside the tent). This thing is HUGE, people. I live in a small 2 bedroom townhouse. This thing takes up half my living room. What did I ever do to my brother that I deserve this?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Card Reality Check

The weekend was a total blur, full of an array of holiday activites and household chores, but this was by far my greatest accomplishment. Two weeks ago, I was trying to get an 11 month old and a 5 year old to smile at the same time and it turned out to be my greatest photography nightmare. So for the Christmas cards this year, I was left with no choice but to make it fun. Because there was no way I was going to get them all dressed up and try again (I don't have a digital camera, so I don't see these shots until they come back from the lab). But I feel great, because they are stamped and in the mail! I can't wait to hear my mother's comment. And now for your viewing pleasure, our family wishes you a very, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Spreading the Holiday Cheer, the Cheap Way

No, I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth. Although I feel like I have. Due to crazy work schedules and business traveling, I’ve been out of the loop most of the week on all my bloggy friends lives, so now I’m playing catch up. I know I am the center of everyone’s universe and you were all just wondering what happened to me, so I will tell you that I have been out of town all week on business with no laptop and limited availability for cruising the blogs. Seems everyone’s been keeping busy with spreading holiday cheer with auctions, and I have to say from my selfish, spoiled rotten heart that I wish I could be so philanthropic and altruistic. That is a really great cause, but I must choose wisely this year with regard to where my money goes. I have one charity that we try to donate to and that is Mary’s Fund, which helps my awesome, ol’ friend, Jim and his cause help other unfortunate children with disabilities get the care they need. Kudos to my friend, Jim, who has made the lemons dealt to him with the birth of his daughter, Mary, into sweet-tasting lemonade. Thanks to the persistence of him and his wife, their daughter is truly getting what she needs the most: love and care. Please visit their site.

But alas, I am a money-grubbing, cold-hearted bitch this season, so my wallet is remaining closed beyond my measly contribution to Mary’s Fund. Which leads me to today’s guilt confession: I am not buying all the nieces and nephews Christmas gifts this year. Instead, I’m using the “i’m-too-cheap-to-buy-you-something-special–this-year-so-I-made-this-pretty-ornament-for-you-instead” tactic. We have 11 nieces and nephews. And give or take 20 bucks for each of them, even though I’m not good at math, I can calculate that it comes out to 220 bucks. So I’m taking a couple of vacation days the weekend before Christmas for the said crafty project, we well as baking my guilt away. But really, when I think about it, can I really compete with an X-Box 360? All of my in-laws and brothers (with the exception of one) are pretty well off financially, so what’s a $20 gift card from Aunt Kate and Uncle Dave going to do for them? Don’t get me wrong, they are all great kids, but none of them need A THING. Not even my kids need anything, really. I (since Dave quit his job 2 months ago to take care of the kids full-time) don’t make a TON of money, because frankly with the raise I got this year with my new job, I have my eyes on trying to purchase a house for my family. We currently rent a 2 bedroom townhouse, and that just ain’t gonna cut the mustard anymore once Andrew is old enough for a his own “big-boy” bed. So, call me scrooge, but ornaments and chocolate chip cookies will most likely be tied with a big red bow this year with the words, “Merry Christmas, Love Kate, Dave, CJ and Andrew.”


Update from last post: Andrew is now moving around the floor on his tush. I have never in my life seen a baby move around like this! Actually, kind of ingenius, I think (he is my baby, you know). He is somehow able to get from one side of the room to the other with kind of a weeble-wobble motion, as we can no longer leave him out of our sight. Still no crawling, so I wonder if he will just go right into walking. Thanks to everyone for the encouraging words.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Mom Always Liked You Best

My youngest son, Andrew is closing in on his 1st birthday in early January. Outside of it being a momentous event, full of a mouthful of cake, a mountain of gifts, and cameras flashing from the family paparazzi, I find myself already comparing him to his older brother. Most notably in mobility milestones, such as walking, crawling and rolling over. When he was five months old, he rolled from his tummy to his back. We all cheered, and I even have it on video. This remained his one and only trick for quite some time, until he learned how to sit up on his own at about 7 months. Then he learned how to eat a Cheerio on his own. Then he learned how to clap. And now we’re all waiting for him to crawl. And still waiting, and waiting…. I say I’m worried because I can’t help but stare at a picture of my older son, CJ when he was 9 months old: he is standing. He was most definitely crawling by that time, and it was with great celebration when he took his first steps at his 1st birthday party. We were all amazed and we were all proud. So now that Andrew is nearing that one year milestone, I can’t help but be a little inquisitive about his development. He’s starting to reach out of his radius, moving all the more closer on bended knee, and each day I think he’s going to jump closer to mobility on all fours, when all of the sudden his attempt gets foiled by landing on his tummy in defeat. And then he rolls over on his back and starts squirming like a turtle on his shell. My poor little pumpkin.

I am doing my best at not comparing my two sons. I know I am starting a long road of therapy by instigating this practice, but it is very hard for me to ignore. As mothers it is instinctual for us to worry about our children, and I think it is second nature to say that one child did something later or earlier than the other, especially when they are of the same gender. But will it stop? Will I let them be separate individuals, and separate of my own expectations? Medically speaking, there is no physical reason for his immobility. Although, our doctor has advised at his last check up that if he is not crawling by one year he will be concerned. I feel like I’m tricking my motherly instincts into thinking this is OK, this is normal, and that other babies are not crawling yet. I’ve been telling myself not to over-analyze, don’t get competitive with the mothers on and off-line over who’s kid does what first. I’m really tying hard. But the sore fact that I share DNA with my own aggressive, perfectionist, obsessive compulsive mother, hinders my ability to take a laid back approach. You know the mom, the one that says: “Great attempt at making your bed, honey, but here’s how it’s really done.”

Not only am I a perfectionist, but I am also obsessive compulsive. A few weeks ago my older son went into a tantrum because the way he painted was not “perfect”. I couldn’t help but look at myself in the mirror and say, “Well, you’ve done it, Kate. You have become your mother.” So all this business about Andrew not crawling, it’s deep-seeded. These are generations of child-rearing coming out in all of us. It goes beyond me pinning my sons against each other. This is beyond the surface. It requires a moment for me to think about everything that I say to avoid the knee jerk response that so many before me have done. And that is tiring on some days. But it’s my attempt at breaking the cycle. But more importantly, am I able?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Spreadsheets and Christmas Concerts

Lately our dinner table conversation has included merry rounds of Jingle Bells and We Wish You a Merry Christmas, in preparation of our son’s preschool’s Christmas concert, which is tonight. He can now recite these verses by memory and in tune, which I think is a great feat for a 5 year old. But outside of mastering the Christmas carols and shopping for the right festive outfit for his on stage appearance, there’s something else that I’ve found myself getting sucked into: Volunteer Duty. I love to volunteer for things, and my parents both instilled the civic spirit in me as a young child, as they always volunteered in their community and at my school. As an adult I have volunteered as a dog walker at the NY ASPCA, I’ve been a soccer referee, I’ve visited nursing homes, and my favorite was my stint as a Tour Guide at the Central Park Zoo in NYC (every other Sunday, and yes, I did for FREE. What can I say, I like animals). So in the spirit of this giving holiday season, I elected to help with the Christmas concert. It’s been a no-brainer, but apparently not for the mother organizing the volunteers, as evidenced by the numerous amounts of emails. I couldn’t help but be reminded of Mayberry Mom’s post about the shrimp lady for her neighborhood party when Dave and I ended up receiving 6 separate emails pertaining to volunteering at this concert. I’ve copied and pasted the last that we received this morning:

Just to reitterate what I may already have spoken to you about, it can either be yourself or your husband helping the teachers out with your assigned room (see attached spreadsheet) with the following:

* Sit with the kids in the pews until it is their class's turn.

* Assist the teachers in herding the kids to the stage where they will sing their song.

* Sit with the kids onstage to keep them still and quiet while the other classes get their turn.

* At the end, assist in orderly exit from the stage as parent comes to pick up their child.

And yes there is an excel spreadsheet attached outlining which mom or dads are herding which kids from which classroom. My son is in preschool. Do I dare to think about the organizational load of a Kindergarten Christmas concert? And I can’t help but wonder about how much free time this woman has. Or is she just a spreadsheet guru that goes around preparing analysis for everything from laundry to grocery shopping. I can appreciate the organization behind the effort, but really, is this necessary?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Weekend Wrap-Up

We ventured to the mall yesterday for our Santa picture. Yes, I said the MALL. On a Sunday. In December. The only positive thing I can say about it is that it is over. Although the kids were pretty cooperative, I had a less than favorable experience with stupid teenagers, crowds, and loud Christmas music. I'd like to share my little ditty, in the melody of Jingle Bells on what I think about taking the kids to a mall and paying 20 bucks for an overpriced, 5 x 7 picture:

Dashing through the mall
To meet Santa on his sleigh
O’er the crowds we fall
Crying all the way

Bells in my ears ring
Making spirits dark
What sane mom says on a cold Sunday:
“To the mall we will embark!”

Oh, Santa picture, Santa picture
Santa all the way
What hell it is to wait in line
On a December Su-u-u-nday!

But, I would have to admit that it turned out pretty darn cute....


Also, thanks for a great night out on Saturday night with A Mommy Story, Cheerios and Chicken, and the "blog stalkers" for drinks, great conversation and a nice night out!!! Thanks ladies!

Friday, December 01, 2006


My husband has been a bit of a Grinch about Christmas since his early twenties, and since we've had our two children, he's starting to come around to the idea of holiday cheer, rather than holiday sneer.

So while he can now sing the words to a popular carol without changing the first line to "It's beginning to look a lot like VEGAS!", I still like to maintain a bit of realism about the season. It's a magical time to be a kid, but as a parent some of the mystery is gone.

Now, I still get a magical tingle when I see my kids (almost 3 and almost 1) notice things like the tree and lights and inflatable yard decorations for the first time, but I'm a bit of a pragmatist. As such, I bring you the Twelve Days of Christmas Parenting, featuring the color red.

On the first day of Christmas, my children gave to me
A red nose always running.

On the second day of Christmas, my children gave to me
Two red-rimmed eyeballs,
And a red nose always running.

On the third day of Christmas, my children gave to me
Three fuschia bruises,
Two red-rimmed eyeballs,
And a red nose always running.

On the third day of Christmas, my children gave to me
Four rosy cheeks,
Three fuschia bruises,
Two red-rimmed eyeballs,
And a red nose always running.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my children gave to me
Four rosy cheeks,
Three fuschia bruises,
Two red-rimmed eyeballs,
And a red nose always running.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my children gave to me
Five flaming migraines!
Four rosy cheeks,
Three fuschia bruises,
Two red-rimmed eyeballs,
And a red nose always running.

(you didn't really want to read all of this filler, did you? Let's skip ahead...)

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my children gave to me
Twelve crimson smooches, (the best part!)
Eleven blushing glances, (coy, those little stinkers are)
Ten cold pink fingers, (perfect time in bed, right in the middle of my back)
Nine squashed red crayons, ("washable" is a euphamism for "ha ha, we fooled you!")
Eight ruby floor stains, (don't ask me - I don't know what made those spots)
Seven scarlet tantrums, (thanks for laying down on the floor while howling indignities)
Six smashed poinsettias, (I hope he will be coordinated by the time he's 20)
Five flaming migraines! (Oy!)
Four rosy cheeks, (great for munching)
Three fuschia bruises, (diaper changing gone terribly bad)
Two red-rimmed eyeballs, (when will the baby sleep through the night?)
And a red nose always running. (the gift that keeps on giving)

Pam usually hangs out over at Boy and His Blog, inappropriately named since she now has a daughter, too. Kate is over there today, so go visit her! Pam, her pink cheeked children, and her runny nose wish you all a Happy Holiday!

You can find all the other Blog Exchange participants writing about Red (or Green!)