Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tips for a stress free morning.

Get Real Mama's Tips For A Stress-Free Morning:

The key is to be prepared! Get things ready the night before.

  • Set out outfits for every member of the family, involve your kids in selecting their clothing.*

  • Set up coffee, so all you have to do is press a button. ****

  • Set the breakfast table.*****

  • Have an activity/craft available to entertain children while you shower and dress ******
* Have two back up outfits. Inevitably your child(ren) will dismiss the outfit you selected together the evening before, determining in the morning that it is "stupid." There is a high likelihood that breakfast/milk/pee will be spilled or splattered on the first outfit of the day, requiring a wardrobe change. Factor in an additional five minutes to search for the missing batman sock that MUST be worn TODAY.

**** Consider adding a "splash" of Kahlua to your morning joe. Take a sip. Consider a second cup of "coffee"

***** Be sure you set out matching cereal bowls to avoid the "He got the BLUE BOWL" conflict. Anticipate that even if you selected two identical bowls one child will still throw a temper tantrum because his brother's bowl is BLUER! Factor in an additional ten minutes for conflict mediation over who has the most cereal in the bluest bowl. Factor in an additional five minutes to clean up the bowl of cereal or glass of milk that will certainly be spilled. Multiple times.

****** Your children will hate whatever activity you plan. They will fight over markers, scribble on the baby, and use scissors on your tablecloth. You might as well just invite over the ever reliable babysitter-SpongeBob Square Pants.


Monday, February 27, 2012

He Stands

Sweetie, where is the fire? Who told you that you had to move so damn fast? Slow down baby boy, and take your time.
Too late. Julian is fast tracking to toddler hood. With five teeth, the ability to crawl across a room in record time, a love for finger foods and now his newly acquired skill of pulling up to stand, we are quickly leaving the infant phase in the dust. He is just days from his nine month birthday. It's happening too quickly.
Evan did not even crawl until eleven months. I was hoping for a longer "potted plant" period. That lovely time where you can set the baby down in front of a pile of toys and know that he won't budge. Julian skipped that phase entirely. We must watch Ju Ju Bean like a hawk. He knows what he wants and he knows how to get it. Unfortunately what he wants is usually not a brightly colored Fischer Price baby toy, but a penny, paper clip or some other inappropriate sharp object.
Julian is perpetually covered in dirt and dog hair, a constant reminder of how I am failing as June Cleaver. We are a filthy family. But worse, my baby, my very last baby is....growing up. While I know in my mind that that this is inevitable, my heart is screaming NOT SO FAST! This is it. Last. Baby. Ever. While I could not help but beam as Julian pulled his tiny little legs into a standing position for the first time, I was also painfully aware that with every one of his accomplishments we are leaving an era behind. The era of parenting babies. Just as surely as my laugh lines are appearing my kids are growing up. I'm 37. I have three kids. I am not having any more babies. There is nothing to do but move forward and face the future.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Finding the balance

So once again I have taken the plunge back into the working world. Well more like I have dipped my toe back in the waters, but it's a start.

Last week I returned to work on a part time basis. I am currently working 16 hours a week, primarily from home. I didn't hem and haw much over the decision, it just sort of happened. Over the course of 2 weeks I received recruiting calls from 4 different agencies, and I figured that it must be a sign, a sign that I should be working. I started responding to the calls, and had a serious interview , however as luck would have it I was able to return to my former employer (a company that I am proud to work for), and now here I am.

While it is a blessing to be able to work from home, I was reminded how liberating and lovely it is to be in a REAL office, with REAL grown ups. On Tuesday I took the bus into San Francisco and it was fantastic. It can be very invigorating, walking the streets of a big city. I passed by my favorite coffee shops and lunch spots. I admired all of the fashionable, hip professionals in their skinny jeans, tall boots and expensive handbags. I sat in a neat, clean office, one that did not include a litter box and a pile of dirty laundry. I was there for only a few short hours, and at 5:00, when I had to head home, I thought briefly of "missing the bus" and sticking around for happy hour, however the nanny was on the clock and I hadn't brought a breast pump. (Details, details.)

On the ride home I grew nastolgic for my days before children. I worked for an executive search firm in downtown Denver. My office was on the twenty-something floor and had a view of the sixteenth street mall. My husband and I would ride the bus in together each morning, stopping for a Starbucks before heading into our respective offices. I could work as late as I wanted without ever checking in with anyone. Happy Hour? Any and every night of the week. My best friend (and neighbor) Shannon also worked downtown. We met up frequently and our evenings often ended up with a steak dinner and a cab ride home. What did we care? We were both living the dual-income-no-kids lifestyle.

Not anymore. No, now there is so much more to think of. It's a good thing, this I know, however now and then I wish I had just a little more freedom. More freedom to have an amazing career, more freedom to nurture my friendships, more freedom to simply cut loose.

For now however, I must simply embrace this new change. I am back working, using my brain and making a little money. I may not be a hot shot but I am trying to create some balance. It feels good to be back.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Kick Me

My poor sweet Evan. The younger brother. He wants nothing more than to play with his older sibling and be just like him. He follows him around like a little puppy dog, mimicking what he says and trying like hell to impress.

Zack and Evan's relationship certainly has blossomed over the past year. Zack went from merely ignoring his baby brother to loathing him. But something has happened over the past twelve months and the boys have become friends. It has been sweet relief. It brings me such joy to see these two brothers dreaming up trips to outer space and plotting mutiny against their parents. Of course it isn't always sunshine and roses, they bicker and fight like all siblings, but underneath it they seem to generally enjoy each other.

Until Zack has a friend over. Once Zachary has a buddy his age to play with, Evan is left behind (screaming) in the dust. Poor thing. It would be one thing if the older kids simply ignored Evan, but they seem to prefer to torture him. "Baby" they sneer. "Your the bad guy!" they cheer. They say he has germs, they laugh when he gets hurt, they try to play tricks on him, and my sweet boy keeps coming back for more.

Most of Zachary's friends are very nice kids, but something seems to happen to them once they are in the presence of Zack's younger brother. I don't know what the equation is. Is this a common phenomenon, or does Evan have the proverbial "Kick Me" sign tattooed to his tiny back? I am often left at a loss. In the absence of their parent, I find it difficult to discipline a child that is not mine. I have tried asking Zack to set an example for his friends, but he is easily persuaded in vilifying little Evan. I have asked the Zack's friends nicely, and then firmly to stop the teasing, but eventually it starts up again.

It hurts me to see my baby made fun of and picked on. I worry that he is going to come to expect meanness and disrespect. I want to stand up for my child, while helping him stand up for himself as well.

I am the big sister. I know that I was nasty to my sister, however, I don't remember it being quite this bad. Perhaps I am recalling myself in a more favorable light than I deserve. Maybe it's a boy thing. Maybe Evan looks like a victim. Maybe kids are meaner today. I don't know.

Advice would be appreciated.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hallmark, I love you.

I can't help it. I am a total sucker for Valentine's Day. I love it all. The pretty red and pink construction paper hearts, the gold foil, the chocolates, the roses, the conversation hearts, fancy dinners and champagne. I know, I know, "Hallmark Holiday" blah, blah, blah. Sue me. I have a happy marriage and three junior Valentines, it's a good day.

This year was no exception! My day started out with two little boys running into my bedroom with a red rose a piece and a handmade Valentine. "Happy Valentine's Day Mommy!" they said in unison. Such a sweet start to the day. Later I discovered a beautiful bouquet of flowers on the dining room table, courtesy of my husband of course.

My boys received Russel Stovers chocolates and lollipop bouquets. For dinner I made them heart shaped hamburgers and a pink cake. The husband and I opted for a fancier shrimp/pasta meal after the boys were in bed.

Sure there were some missteps along the way. Mistakes were made. I gave Zachary a Transformers valentine, and Evan received a Spongebob valentine with a removable "badge." This prompted Zachary to burst into tears, screaming that Evan got the better card and that this was "THE WORST VALENTINE'S DAY EVER!" He did recover (and I admit, I made the trip to Target to purchase him his own SpongeBob valentine later.) All and all and all we had a smashing day, full of Love, Hallmark, and happiness.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Don't ask for my number.

Yes, I see that you have a kid. Yes, I see he is about the same age as one of mine. It doesn't mean that we have to be friends. It doesn't mean that we have anything (much) in common.

But your going to start something anyways, from the adjacent lunch table at Target.

I'm just trying to appease my three year old so I can run some errands lady. I don't feel like talking, especially not to you. I am a recruiter honey, I can tell within about twenty seconds if I like you, and I don't. I don't like you. I am sure that you are just fine, but I'm not interested. If you were a guy I met at a bar, I would not give you my number (even if I were single.)

You begin with the small talk. We live in the same general area. We both stay home. Then it comes out that you don't own a television, as a moral and ethical choice. I start to tell you about the Spongebob marathon we had last weekend, but stop myself, for fear I will give you a heart attack. You tell me how your three year old sleeps in your bed, and how you attribute all of his self confidence to your strict adherence to the principles of attachment parenting. Yay you. My baby sleeps in his crib. In his nursery. In a different room. You assume that I choose to stay at home with my kids because, like you, I cannot bare the thought of someone else "raising my kids." I interrupt you to inform you that my eldest son started daycare at 3 months.

Finally you begin to describe your latest dilemma. Your son is having a birthday in a few weeks. He wants a pinata. You do not believe in pinatas. Why? The candy? No, that can't be it, your feeding your child chicken nuggets, french fries and a slushie. No, you tell me, pinatas are terrible, because they are so violent. How does a mother explain to her three year old that it is okay to hit a cardboard creation in the shape of Elmo? Surely, our children will all be scared and emotionally crippled by the sight of kids beating Elmo with a stick. Your son worships Elmo (although clearly he has never seen him on the small screen, since of course, you do not own a TV.) Your boy could not possibly beat Elmo! In fact, you have left birthday parties for this reason, so your son will never have to witness such an atrocity!

I have grown quiet and I focus my attention on feeding Julian individual pieces of Evan's left over macaroni and cheese. I look for my escape. Julian's meltdown proves useful. I excuse myself. Yes so lovely to have met you. No, I don't come here often (lies!) Goodbye and good luck with the party.

Thank God she didn't ask me for my number.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

February Newsletter

Kargas Inc Newsletter, February 2012
Employee of the Month:
This month the prestigious award goes to.... Julian Michael Kargas. Over the past eight months we have seen considerable growth, and we are certain that he will continue to be a real asset to our thriving organization! Julian continues to be one of the hardest workers employed at Kargas Inc. He still frequently insists on working in the wee hours of the night, calling meetings at 2 and 4 am. Very impressive! We admire your tenacity, but feel free to tone it down a notch! We interviewed Julian when he was presented with his award. He issued the following statement: "Ma Ma Ma. Ba Ba Ba." Well said Julian, well said. Congratulations!
Upcoming Events:
Mark your calendars! We have two incentive trips planned this year. Our first excursion is to Venice Beach Florida, where we will be staying at a luxury resort! (Casa Kargas, hosted by Mor Mor & Pa Pou). Your all expense vacation will include use of the community pool (please no swim diapers), transportation to and from the beach and all- you- can- eat cheerios and Mor Mor's hot dish. Our next trip will be to Madison Wisconsin in late June. Once again luxury accommodations at the Shaw Resort & Spa. More details to come.....
Brown Bag Lunches:
We have several brown bag lunches planned for the next couple of months. Topics will include:
Are you making your co-workers cry? It could be harassment.
Feeling burned out? How to make the best of the next 12-17 years.
Positive first impressions: Keep your finger out of your nose.
Finally, a message from our CEO:
Dear Beloved Staff,
We are off to a fabulous 2012! I want to assure you that Kargas Inc is thriving. Recently I have received questions from concerned staff members about further expansion. While Kargas Inc will not be adding to our staff.....ever again, this is not an indication of the corporations demise. We are stronger than ever, and have concluded that additional staff members would actually impede our companies performance, probably driving leadership to purchase one-way tickets to Promises. So while there will be no further growth (in numbers), we are looking forward a prosperous year!