Sunday, January 30, 2011

Moment by Moment

"Give me one moment in time when I'm more than I thought I could be" ~ Whitney Houston

Aw yeah, it's about that time. Time for a gratitude list! I have been so bogged down by the details of life lately. Babysitters. Preschool. House to-do's. T's overtime at work and lack of time at home. Exhaustion. It's too easy to forget life's little blessings and regular smile-inducers. So much to be cherished. Yet the hustle and bustle don't always allow for relishing the joy.

So, here's my attempt to hold tight to the current loveliness in my life . . .

1. I am grateful for Q's ever-expanding vocabulary and his intense desire to communicate with me. When he came home from the park with his auntie, he wanted to tell me about seeing a friend there and saying bye to him. The way Q says "bye" turns me into a pile of mushy adoration every time. He doesn't quite string sentences together yet, but he gets the point across just the same.

2. I am thankful for my hard-working husband. The other night he attended a company event, during which he was bestowed a prestigious award called the Golden Compass for his excellent work as a stationary engineer. I am so proud of my T. He deserves all of the accolades he gets and more.

3. I am grateful for T's mom who will be staying with Q when we go to Las Vegas to celebrate Sis-O's birthday in a couple of weeks. She seems to be really looking forward to it. Q is lucky to have such a devoted grandma. And we are lucky that she adores him so. (We can't wait for our weekend getaway and for some very special sister time!)

4. I am thankful for good girlfriends who like to watch movies. Such a fun way to escape together.

5. I am grateful for friends who have that eye for photography.

6. I am thankful for my healthy son. He is in the 95th percentile for height and the 75th percentile  for weight. I don't know how I got such a tall boy. He will basically outgrow me in another year.

7. I am grateful for Just Dance 2 on Wii. A little workout for mama and Q enjoys groovin' along.

What little moments are you grateful for today?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Photographic Memories: Too Two Fine

"Ooh baby, baby baby you're so fine" ~ Mickey & Sylvia

Q's 2nd birthday party was definitely one for the books. And not just because everyone went home with a goodie bag full of the nastiest kind of stomach flu (I'll save that memory for another time).  The party day started off with a trip to get some balloons, and the wonder in Q's eyes and the brightest smiles let us know that this was going to be a special day indeed.

Q spent some quality time with his favorite little lady, his future wife, Vivi. He made a wise decision and submitted to her charms. A few of his other favorite people were in the house, too. More intimate than last year's bash, but still a house full of laughter.

No real party theme, but some homemade mac andcheese, a homemade chocolate cake (as is evident by the lame cake decor -- where's Peeta when you need him?) and a table full of gifts. The firetruck and pop-up tent were a couple of his most beloved new toys. Q was kind enough to share with his little friends and not pull too much hair. It was a splendid affair. If only Q's parents would remember to take a family photo at his next birthday party!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Flyrish = INFP

"I know your anger, I know your dreams, I’ve been everything you want to be, I’m the cult of personality" ~ Living Colour

I recently took the Myers-Briggs personality test and wow -- I find myself fascinating! And, I make much more sense to myself now! But, I think it's safe to guess that most people are at least slightly intrigued by this kind of stuff. Take it because it's very interesting. You will be fascinated by yourself, too! And I don't think it's too rigid -- it's just a framework really. And, yeah, I know this has been around for eons, so most of you are probably familiar. But just in case you're not, you can read more about the test and types here.

According to my test results, I am an INFP, which stands for Introvert Intuitive Feeling Perceiving. Apparently, INFP's make up about 1% of the population. Well, I always knew I was odd.

My mom used to tell me (as an adult) that she thought I might be autistic or have some sort of disorder when I was child because I felt things so intensely. No, I wasn't autistic or mentally handicapped. I was just an INFP. But maybe that's not all that different from being somewhat impaired. I remember experiencing a sort of sensory overload as a kid. Like when we'd go to the beach and I would beg to leave because the ocean-y smell was too strong. Or when I cried because the dripping water from the faucet post-bath was too loud. And that's just the tip of dramatic iceberg.

And now, as a mama, I have a better understanding of why I react in certain ways to Q. I grew up believing I had a very natural maternal side. That mothering would come easy to me. That I'd want to be with my children all the time. Kids liked me. I liked kids. Boy, was I in for a shock. I crave alone time like Buddy the Elf craves syrup. I didn't realize this pre-Q because I always had alone time if I needed it. See, introverts recharge by having alone time. Alternately, extroverts get energized by being around others and prefer to be around people. I do enjoy being social, but balance is key. And Q is very much an extrovert. At least that's what he seems to be so far.

As Q gets older, some of my other aspects may be beneficial. I'll be able to intuit if he's being honest with me. I'll empathize with him when his heart gets broken for the first time (uh oh, I foresee a lot more tears in my future). I'll be more perceptive to his needs in school. Maybe I'm not such a horrendous mom after all. I'm just an INFP who needs to work on her ESTJ.

Now, mind you, I realize this test is far from perfect. I'm more of a sociologist at heart anyway. Here's a little description of my type, which includes some traits that are clearly NOT me:

"INFPs are introspective, private, creative and highly idealistic individuals that have a constant desire to be on a meaningful path. They are driven by their values and seek peace. Empathetic and compassionate, they want to help others and humanity as a whole (well, that sounds lovely, but Mother Teresa I am not). INFPs are imaginative, artistic and often have a talent for language and writing. They can also be described as easygoing, selfless, guarded, adaptable, patient (ha!) and loyal."

If any of you have taken the Myers-Briggs or take it after reading this, please post your results. What did you learn about yourself, my insightful readers?

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Prelude to Preschool: Pleading for Help

"Well I've missed my bus, I know I'm late, I've gotta do something I know I hate" ~ Frankie Smith

Here is where I make some use of this public blog to unabashedly beg for some mama advice. I have been researching preschools for Q for the past several months on and off (well, mostly off -- which will become more obvious as the post goes on). I'm confused. Overwhelmed. Late to the party. A failure of a mom. Shouldn't we be on several waiting lists by now?

Well, we're on one. We have visited a grand total of one school so far. And it wasn't even a real preschool -- it's more of a "playschool" run out of this lovely woman's home. It's for younger kids, as in Q could start right now if there was an opening. But there's not likely to be one anytime soon. And I know we need to do more. I do plan to attend a preschool fair next weekend and possibly visit another school on Tuesday. But ugh, I feel so lost. So many questions.

Most preschools only accept children who will be 3 by the December of the year they enroll (at least 2.9 years old). Q turns 3 in January. Does that mean he has to wait another year?  We're also considering toddler programs that meet two or three times a week for a couple of hours at a time. Worth it?

How am I supposed to know what would be best for our family? I'm pretty sure that I don't want to do Montessori because I like the play-based approach better, but is that really what's best for Q? Do we need to just try a school out and see if it works for him? I like the idea of a co-op, but I don't know if that's best for my work schedule. Right now I have a pretty flexible work environment, but that may not always be the case.

I'm also scared that Q might be that kid at preschool. He's still pretty aggressive with other kids. Mostly hair-pulling and grabbing. I can tell he wants to play with other kids but doesn't know how. We're trying to teach him, but it's hard when there aren't many opportunities to be around other kids. Partially because I'm afraid of litigious parents and  also because we just don't have many friends with little ones. But some sort of preschool will teach him these very social skills, right? Or should he have passed this aggressive phase before he starts a program? Maybe he's just not ready yet. Should I try some other types of weekly classes and activities with other kids first?

This preschool madness is one of the toughest parts about being the first of your friends in the area to have kids. It's also totally my bad for not making more attempts to meet other parents in our 'hood. Whereas some new moms might have the problem of getting overwhelmed by preschool suggestions from other parents, I am quite underwhelmed. I feel so alone in this.

If any of you readers out there have any insight or stories to share, I would be forever at your mercy. Totally owe you big time. Help me. Pretty please.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Props to My Preggos

"Oh, baby, what you've done to me, you make me feel so good inside" ~ Aretha Franklin

At the moment I know about five women who are pregnant for the first time. Baby boom, anyone? Domino effect that I started? I hardly give myself that much power. But still. I figure it's about time that I share a little wisdom from the other side -- AKA what to cherish while you are pregnant but still don't have a little one attached to your boob/hip/hair/knees.The umbilical cord attachment is like a vacation compared to the external stuff. So, in no particular order . . .

1. Okay, so this is terribly obvious, but SLEEP! If you weren't a napper before, become one. Go to sleep early and stay in bed late. Even if you have a hard time sleeping, just lay around in bed and daydream. That will be such a novelty post-baby and you will miss all of that unproductive lolling about. Desperately.

2. Meals to yourself. Eat them leisurely. Savor every bite. Because soon you will be cramming food into your mouth at warp speed. Experiencing pregnancy heartburn? That's nothing compared to new-mom-and-I-have-no-time-to-eat-anything-but-this-leftover-burrito-heel-in-49-seconds heartburn. And not long after, your precious little one yells "NUM!" while you try to eat your lunch, and you have to hand more than half over to this ravenous, bottomless pit of a creature. 

3. Are you an avid movie-watcher or book reader? Well, stock up on your movies and books now because it will be a while before you have time to sit through an entire movie before face-planting into your popcorn or passing out and drooling all over the pages of your book.

4. Obsess over yourself. I know that pregnancy may be the most intense, craziest thing you have gone through thus far in life. There are a million things to worry about and no alcoholic beverages to serve as an escape. Your body feels like it has been invaded by a bulbous parasite. And it has. But it will be the most beautiful, amazing parasite you've ever seen. Also, the most demanding and easiest way to forget entirely about your own needs. So, enjoy being pregnant. Enjoy obsessing over your body. Enjoy having time to think about the way your cuticles look.

5. Which leads me to pampering (and I'm not talking about diapers). Pamper yourself, ladies! Manicures, pedicures, prenatal massages, facials, waxing. Just do it. Because soon enough showering for longer than 3 minutes becomes your idea of indulging.

6. Accept others' kind gestures. When you're pregnant, people offer to do all sorts of nice things for you. Like giving up their seat for you on a bus or at a social event. Offering to carry a heavy package to your car. Rubbing your feet. Please accept these offers (unless it's a stranger offering to rub your feet -- that's just creepy). Even if you feel that you can handle these things on your own. Soon, you will be a bag lady, hauling all kinds of "necessary" crap for the kiddo, and offers of help become a distant cry from your past.

7. Hang with the homies. Get out of the house. Let's just say that being home with a newborn for several weeks can lead to a fun mix of feeling isolated and going stir-crazy. In fact, go have a spa day with your girls!

8. Cherish time alone with your partner . . . and sex. You may not feel at your sexiest when pregnant (or maybe you're one of those Heidi Klum types and we all hate you), but just get it in already. Be spontaneous! Spend a Sunday together in bed. Watch movies, eat leisurely meals, count each other's moles, accept that foot massage, and smoosh it up. Because once the little prince or princess comes, you have to schedule date nights and sexy time. And you're exhausted. And it's just not the same. (But date nights do become pretty special, so there's that to look forward to . . .)

And despite what all of this sounds like, yes, it really is all worth it.

Photo by Nick Rivera

Friday, January 07, 2011

2 Years Old: Mama Meltdown

"Two of hearts, two hearts that beat as one. I need you, I need you!" ~ Stacey Q

Two. That's my favorite number. And I'm not going to say that every year, my darling Q. Just ask your Auntie/ Future MIL Sarah. When we were in college and she would ask me to pick a number between 1 and 10 to help her make a tough decision (mostly when we were out grabbing some food), I would always choose 2. It became pointless because she knew I would pick 2. Like the chicken sandwich would be any number from 1 to 5 and the salad would be 6 to 10. So, chicken sandwich. Get it? Anyway. This is about you, not your mama and her bff. You are 2 freakin' years old, little man!

Just as the oh so deep Stacey Q suggests, we have two hearts that have beat as one for the last two years. But you're becoming more independent now. You want to do things your way. You rule Guido. You are Prince Quince. My heart sinks into my stomach at the thought of you needing me less and less, while it also swells with pride. The tug and pull. My heart can't take all of this tumbling.

Speaking of tumbling, Daddy likes to say that you were adopted from Romania and bred to be an Olympic champion. After watching a gymnastics class recently, you went for it and started somersaulting. And then I showed you gymnastics on TV, and you ran and leaped and somersaulted some more. You are amazing. And you are not adopted -- you get it from your mama. I'd better sign you up for some classes soon. You'll be the next Paul Hamm (I had to look that up, I don't really know male gymnasts. Before you, I mean.)

What else? Your love of trucks continues to grow -- as does your collection, thanks to Santa and his assorted elves. You still try to eat markers instead of drawing with them. You are barely stringing two word sentences together, but you say new words on a daily basis, even some with two syllables. You are spoiled beyond all hopes of having healthy eating habits by your doting grandparents and are now obsessed with "COOKS" (aka cookies). You wave to strangers who happen by, shining your brilliant blues at them. You still give the most delicious snuggles. And I am still your everlovin' Meem.

Quincy, it's your 2nd birthday. Happy Birthday, Quincy!

Now, without further ado . . .

Monday, January 03, 2011

Resolving to Evolve in 2011

"Time to save the world; Where in the world is all the time; So many things I still don't know; So many times I've changed my mind" ~ Erykah Badu

Image via here

New Year's resolutions? Who me? It's true -- I'm not typically one to go for a lengthy list of resolutions. We already know I'm one of those flip-floppers (I'd make a terrible politician). So, I'll keep the list short and call them aspirations. Per usual.

But I do aim to grow. The past two years have been filled with such intense, life-altering substance. Like a ridiculously long psychedelic drug trip. New life, loss of life, job changes, new home, new world. At first it's scary and then it becomes familiar. Comfortable even. I don't want to get all hooked on change. But I want to welcome it and be ready to roll along with whatever life may dole out. The highs and the lows. And I can already tell that 2011 is going to be a head-spinner of a year. So much to look forward to.

1. Take more and better photos.

2. Dance more often.

3. Be kinder to myself and others. More patient, too.

4. Embrace my ever-evolving world.

Happy New Year to all of my lovely readers! You truly keep me going and I thank you for sticking with me.