1.Â We took Bean to the local farmer’s market this weekend.Â It was a beautiful morning and we needed fresh fruits and veggies for the week.Â We go pretty often and I love it.Â But it’s always so crowded and I find myself running over people’s ankles all the time with my stroller. So this time, we left the stroller in the car and let Bean walk on his own. He loved it and millions of people’s ankles were saved.
2. While we were at the farmer’s market, we bought banana chips and dried apricots for Bean to snack on. He’d never had dried fruit before and he thought it was great. He carried it around and chewed on it all morning. I think he felt like a big dude.
3. Bean also had his first ice cream cone. He’s not a stranger to ice cream, but it was his first cone. He didn’t really understand the whole licking concept. It took him a few tries to get it down. It was pretty entertaining watching Chris try to teach Bean how to lick an ice cream cone…
4. I keep finding little scenes that Bean has created with his toys while he’s playing. Every time I come across one, I giggle. I see Bean using more and more of his imagination these days and these little play scenarios with his toys only confirm that. He loves to walk around his toys and stuffed animals making them talk or sing and lately I’ve seen him using two toys or stuffed animals to talk to each other. Of course, the “talking” doesn’t really involve words, per se. But he’s definitely making them attempt at conversations. I love to see him learning and growing and each time I see one of these little play scenes, I get even more proud of him.
I am an overreacter.
I really don’t like this trait in myself.Â It drives me crazy, actually.Â I wish that I could have normal reactions to things.Â I wish I could think logically through them and then speak coherent, respectful words to work through the situation.Â But, apparently, I’m missing that gene.Â When something pushes me, I overreact.Â My response is not proportionate to the action.Â I know that.Â I recognize that.Â But, until last week, I didn’t know how to fix that.
Here’s the thing about overreacting.Â No matter how right you are about something, if you overreact, you look like you’re a hysterical idiot and your rightness goes right out the window.Â No one hears what you’re saying when you’re overreacting, so – right or wrong – it doesn’t matter what point you are making.Â You’re just seen as being emotional.Â Add to that the fact that I am pregnant and now I have become the classic hysterical, hormonal pregnant woman.
Lately though, I’ve been paying attention to when I feel those overreacting moments coming on and I’m starting to see a distinct pattern.
Take this weekend, for example…
During the work week, I get up with Bean every day.Â I get him dressed, give him breakfast, pack my lunch and his school bag, and then about 15 minutes before we head out the door, Chris comes out to get hugs and kisses before we leave.Â This is not a complaint.Â It’s just how the timing of our days works out.Â Everyone’s happy with this arrangement.Â But on the weekends, I’d like a day off.Â I don’t need both Saturday and Sunday, but for one of those days I’d like the chance to sleep in.Â Or not even sleep in (since it is physically impossible for me to sleep past 6am), but just the ability to lay there and not have to jump right into Mommy Mode.Â So, one morning a week when I hear Bean get up at 7:00 on the dot like he does every morning, I nudge Chris and tell him to go take care of Bean.Â And Chris mumbles, “Okay,” and then he lays there.Â And then 10 minutes later, Bean starts yelling for us again.Â And so I nudge Chris harder and say something like, “Are you going to go get him?” and he says, “Yep,” and then he lays there.Â And then another 15 minutes go by and Bean now starts crying because no one has come to get him and so I throw the covers back and I get up to go get him while Chris continues to sleep.
But the end of the world?Â No.
A rational person would just say to Chris, “Honey, when you just lay there on the weekends until Bean cries, it makes me feel bad for him and so I always end up being the one who gets up.Â Do you think you could go get him a little faster so that he doesn’t start crying and so that I can sleep in one morning?”
I mean, look at him…
He’s the most rational, kind, patient being on God’s green earth.
What part of Chris makes me think that I can’t say that calmly to him and that we can’t work through some small little problem like this civilly. Like real adults
But not me.Â I don’t say anything to him.Â I let it go on for weeks and months and except for the occasional mumble under my breath (which he probably doesn’t hear because he’s already fallen back asleep), I don’t make a big deal about it.Â Until I explode.Â After weeks of this, it all bottles up and then one morning – BAM!Â It all comes out in a very irrational, overreacting manner and suddenly instead of just asking Chris to take turns, I have become the hormonal, irrational wife.
Which is always sexy and attractive.
I had a similar experience happen at work with one of classes, too.Â The class is just driving me crazy.Â Behavior problems make it hard to teach anything in that period and I was really starting to lose it with them.Â After one particularly rough afternoon in which I stopped teaching altogether because of their behavior and just had them sit with their heads on their desks (productive, yes?), I went to our Dean and asked for some help.Â I explained that the situation was probably more me than them and that, as a first year teacher, I think I just lacked the know-how of classroom management with a group like this and would he mind offering me some advice on how to get better control so that my students…oh, I don’t know…LEARN something???
The first thing he asked me was pretty standard administration speak.Â “Have you called the parents yet?”
I explained that I had called parents numerous times, but nothing was changing.
“Okay,” he said, “but what are you saying to the parents when you call?”
“Well, I tell them that their child is having some behavior problems in my class.Â That I know they have so much potential and that this is probably just a temporary age-related thing…” and then the Dean cut me off.
“Nope,” he said.Â “You’re starting the conversation by mixing your signals.Â Either the behavior is acceptable or it’s not.Â You can’t tell them you need some changes, but then sugarcoat how great their kids are.Â You have to just tell them, ‘Hey!Â Your kid needs to straighten up!’Â Otherwise, you just confuse them and they don’t understand how serious the problem is to you.”
I went back to my classroom and thought about what he said.Â And then I thought about how that was really good advice not just for teaching, but for all relationships.Â If you don’t tell them what’s bothering you until it builds up and you explode in a classroom somewhere, making 12-year-old kids have a time out, then how can you blame them for not making changes?
I’ve really been paying attention to this in my relationships lately and I’m discovering that sometimes when I think I’m giving pretty obvious hints that I need a specific behavior or action changed, it’s only obvious to me.Â For example, nudging Chris multiple times on Saturday mornings seems like a dead giveaway that I’m getting annoyed, but to him, it’s just me reminding him to get up.Â He doesn’t even know there’s a problem until I explode during his morning coffee.Â So, I’m making more of an effort to speak up before I get really irritated or mad.Â And to speak up calmly and rationally, instead of exploding after I’ve been silently pushed too far for too long.Â If someone pushes me far enough to make me overreact, then shame on me for letting it get to that point.
So, that’s what I’m working on this week in my marriage, in my personal relationships, and even at work.Â What about you?Â What’s a behavior that you have that drives you crazy?Â Or am I the only one who annoys themselves????
(Please say it’s not just me…)
Today I am grateful for my Mom.
Don’t you love when fate intervenes and paints you a picture of your child’s favorite childhood stuffed animal?Â No?Â That’s never happened to you?Â Well, it just happened to me and I am tickled pink.
A few months ago, a friend of mine introduced me to a wonderful artist, Erin Chainani.Â Turns out, Erin went to Yale around the same time as Chris and she even studied in his same school.Â Only, she took the artistic track and he took the technical track.Â Erin has recently opened her own small business called First Friends and it will just make your heart melt.
Erin paints portraits of your child’s favorite childhood stuffed animal or toy. Look how sweet these are…
I instantly fell in love with her paintings after spending just a few minutes on her website looking through her gallery. I love that she offers a gift certificate option, too, so that you can purchase a portrait for someone else.Â And I love that she offers a variety of sizes (including a new, affordable 4×6 option).Â And I love that she offers custom matting and framing, too.
And I’m not alone. She’s building a fast reputation as a first friends artist and she’s caught the attention of a few of her local media sources, like Miami.com and MiamiMunchkins.com.Â But even without her growing business, I was sold on just one portrait.Â Just one.
IT’S MR. BEAR!!! SHE PAINTED MR. BEAR!!!
And could she have gotten it any more perfect?!?!
She got his floppy arms just right. She got his deflating little belly. And, my favorite part, she got the little dimple in Mr. Bear’s head where Bean chews on him.
I mean, really. Could it be any cuter? I cry every time I see the portrait – which is often because it hangs on the wall above Bean’s changing table.
Bean loves it, too. He lays there while I’m changing his diaper, pointing to the painting and saying, “One Beeyah, Two Beeyah…” He thinks it’s funny that now he has TWO Bears.
As the mom of a rapidly growing toddler, it’s these kinds of keepsakes that I know I will always treasure. It’s these kinds of keepsakes that I already treasure. Because it’s these kinds of keepsakes that instantly take me back to the first days we had Bean home from the hospital and Mr. Bear was right there beside him, bigger than Bean was at the time. It takes me back to Bean learning to walk and dragging Mr. Bear along behind him across our kitchen floor in his jammies. It takes me back to Bean’s first days at a new daycare and knowing that even though I had to leave him with strangers, at least Mr. Bear was there with him.
And then, I start to cry. Like I’m doing right now.
I know that one day, Bean will outgrow his old friend. He’s already leaving Mr. Bear at home more and more now. And though I try to tell myself that it’s a sign of his feeling secure and independent, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t break my heart just a bit when I walk into Bean’s room and see Mr. Bear in a corner somewhere, temporarily forgotten. Of course, bedtime comes around and Mr. Bear is center stage again.
It’s for all these reasons that I already treasure this portrait. It floods me with all those emotions every single time I see it.
Which is why I am so darn excited to tell you that Erin is hosting a giveaway for all of you today!! She is generously giving away a framed 6×9 portrait of your child’s favorite toy. Or, it might be YOUR favorite toy from your own childhood. Or, it might be your niece or nephew’s favorite toy from their childhood. Or, it might be your grandchild’s favorite toy from their childhood. THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS AND ERIN CAN PAINT THEM ALL!!
To be entered to win this awesome giveaway, leave a comment below telling me whose toy and what toy you’d want to have painted. Also, for a second chance to enter, visit the Cribsie Awards and nominate Erin for a Cribsie Award for best baby product! She’s up for nominations and would love the support!Â Once you vote, come back and leave another comment telling me that you voted and you’ll be entered twice for a portrait!
The giveaway will close at 8:00pm EST on Friday, February 4, and a winner will be announced sometime over the weekend whenever I get my act together.
A very special thank you to Erin for our new family favorite portrait of Mr. Bear and for hosting such a generous giveaway!
Remember that time I went to my sister’s wedding and two days before the wedding, I ended up in the hospital? That whole weird episode turned out to be a spasm in my back. Not death trying to attack me, like I thought. To give you some kind of indication what that pain level is like, the week of my sister’s wedding, I passed out and had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital. It is extremely painful. Extremely.
Fortunately, I haven’t had another episode like that since. But Monday morning as I was getting ready for work, I leaned across our washing machine to unplug our iron and – BOOM! Down I went. My back started to spasm. It just freezes you in your tracks. Literally. I can’t move my arms or anything when it happens and so I was stuck there in the laundry room for 10 minutes while this pain shot through my back and down my arms. When I was finally able to move again, I slowly made my way back to Chris in our bedroom and he got me down on my heating pad where I sat for 30 minutes trying to get my back to unfreeze. I was a little late to work and I had to teach from a chair all day, but by that afternoon I was feeling a little looser and a little better.
I must not have been as healed as I thought though because this morning it happened AGAIN! I was lifting Bean up to his changing table and – BOOM! Down I went. Thank goodness Chris was close by to catch Bean or else he would have fallen. Thankfully, I had a 1/2 day at work today because I had a doctor’s appointment this afternoon, but I taught again today from my chair. And if you’ve ever tried to maintain control of a room full of middle schoolers while sitting in a chair, you know how much that sucks. So, I hobbled in to my doctor this afternoon and begged for mercy. And mercy came! She gave me a prescription for a mild muscle relaxer to use the next time my back seizes up like that and she referred me to a physical therapist to help teach me how to untwist my back when it spasms. And she recommended that I get a prenatal massage soon. I’m not a big massage fan, but at this point I’ll try anything.
The one thing that she said that bummed me out was that I needed to stop picking up Bean. I had sort of figured that out on my own already, but it was a downer hearing my doctor tell me how important it was that I not pick him up anymore. This morning I couldn’t pick him up when I dropped him off at daycare and he was so upset that he wouldn’t even tell me goodbye when I left. Then when I picked him up from daycare and I couldn’t pick him up again, he threw himself on the ground and pitched a fit. I know how he feels. I hate not being able to scoop him up for a big hug at the end of the day, but my back just can’t handle it anymore. It will be a big adjustment for me AND for Bean, but it’s just part of growing up, I guess. Big dude is having to learn to stand on his own two feet. Literally. I hate it, but it is what it is, I guess.
It is Wednesday night as I write this and I’ve already put in for substitute for tomorrow. My back just needs a break. I’m going to take Bean to daycare, come home, take a muscle relaxer, and sleep on my heating pad all day. I’m hoping a full day of R&R will help get me back on my feet again.
I really hate this part of pregnancy. I remember it with Bean, too. It’s that point where you physically can’t do the things you want or need to do. You physically HAVE to slow down and change your behaviors. I hate that. I feel so helpless and I feel especially bad for Chris who then has to pick up my slack even more than normal because I physically cannot help with simple tasks anymore. This is the part of the pregnancy where I start crying frantically. Like this morning when I got all the way to school after my back spasm and then burst into tears in the parking lot of my school and had to call Chris. When he asked what was wrong, all I could do was sob, “I hate being p-p-p-pregnant!!!”
Good news! Only 9 weeks left!
Because I’m vertically challenged tonight, I can’t take any pictures to share with you. So instead, I have a video to hold you all over. This is Bean on our drive home from my parent’s house last weekend. At this point in the evening, he’s had approximately 2,046 cookies. Keep that in mind.
Today I am grateful for Chris. And my doctor. And muscle relaxers.