Last year my son grew 5.5 inches. I kept telling everyone that when I get him out of bed that he is taller. It turns out that I was right. Now that he is two, he has reached the age when his vocabulary goes into hyper drive.
From the moment I put my son in the car from daycare to the moment I put him in bed, my son is talking. Sometimes it's words and sentences. Sometimes it's sounds in the rhythm of sentences. Everyday he surprises me. This phase is both awesome and scary. It's awesome because we are actually having conversations. It's scary because he is a parrot and sometimes his mom lets a four-letter word fly.
Here are some examples of the conversations we are having:
My son LOVES horses. He owns several of the stuffed variety. 99% of them are named Pie after the horse he rides with Pam. After he rides a horse, I tell him that we must change his clothes because he smells like a horse. So now when I tell my son that he stinks, he says, "Mommy, I smell like a horse."
I like to run in the mornings before he wakes up. After 20 minutes of running, I am a sweaty mess ready for a shower. One morning this week, my son woke early before I could shower wanting to be held. I told him that mommy needs a shower because she stinks. "Mommy, you smell like a giraffe." (We just saw giraffes the week prior at the Lazy 5 ranch.)
My favorite conversation with him is when he tells me about his day at daycare. It's like an avalanche of words hits his brain and they randomly come out. I hear about other kids in the room, their pet goldfish Corky, phrases said to him by his teachers and new songs that he has learned. When I unravel a string of words into their real meaning after chats with his teachers, I feel like I need to submit my resume to the United Nations or work on a CSI unit.
Jules sits on the couch at the end of the day. It's hard to behave when you approaching bed time. Being tired tempts the naughty nature. For instance, Jules loves to grab a handful of popcorn and attempt to shove all of the kernels into his small mouth. Over half of the popcorn lands on the floor and then it's fighting temptation not to stand on them to break them into smaller pieces. My need to be tidy becomes challenged and I immediately scold Jules. If this happens multiple times in the same evening, scoldings turn into time out. When he emerges from time out, he looks at me and says, "Mommy, was I naughty" with blinking eyes and a cuddle. (He has learned that he is cute and trying to sway me with his charm.) Where did he learn this?
So he might not grow another 5.5 inches this year, but his vocabulary could easily reach 200 words by age 3.
It's hard to date as a single parent. Most nights I barely have the energy to drag myself to bed. I also find myself doing things on automatic and never think twice about them.
Just before the holidays, a friend wanted to introduce me to several of her male friends at a dinner party. Sure, why not.
My son and I enjoyed some great food and met some interesting people. One gentleman in particular sat across from me to continue our conversation. Luckily my son was hungry and focused on his food.
Mid-conversation, my son takes my hand and spits out a large ball of meat. Toddlers often over estimate the size of their mouths. The nice gentleman went from interest to horror seeing this chewed ball of meat in my hands.
It takes a strong stomach to date a single mom.
I haven't posted a blog entry since November 12th. Shame on me. Between work stress, numerous little boy colds, the holidays and assorted drama, I feel victorious that I can simply be upright and clean most days. My goal is to not go so long posting again.
Remember that famous kitty poster with his front limbs holding on delicately to a limb with the slogan, "Hang in there baby"? That visual has made a lasting impression on me. Some days, all I can do is hang in there. In fact, my email salutation at work has always been, "Hang in there" since sometimes that's the only thing you can do. But I am so tired of just hanging in there. I am so ready to climb off this limb and jump onto other ones. Instead of "Hang in there", what about "Thrive on People"?
And here is it, New Years Day. The day were I infamously write a slew of resolutions that I can't remember by Valentine's Day. By spring, I am down on myself about my lack to achieve any of my resolutions. No more. Done. Bye Bye. Instead, it's just one word, one powerful word that I can remember even after a night of restless sleep. My word came pretty quickly - that word is HEALTH.
Physically - My son and I are pretty healthy (knock wood). My son gets colds a lot thanks to his exposure to other little kids but otherwise, that's the only big health concern for him. To be fair, I am relatively healthy. I haven't been sick all year minus on small bout with a bad meal, but I am not quite myself. It's more than the numbers on the scale, it's how I feel. My "Mojo" is missing. Doing things I loved before has changed. My hiatus from dancing has turned into full-on retirement since it's lost its magic for me. Instead of getting lost in a class, I would find myself staring at the clock wondering if my son ate his dinner with his babysitter. Running used to be my way to release stress but now, I have to sneak 20-25 minutes here and there on my treadmill around my son's schedule.
I want to feel good in my body. I want to teach my son the importance of moving daily and how eating healthy food is enjoyable. I need my time EACH DAY to leave my "ya yas" in a safe place instead of letting it stew and simmer inside. HEALTH. What have you done today Amy to take care of you?
Financially - Single parents are one-paycheck households that normally run pretty tight. My budget is no different, in fact it's tighter than I would like. My son is two years old and I spent over 2.5 years working on that adoption, but I am STILL paying off fertility costs. By the time he starts kindergarten, my debt should be gone. This year, I will have to say "No" more than I say "Yes" for my financial health. "Just hire a sitter and go out" still comes my way, but it has limits. For those of you who do not have kids or have the wonderful ability to leave your child for extended periods of time with family, please note that babysitters make $10 an hour. That's a lot and it adds up quick.
My son yearns to hit the debit buttons on the keypad at the end of our grocery checkout. Every time I tell him, you can't hit the buttons since you don't have any money. After hearing that 50 plus times over the year, it now makes sense to him. So now, instead of trying to hit the buttons, he looks the sales clerk in the eye repeating over and over, "I don't have any money". It's cute coming out of his mouth but its also great advice for me. HEALTH. Do you really need to purchase that or can it wait until later?
Spiritually - I am not a Christian. I don't wear a cross around my neck. I don't tell people that I am a Christian when it's not in my heart. If I am at a gathering where people stop before a meal and say a prayer, that's fine with me. I believe in being respectful, my head tilts downward unless my son needs my attention. During that time, I require my son to be quiet out of respect.
My faith is mine, it's personal and not up for debate. I don't claim any specific religion, but I have been drawn to readings and articles on Buddhism for quite some time. This winter, I signed up for an online course to explore it further. When it comes to my son, he will learn from me tolerance for all faiths and to honor his own spiritual path. He gets to venture into all churches, ask questions and discover which one speaks to him. It's not my call. HEALTH. Have you had one quiet moment today to clear your mind?
One, powerful word can be the only reminder you need. The numbers on the scale may be the same for me 364 days from now, my bank accounts may still be lean at the end of the year and my faith may be the same, but at least this year, I need one simple way to ask myself daily if I am keeping my HEALTH in mind. Maybe some reflection will help me move from simply hanging in there to standing on another limb on my own two feet.