Monday, June 17, 2013

9 Days of Being a Single Dad

I'm off to Alabama! Check out my trip here, it's pretty cool! I get to tour several plants, do field work and there are lectures from some amazing people in the field. The Hubs is staying home with Buddy. I'm sure he's going to be an amazing job. They'll have great father-son bonding. But it will be hard and exhausting. Buddy is trying to be more and more independent, which is great. Except it means that if he doesn't want to get dressed yet, he's not getting dressed. Sometimes that makes getting Buddy ready in the morning a 2 person job.
Buddy wears what he wants to wear when he wants to where it.
1 winter hat and 3 jackets for a friend's wedding last
weekend when it was in the high 70s. 
I got an extra big hug and kisses from Buddy this morning. He has clung to me like he knows something is not quite right. Little does he know that his mommy won't be there for him for 9 days. It makes me very sad thinking about him calling for me and not being able to come to him. To hear him wake in the morning and call my name, only to have to be comforted by daddy. I am afraid this is going to make Buddy wean before either of us are ready. I can't put into words what I feel about coming back home to him after so long away. Will he run into my arms or will he be hesitant because I haven't been there for a week and a half? What is his little almost 2 year old brain thinking? I know he'll remember me, know who I am. But will it have hurt him for me to leave him?

I am going to miss my boys so much, but know The Hubs will do great with Buddy. They have am excellent relationship and I'm sure this will only make it stronger.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Playing in the Rain!

It's raining! I don't think buddy even realized it.
When Buddy was very little, he hated the rain. We came running into the house with our little bundle in our arms while he contorted his face in dislike as he was pelted with rain. Oh how times have changed! We've had a lot of rain this spring. Buddy LOVES to be outside. He seems to no longer care about the rain, if he even notices.

Being the loving parents that we are, we offered an umbrella to Buddy so he could continue to play without getting too wet.

I thought he was just too cute not to share! Here he is getting used to the umbrella and watching the rain fall all around him. He likes to point out everyone's house and tell us what they are doing. They are all usually sleeping. "[Mr.] K seeping! Wiyam seeping! Rabbi baby seeping!" as he pointed to each house. How nice would that be to take a nap in the middle of the afternoon!

I asked Buddy to turn so I can take a picture. He turns and says, "Cheese!" I absolutely love this one and am planning on blowing it up for my wall. Maybe on a canvas? It's definitely one of my all-time favorite of him.

After figuring out how the umbrella is supposed to work, Buddy decided he really doesn't care about getting wet and just want to play with his new toy. We even took a walk with it and he asked for it for days. Even when it wasn't raining.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My 2 Fulltime Jobs

For a career, I love 2 things. 1) I love being a mom. I would love to be there all the time (well, sometimes I'm tired and don't know how I can keep my patience to deal with another toddler tantrum). I want to be there for every new word, every new skill, every time Buddy scrapes his knee and needs mommy kisses. 2) I love being a scientist. I would love to be a scientist all the time (well, sometimes I feel like throwing my lab equipment out the window and going all Office Space on it). I want to be there for the newest break-through, for when the lightbulb goes off in my students' heads and when my papers get published (my theoretical papers at this point since I have 3 I'm currently working on).

Buddy trying to put on his pants. On his arm.
But how can anyone have 2 full-time jobs and not go insane? Because right now, I feel like I'm going crazy. So how do I balance work and my amazing toddler? I scale back. Willing it will make it happen, right? I'm going to say yes, so here goes. I am going to finish this degree. I am going to pick up Buddy a little earlier every day. I am going to exercise and eat healthy and take some mental time for myself.

Then I am going to get a job. Exactly what that is, I don't know. I'm leaving my options open for now and applying to anything that looks appealing. Academics, industry, motherhood. All of it. I am determined to mesh my scientific curiosity with my mothering instincts. The best way for me to do this is to keep one foot in the working world and one foot in my son's world; both firmly planted. This means I will spend time reading the newest studies, looking up the best way to help Buddy work through his newest struggle (currently Buddy wants to dress himself, but hasn't figured out exactly how to get his arms in the correct arm hole from the inside of his shirt) and researching ways to improve the world through environmental remediation (taken broadly that means carbon sequestration, waste water, cleaning spills, etc.). Basically, I know I can make the world a better place, both in terms of the broader community and our family.

Calculating some results!
This also means I need to find more ways to integrate science into the lives of kids. Of all ages. It's a mission of mine to get kids more interested in science because too few of us grow up asking questions and figuring out the answers. School kind of beats that out of us, for the most part. To give the teachers credit, it's really hard to get 30 kids to work with you while giving them some freewill to experiment. It's messy. It's time consuming. But most of all, it's fun. Yes, I said it. Science is fun. So expect more science experiments with Buddy and hopefully some friends while I sort out the rest of my life!

(And thanks in large part to The Hubs who is always more supportive than he could ever know, who is there for me, cheering me on as I change my goals and ideas of what I want as a career.)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

My Little Guy is Growing Up

Nearly every night I take a moment and look at Buddy while he's sleeping. It's a minute or two when I reflect on the day. On what Buddy did. How we interacted. How I can better react to whatever Buddy throws at me. Sometimes literally. On what he learned or expressed for the first time. And just to remind myself how blessed we are to have such an amazing person who we have the privilege of raising and loving.

Buddy still sleeps in his pack'n'play because we decided an actual crib is a waste of money. He started out sleeping in our room and there isn't enough space to put a real crib, but by the time his room is actually painted and set up, he'll be nearly ready for a real bed. So what's the point in spending quite a lot of money on something Buddy will maybe use for a couple of months?

If that.

As I watched over Buddy tonight I realized how big he is getting. Sometimes he sleeps the short way across his mattress and he has to stick his knees up under himself to fit. He's all stretched out tonight and nearly fills the whole bed. We finally got his room painted, thanks to some amazing friends, so he'll be in there soon. I think we'll put him in the pack'n'play just to get used to the new space, but he might be transitioning to a mattress soon after that. Perhaps for his birthday next month.

Forgetful Daughter, Forgetful Mother

I was notorious for forgetting my lunch. I'm sure it started in middle school, but I definitely remember it in high school. I was in first hour band for 3 years and I'm sure it was more than once a week an office aid would come in with my lunch that my wonderful mother would bring to school. I don't know why it was always my lunch. Perhaps because I made sure everything else was already in my backpack so I wouldn't forget anything but a lunch had to stay in the refrigerator. I don't know why, but it happened. All the time.

Then it started happening all the way through college. It wasn't a big deal as an undergrad since I lived on campus and could run back to my dorm easily. Plus, once I became a resident assistant, they paid for my meal plan so I just bought something on campus. As a master's and now PhD student, it's not so easy to just run back and grab lunch. I have had several lunchless days over the past 7 years. I just busy myself and go home a little early.

But now my forgetfulness isn't just affecting me. I have forgotten Buddy's lunch a couple of times. The Hubs usually sets it out with his stuff so I can't forget to take it with us. But sometimes he leaves much earlier than us and doesn't set it out. I think every time but one I have forgotten it. 22 months is old enough for Buddy to remember his own lunch, right? Because otherwise, I'll be driving back and forth between home and daycare a lot.

I wish I could blame it on mommy-brain, but given my track record, I can't.

Buddy can put on his own hat, most of his jacket and grab a book and his lunch. I can leave it up to him to do this all the time now, right?

Monday, June 3, 2013

I Want My Binky!

Have you ever been out with your child and suddenly she wants her binky now! Or you get home from the park only to realize his stuffed bunny was left behind? You're not alone. Most parents have experienced this. The dreaded moment when your child's favorite comfort is far away from where you can get it. At that point, it's nearly impossible to console the child.

Buddy has a lot of friends, but he doesn't pick favorites.

I've witnessed this sad site many times, and although I can sympathize with these parents, I can't say that we've ever experienced it. Want to know our secret? Buddy doesn't have a favorite blankie or bear or paci. He has 2 bears that he now sleeps with, but they don't leave the crib. Sometimes we take one out to wash it, but he has the other so never seems to mind. Sometimes Buddy does like to bring his blankets around the house with him, but he never holds onto the same blanket for more than a day or two. We throw them in the wash before he can get attached and impart all of those gross smells kids refuse to let go.

So maybe I'm kidding myself thinking that I don't have to worry about the dreaded meltdown when my child realizes his lovie was left at the grocery store, but at nearly 2 years old, we've never come close to this problem. If you want to avoid it with your little one, switch out the favorite blanket and toy so you can avoid the heartbreak and wash their things. Ya know, when you can finally get around to actually doing the mounting piles of laundry. Because it's not just me who has 3 loads ready to go next to the washing machine, right?