Goodbye, Nani

With my son’s two year birthday on the horizon, we knew it was nearing time we bid adieu to his pacifier that he so lovingly refers to as “Nani” (nah-knee). For nearly two years this tiny thing made of plastic and silicone has been my son’s security blanket, just as much of a crutch to me as it was him.

I never intended to use a pacifier on him. Part of that whole “nipple confusion” crap. It wasn’t until I hauled him into urgent care when he was about three weeks old due to his non-stop screaming that the pediatrician told me to try a pacifier. Sure enough, that was gold. I popped that baby into his mouth and never looked back.

I knew there would be a price to pay later, but I never really worried about weaning him off of it. It was definitely marked as “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.” To my surprise, I found myself at the foot of that bridge last week after my son’s first dentist appointment.

My son did as good as to be expected for a not-quite-two-year old, and the doctor raved about how good his enamel was and his mouth full of teeth. However, he did show us how his two front teeth are starting to bow out slightly due to the paci use. He said as long as he is off the binky by three years old, the teeth will shift back to normal. He wasn’t overly concerned about it, as I’m sure he sees it a lot. But there it was, a flashing sign telling me that Nani had to go.

My husband and I decided that quitting cold turkey was the way to go. The good and bad of my son’s paci use was it was limited to sleep time. The good is that he wasn’t so attached to it that it was in his mouth 24/7. The bad — he’s never been the best sleeper, and the paci provided a little bit of solace. So I knew removing Nani from the equation was going to mean less sleep for all of us, at least for a while.

Night one was fairly rough. It was about an hour of crying, calling out for his “Nani.” With “Mama” thrown in there everyone once in a while behind desperate pleas, it was enough to make my heart break. Fortunately, my husband was manning this breakdown and stayed with our son in his room until he calmed down enough to fall asleep. This was repeated once more during the night.

The days following have progressed much smoother, to the point that he may ask for his Nani only once a day. But with the removal of that crutch, it’s become apparent that our son has not quite learned how to fall asleep on his own yet. So we have more work a head of us. Feel free to send wine.



The New Dining Experience

Like many other days of new experiences living with a toddler, yesterday I found myself experiencing a new way to dine. There I sat on a toddler-sized chair with my knees peeking over the top of the table with my almost two-year old on my lap. I noshed on a leftover hamburger sliced in half and stuffed into a hot dog bun, while my son chatted gleefully rubbing his cold pickle-juiced hands all over me. It would have been a great moment to capture to show my son how we lived and loved in his early years.

So, you may be asking why I was eating dinner at a child’s table. If you are questioning this, you probably have not experienced life with a toddler. Toddlers are tiny dictators who are on the verge of a total meltdown at the drop of a hat – literally. So I do what I can to keep him happy while trying to get food on the table. Yesterday this meant sitting at his table with him on my lap to get him to eat his dinner.

There we were, the two of us enjoying our food together. It’s not a moment I could have ever dreamed up, but now it’s a special (and humorous) memory that I have.

I’m learning more every day that life with a toddler is unpredictable and messy, and improvisation is my new best friend. As my son grows older and wishes with all the might his tiny body can muster to assert some independence, this desire manifests in a toddler meltdown complete with screaming, crying, whining, and desperation. This is teaching me patience. I constantly work to calmly understand what he is trying to tell me and just go with it.

Thunder and Fireworks

In case I haven’t stressed it enough, sleep is very precious to me. A full night of uninterrupted sleep is worth more to me than my weight in gold. For real.

I’ve always been a sleeper. Before having my son, it was a necessity for me to get 9-10 hours of sleep each night, and waking up before 7:30 am was laughable. In the last two plus years – through pregnancy and the arrival of my son – a good night’s sleep has been a shifty stranger, constantly taunting me with its unattainable possibility. I consider it a good night if I am up just once during the night.

So let me express my disdain for any loud noises that transform my sleep from tolerable to torturous. Case in point: thunder and fireworks. One of these is completely out of the hands of us simple humans; just a part of nature. I can accept that. I may not be happy with it, but it’s uncontrollable.

The other is nuisance brought on by a bunch of disrespectful pyromaniacs. In my neck of the woods, it is legal for people to shoot off fireworks over a week before the 4th of July, not than anyone follows that. People started pissing me off in the middle of June with this shit.

Personally, I think fireworks are an incredible waste of money. It would be more entertaining for me to watch you literally light your money on fire. People spend a ridiculous amount of money on a few seconds of sparks. But, this is America and people have a right to blow their money as they please. I can live with that. What I can’t live with is people who decide to light off incredibly loud explosives on a Monday-Thursday night when people who have to work the next day are trying to sleep. Assholes. Seriously.

With a dog and a child who are woken from sleep terrified of the bombs going off outside their windows, it is myself who is left to console an old, four-legged fur baby and a terrified toddler who insists on laying in our bed.

I know there are people out there who would say, “Who cares, that’s what you get for having a kid. Deal with it.” And to those people, I would give them the finger. I don’t think I should have to deal with people being disrespectful assholes just because I have a kid. Get a grip.

The past two weeks have been terrible in terms of storms and fireworks. One night, I was so livid about people setting off fireworks after it took forever to get my son down that I was one boom away from storming down the street to give them a piece of my mind. To put it in perspective, I am a very laid back person who dislikes confrontation, and I was ready to throw down.

I can’t wait for the 4th to be over and people to get their pyro tendencies out of their system. Stocking up on a family pack of ear plugs while we weather out the fire storm.

For the love of God, please don’t call me Ma’am

Becoming a mom changes so much. Everything that defined you before kids gets pushed below the now most significant defining attribute of “mom.” Some women embrace this, and that’s a beautiful thing.

There are definite benefits to being acknowledged as a mom. I no longer get carded when purchasing alcohol. People take one look at this tired mug and sympathetically sling drinks my way. You also get the empathetic smile and head nod when you pass other moms in public and your toddler is showing his age. Mom tribe.

But it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Not only feeling like I aged ten or so years since having my son, my feelings have been validated in public on more than one occasion. Most recently this past weekend. With summer in full swing, the hubby, our boy, and I trekked down to a local community festival to take in the sights (and food, of course). Dressed in my modest-length shorts, T-shirt, and baseball cap, I walked by a vendor booth with my son on my hip and was greeted with “How are you doing today, ma’am?” I locked eyes with the guy who said it and realized he had to be around my age. I held back my urge to cringe and gave a polite smile instead. I hurried off, half annoyed and half embarrassed by a stranger making me feel at least 30 years older than I am.

While I appreciate the politeness of being addressed as “ma’am,” it’s something that I would barely feel comfortable saying to someone my mom’s age (who happens to be 60). Having just turned 30 less than a month ago, there is nothing like confirming my youth is over by making me feel twice my age with the M word.

I would like to know at one point I went from looking like a “miss” to a “ma’am.” Was it my shorts? My pulled-back hair and minimal makeup? The kid clinging to me? I think we need to take some time to determine “ma’am” physical qualities. And then burn that list.

Here’s a little tip to anyone who likes to be polite and say “ma’am”: just go with “miss.” Even if you suspect a woman has lived through WWII, women want to feel young, and strangers recognizing their youth is a nice feeling – it may even make their day.

Now let’s get trending on social media with #don’tcallmema’am (see, I’m hip with the youngsters, right?)

How “Wonder Woman” Inspired Me

A rare event happened this weekend. The stars aligned and a babysitter was available for my husband and I to have an evening away for just the two of us. For date night, I had one thing in mind: Wonder Woman. I was adamant on my choice; it was non-negotiable.

Before having our son, my husband and I would go see movies in the theater often. We love movies. And perhaps my husband loves the popcorn. These days, seeing a movie in theaters is a real luxury. In fact, it had been a good six months since I last saw a movie in the theaters. Another sad reality is that I really have no clue what movies are out in theaters at any given time. With the exception of Wonder Woman. You’d have to be living under a rock to not have heard the buzz surrounding the release of Wonder Woman. It’s been crushing the box office with it’s refreshing female led and directed perspective.

I am in no way a comic fanatic, but I do happen to enjoy the action films they often inspire. And Wonder Woman has been the best I’ve seen to date. Gal Gadot may be my new hero/girl crush. I’m not going to go into any kind of review of the movie; you need to get your butt to the theaters to see it!

What I do want to talk about is how inspiring I found it. Seriously. I never thought I could be inspired by a fictional Hollywood action film in any serious sense of the word. But I think its a combination of the story, and how it was created and represented. Watching the film, you definitely get the feeling that there is a different tone than other action films. It’s a female dominated story and it never loses sight of that.

Diana Prince (aka Wonder Woman) never backs down, even when standing in a room full of male military generals (the epitome of a traditional man’s world). Even when Steve tries to quiet her and keep her in the background, she refuses to be silenced. Without getting too political, I think the timing of this film couldn’t be better for feminism.

On top of being emotionally strong and confident in who she is, Diana and her Amazon tribe are bad-ass physical combat warriors. An aspect of this I found personally inspiring was hearing that Gal was five-months pregnant when doing re-shoot scenes, and doing all the action sequences like it’s no big deal.

Even more fascinating was listening to an interview of her explaining the dynamic on set. The traditional general role expectations were flipped. It was the men bringing the kids to visit their moms on set. The men were in the supportive partner role, while the women were working and kicking ass on screen.

I think it was just so refreshing for me to see women be such commanding forces. For me, it’s been easy to get lost in motherhood. A large part of my life is dedicated to chasing around a tiny human cleaning up after him and trying to raise him not to be an asshole. This has meant, putting other aspects of my life and who I am on the back burner –– one of importance being my health and wellness.

I’ve always been an active person, playing all types of sports when I was younger and continuing to be active into adulthood. In fact, I was hitting the gym 4-5 days a week when I was pregnant, and I felt great! My diet has never been a huge issue since I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 7 years old. I’ve grown up trying to eat the right foods and keeping junk food to a minimum.

But life with a toddler is crazy and I’ve let myself slip. At 30 years old, I just wasn’t feeling strong and confident. This is where watching Wonder Woman led to my awakening. Seeing these moms and women of all ages being physically strong and confident lit a fire under my butt to get in shape and be as healthy as I can. Getting a part of my life back on track can only lead to me being a better mom.

Thanks to Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot, and an entire cast of women who inspired me to find my strength again. I encourage all moms out there who may be feeling like an alternate version of themselves to find something that ups your confidence and returns a piece of you that may have gone dormant while wading through the rough waters of motherhood.

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