Thursday, March 6, 2014

Oh Lordy....

So I finally upgraded my tag lines. What else is there to do when you are stranded in an airport for hours? Well I did have wine at 9am but that's not the point.  The point is I'm no longer almost 40. I am 40. The big 4-0.  You know "oh Lordy look who's 40". Nothing cool like the dirty 30s or nifty 50s. 

40.

One thing interesting about middle age? You never round up.  My stepson will be 8 in a month.  If I say he is 7 he reminds me "ALMOST 8".   Since October I've had to say 7 AND A HALF for fear of a melt down.  No one ever says they are 41 and a half.  We wince as we say 43. Sometimes it comes out as 43? No. Seriously. Between 36 and 39, I could never remember my actually age and I always answered in a form of a question. But you ask a 6 year old? Oh, they know how old they are. To the day. And don't get it wrong. They are proud of their age. 

But honestly, so far it's been good to be 40. Or at least interesting. In two months, I have:

Tried pole dancing 
Signed up for a triathlon in September 
Saw the Long Island Medium in person
Planned a trip to NYC and NOLA

People tell me the feel their 40s are their best years yet. Really? Better than my 20s when I could eat a whole cake EVERY DAY without gaining a pound? Or get only 3 hours sleep and be fully functional?

So I started thinking, what have I learned by 40 that I wish I had known sooner or I wish others would grasp?  Things that would make life easier if understood?

I came up with 10 things.

  1. I used to walk into a room and hope people liked me. Now? I hope I like them.  Life is too short to spend it trying to impress sucky people.
  2. It is better to have a small circle of close friends with good values, who are loyal and genuinely care than 100 acquaintances that will meet you at the bar on Fridays and make you feel popular but won't stop you from making dumb choices that night.
  3. People are thinking about you or talking about you less than you think. Don't be so egotistical. And even if they are, it's still about their own issues and not about you. 
  4. When someone pops into your mind let them know. Don't let the moment pass. Tell them. It doesn't need to be an hour call. A text. A Facebook message will do. Just tell them.  Life is too short and you could change their day.
  5. Don't sweat the small stuff.  How do you know it's small? Ask yourself if you will care a month from now, a year from now or 5 years from now and react accordingly.
  6. Making friends after college is hard. But it can be done. It just takes EFFORT. 
  7. Forgiveness is not for the person that did (or you think did) something wrong. It's not about forgetting or accepting bad behavior.  It is for you.  Let go of the grudge.  It will just eat at you while the other person is more often than not oblivious and going along their merry way.  If it's still to hard for you to forgive them, just tell yourself you forgive them for doing the best they could at the time.  It probably wasn't really about you as much as their own shortcomings! And if it was all about you? They can't help being an asshole.  Take solace in the fact is they were an asshole before you, they will be one after you. That is their cross to bear, not yours.  Trust me.  They know they are assholes, even if they act like they don't around you.
  8. You can't get around eating right.  This is hard for me. I love good food.  But you can't jog 3 miles and then eat a juicy gourmet hamburger with sweet potato fries, a good drink and a rich dessert and expect to lose weight or be healthy.  Health starts in the kitchen and continues in the gym.  Just because the girl beside you is 100lbs and eating chicken wings, doesn't mean she's healthy. And although I know this, I struggle. Every. Single. Day. In fact I want a doughnut right now.
  9. Listen more. Talk less. Judge no one.  Always remember, "There goes I but for the grace of God".
  10. If you learn to TRULY love yourself, others will love you too.  The rest of your life will just fall into place.  And if it doesn't or they don't? Screw them! You love yourself.
I was going to wrap up the post here but realized many of them I only came to realize when I admitted I was making myself crazy over thinking things and needed help.  So #11 would be: It's OK to ask for help.  It doesn't make you weak.  Pushing your ego aside and putting everything out there makes you strong.  So whether it is asking for help with emotions, at work or directions ---- ask.  You won't regret it.

So here's to my next 40 years!



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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Pacifier, Smashifier!

I am by no means an expert on parenting.  This past weekend confirms the fact that I often just stumble into dumb luck most of the time.

Little man will be two in a couple of months and we decided that it was time for him to kick the pacifier. 

He only used it for naps and bedtime but it was a pain in my ass.  My regular readers know that I throw a handful of pacifiers in his crib at night in case he accidently throws one out.   I don’t have the temperament to go back and find it when he wakes up at 3am crying hysterical.  So, I decided early on to make it a smorgasbord of binkies every night.  Unfortunately, he still managed to lose them all some nights and wake up screaming.

The thing I find ironic is that the whole time I was pregnant; I swore that I was not going to fall into the pacifier trap.  In fact, I only registered for one pacifier that I was going to keep just in case there was an emergency.

Then the hospital rolled in my little newborn bundle of joy with what in his mouth?  A pacifier.   Now I was really confused.   Everything I read said not to give them one until they took to the breast and here they were sticking one in him his first moments of breath.    How did I not know this would happen?

I blame them for his addiction and not breast feeding.   Damn hospitals.

I tried not to give it to him when we got home, but 3 days of that thing in the hospital was enough to cause withdrawals.   For both of us.   The pacifier is a magical thing and I think parents get addicted to the way they silence a kid just as much as a kid get hooked on sucking one.

So off to the store we went to stock up.

Fast forward to almost two years later, he still used one to sleep.

But times were changing and my baby was just assigned his 2014 New Year’s resolution – kick the habit.

But how?

Typical me -- I googled and pinterested (is that even a word) it for days.

Go cold turkey.  Wean from naps first.  Cut a hole in it.  Let the kid throw it away.  Have them place it in a Build-A-Bear.

Now that last one, I questioned.  Knowing my kid?  He would spend every waking moment screaming and trying to get out.  It seemed like a disaster in the making to me but it also seemed so cute.   Looking back I think I just wanted to go to Build-A-Bear.

But when should we do it?  It had to be a weekend because I was not going to work after a night of crying.   And it needed to be a weekend without my stepson because I didn’t think I wanted two kids in the house while I was sleep deprived.

I realized the upcoming 3-day MLK weekend was perfect! We didn’t have my stepson and  I would get an extra day to recover.

But no, we had tickets to Billy Joel that Friday night and I wasn’t going to throw away the pacifiers and have my mom watch him the first night.  That just didn't seem fair to either of them.

I went back and forth, back and forth.  What to do?  I realized I was more nervous about the process than he was and was trying to find an excuse.

Then fate stepped in.

We got back home from the Billy Joel concert to a frazzled Grandma who insisted that we needed to talk about my son’s bedtime routine because she had a horrible night of it.

I knew my son had been fighting against bedtime the past couple of days, but it was still a 20 minute (MAX) process.

What she described sounded like an absolute horror.

“Thank goodness we didn’t decide to wean him off his pacifier tonight – could you imagine?”, I muttered.

“Ummmmm, pacifier?” my mom responded.  “I forgot he used a pacifier to sleep.  You mean I did this to myself?!”

WAIT????!!   WHAT???!!!    The little man was currently sleeping without a pacifier?

And that is how we broke him of it.  

I won’t say it went smoothly after that.   He woke up at 4am and cried until he passed out exhausted at 6am.

I ended up taking a pacifier out, cutting the tip off and showing him it was “broken” and then letting him watch me throw it away.

For two days, he looked in the trash can hoping it had been magically resurrected.  Fortunately for me, it didn’t register than only one binkie was in there.   He never questioned where the others were.

Now we have to turn on his turtle so he can see the stars and the moon on his ceiling, but I think I like that as much as he does.

Other than that?  I think it went pretty well.

I knew I could do it…it was a walk in the park.


PS:  Oh yeah...thanks mom!

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Decisions

There is going to be a big change to my website soon.  OK, you probably wouldn't notice it but it is big for me.  My tag line will change from “The Diary of a Working, Slightly Nuts, Almost 40 Years Old First Time Mother” to a “40 Year Old”.   Yes.  My 40th birthday is only a few weeks away and it exhausts me to even think about it.

I know everyone says that age is just a number and I don’t look 40, but age does play an important factor in one the most often questions I get asked.
 
“Are you going to have another child?”

I may not look 40 but my ovaries are every bit of 40 years old.  Sometimes at night, I can hear them withering away into dust.  I cover my ears with a pillow to drown out their screams
.
I had my son when I was 38.  I knew I was on borrowed time.  I have blogged before about how women over 35 are treated by doctors – like freaks of nature.   So, when I got pregnant within a month of trying, I felt a sense of relief.  Then I immediately had 9 months of dread that my old uterus wasn’t going to keep my baby safe.  And then there was the consuming fear of SIDS on he was born.   But yes, for a moment I had some relief that I was able to be a mom.

But now 40 is around the corner and we are forced to decide if we want a 2nd child.  If it is not now, it probably will be never.  

Yes, I know that the 40s are the new 30s and it seems to be in to have a child at an older age.  For example….

Halley Berry (46)
Gwen Stephani  (43)
Salma Hayek  (41)
Kelly Preston (47)
Mariah Cary (42)
Marcia Cross (45)
Nancy Grace (47)
Tina Fey (41)



I could go on and on.    When you are rich and beautiful – you can do anything. 

Also a study out of Denmark came out saying that fertility doesn't really drop after 35.  It is more like 41.  They stated "78 percent of 35-to-40-year-olds got pregnant within a year, compared with 84 percent of 20-to-34-year-olds."   So the good news is I have one more year to decide.

One more year to stress about the decision.

Awesome.

Great.

Fantastic.

Like everything else in my life, I started thinking about the pros and cons of having another child in my 40s.

Pros

  • I am more laid back now.  Not as many things bother me.  I tend to go with the flow more than I used to.  Crayons on the wall?  Grab the Mr. Clean Eraser.   Kid with diarrhea?   Rub some Vicks under my nose and refill the antibacterial hand sanitizer bottle. 
  • I am more secure with myself.  I no longer walk in a room hoping that people will like me.  I now walk into a room hoping I like them.   “Those people” include my kids.  
  • We are more financially secure.    That means I can afford a good shrink and the good drugs.
  • I have had many of life’s experiences already.  Having kids keeps me home and from making any more bad life choices.
  • Having kids makes me more focused on family and health.   If I am going to be chasing after kids in my 40s, I better be in shape. 
  • When my kids are still in high school, I may qualify for senior citizen discounts.  That makes shopping for school clothes less expensive.
  • If I have a daughter, she won’t want to borrow my “grandma” clothes.
  • They can help color my gray hair with brown Crayola markers faster.


Cons
  • Obvious stress of having a miscarriage or birth defects increase.
  • Not sure my creaking bones can handle it.  I can’t even get off the couch without groaning.
  • I need to toughen up more so when people ask if they are my grandkids, I won’t be bothered.
  • There will be a huge culture gap.   They will never know what a tape deck is and I will never understand half of their texting lingo.
  • I am not old enough to be senile.  I still remember what it was like to be able to leave the house quickly and for long periods of time.  That will be long gone with two kids.
  • I am going to be one of those “creepy” old ladies I currently judge buying socks in the baby aisle.

One last pro....Gosh!  We make cute babies!  We would be doing the world a favor.

Decisions, decisions….

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

October 4th.   That was my last post.  Pathetic.

I only have one excuse.

Life.

As usual, with everything I do, I either go big or go home.  I couldn't go big, so I went home.

The main reason I took a hiatus was work.  They asked me to get my CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) certification.   For those of you who are not familiar with it, it is a bear of a test that confirms an individual's knowledge in the field of information security.   I guess I am official now. Whatever that means.

It was brutal.   There was no way I could keep up writing, working, being a mom and a wife, sleep, write this blog – and pass the test.  One had to go and I didn't think I could write this blog poor, living in a cardboard box under an overpass.  Nor could I get rid of my husband and kids.  At least that would be frowned upon.  And well, you really don’t want to be around me with no sleep.  So, the blog was placed on hold.

To give an idea of the stress I was under, half way through the test I went to the bathroom and, with tears in my eyes, told myself that passing this test did not define me.   If I failed, I would still be a good person, a mom, a wife and a friend.   I channeled Stuart Smalley:  I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!

I then wiped my tears and rocked that test on December 5th.

Although I was happy, I was a little disappointed fireworks and a year supply of ice cream did not spontaneous appear.

After that, there was the Christmas party that I decided to throw for a few kids that ended up including 15 children, a bouncy house and a visit from Santa.

Add an over indulgent holiday, family in town and several failed Pinterest attempts and that pretty much covers my time over the last couple of months.

I think you are caught up.

So here is to a happy, healthy and hopefully productive blog in 2014!

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