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Coming Home To The Benjamin Boys

I’ve been gone for six days – working…and enjoying the “break” from my babies…It’s not a real break because I work long hours, but it’s my time in the adult world, and I do enjoy it…

I am often asked if I miss the boys…and I’m a little ashamed to admit that my answer is usually, “Not yet!”  It’s true, though…I am with my children 24/7/365 – the only break is work and sleep…and any parent will tell you that sleep isn’t a break because I wake up if they even breathe wrong…

But when I walk through the door and see their little faces, I realize in that moment just how much I missed them while I was gone…did I miss packing lunches, potty training, nap times, bedtimes, bath times?  Not really…but I missed those faces…I missed seeing their eyes light up when they see me…I missed hugging and kissing them…I missed tucking them in at night and having them fight over who gets the most kisses (I keep it as even as possible, in case you’re wondering)…

I’m tired from a long week…I’m emotionally drained because switching gears is always hard…but I enjoy coming home to the Benjamin Boys…

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My Thanks to the Benjamin Boys

I would like to thank Aidan and Sean for performing a public service for me, their mother, the one who would kill and die for them…they used their weekend wisely, judiciously…they have made sure that I will not miss them while I’m traveling for work this coming week…

Isn’t that sweet of them?  I think so…they are so good to their mother…such good boys…

For a brief shining moment, I was happy that their age difference doesn’t impede their ability to play together for long hours…until one child began whining about the toy the other child was holding…and no, it wasn’t just Sean upset that Aidan had his toy…it wasn’t just Aidan upset that Sean was holding a toy that Aidan hadn’t thought of in months…it was both – often simultaneously…

There were those moments when I thought about how wonderful it was that they would let their tired Mommy sleep while they played early in the morning…until I realized every single baby wipe had been pulled out of the container (thanks Sean) or that all of their bedding was brought downstairs to make a “hideout” (thanks Aidan)…

So boys, thank you for making it easy for me to be gone for six days…I will be happy to be home, surrounded by loving, sticky, crying little boys once again…but in the meantime, is it time to leave yet and are we there yet?

 

Conversations With Sean

I heard a little sound behind me.

Me: “You pooted, Sean-Sean!”

Sean: “No, I farted, Mommy…”

And then I heard it again…

*****

Sean: “Where’s Aidan?”

Me: “He’s in the bathroom, Sean.”

Sean: “You mean he’s in the potty, Mommy.”

Oh, I thought we were using the proper words for things today.

*****

Sean: “Are we going to the washing car today, Mommy?”

Me: “No, we’re not going to the car wash today, baby.”

Sean: “It’s the washing car, Mommy.  It’s called the washing car.  Say washing car!”

For the record, I did not say “washing car.”

*****

Sean: “Where are we going, Mommy?”

Me: “We’re going to pick up Aidan.”

Sean: “And then what?”

Me: “And then we’re going home, Sean-Sean.”

Sean: “Yaaaaay! Yay!”

Me: “Yay!”

Sean: “Don’t say ‘yay,’ Mommy.  Don’t say it!”

*****

His vocabulary exploded about two months ago…but its his thought processes that are the most fascinating.  I don’t remember Aidan being like this at Sean’s age…so I have to assume it’s relatively unique to Sean.  It’s kind of fun talking to him…

Daycare vs. Home

There’s a battle going on with Sean…the battle between daycare and home.  God, I hope daycare wins…

At daycare, Sean will…

  • Wear big boy underwear (Thomas, of course)
  • Use the big boy potty – with little to no help
  • Drink from a cup (with no straw)
  • Drink water
  • Eat carrots
  • Say his shapes, colors, and ABCs
  • Play with something other than a Thomas toy

At home, Sean will..,

  • Only wear diapers or Pull-Ups
  • Refuse to use the potty, even his Cars potty, and cry when I ask him to try
  • Only use his cup with a lid and a straw, unless the sippy cup is available
  • Drink only juice, chocolate milk if I bribe him
  • Eat PopTarts, bananas, or whatever I’m having
  • Refuse to say his shapes, colors, or ABCs…and pretend that green is red and that blue is purple
  • Play with Thomas, while watching Thomas, while listening to a Thomas story and making up a Thomas story while he’s playing with Thomas…”Wheel-turn by wheel-turn, Thomas chuffed away, Mommy…”

I think I’m going to let the daycare win this one…they seem to be raising a fine young man!

One of Those Moms

It’s a stereotype, and all stereotypes have some basis in truth, but I don’t want to be one of those moms…that mom who has no life outside of her children…who doesn’t know how to function without them…who’s whole world centers around her children and nothing else…

I want to have meaningful relationships separate from my boys…I want to have interests outside of my children…and I am unapologetic about wanting that…I’m no good to the boys if I make them the center of my universe…

That being said, I can feel it starting to happen…or I can feel the worry that it will happen starting to creep in…me worry about something? Crazy talk! Whatever…if you’ve read more than one other post, you already know I worry about worrying, that’s how much I worry…

From 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, I have a full work-life filled with interactions, conversations, understandings, misunderstandings, growth, knowledge, learning…I talk to probably 100 people in a day sometimes, all with different issues, questions, gripes, complaints…and I wear 10 different hats…I enjoy that part of my life…

From 4:30 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, and of course the weekends, my life consists of Aidan and Sean…which is a wonderful thing…except that my life consists only of Aidan and Sean…no money for a babysitter, no group of friends that I hang out  with (yes, I have friends…), and sometimes no interaction with another adult outside of work (or at the very least minimal interaction)…I’ve gone entire days where I’ve spoken to not one other person beside my children before…it’s a lonely life…I admit that…and it’s not a complaint…it’s just reality…

And what I can feel happening is that my life is narrowing down to two little boys and every move they make…that’s not a horrible thing…I enjoyed the hour Sean spent kissing my cheeks and laying all over me today…I laughed when both boys attacked me and each one kissed my cheeks…when I told Sean my stomach didn’t feel good, he demanded to see my tummy, and placed a little hand on it and said he needed to make it better – and then leaned down to kiss it…yeah, that’s a heart-melting moment…those are precious moments…I savor them…I hope I always remember them…

But eventually these boys will get older, and I will no longer be “Mommy.”  What then?  How do I cope when the center of my universe no longer wants to be the center of my universe?  And believing (as I do) that it’s a little unhealthy to make them the center of my universe, how the hell do I combat it when I don’t have any other options?  Thank God for blogging (late at night when everyone else has gone to bed) or I’d have nothing…but should I be concerned that I’ve turned my main blog into a blog about my children?

Because, damn it, I really don’t want to be one of those moms…

A Break In The Monotony

I felt an emotional moodiness creep up on me today…I think it’s been working up to this point for days…everything feels too close, too restrictive…I want space – which is impossible to have…my emotions are at the surface…and on the drive home, I could feel myself going inward – to try and figure out why

Part of the moodiness is a desire for something different…some intangible thing (that I have no name for)…and it makes me cranky…

When I realized I was overly cranky with the boys, I decided to go against my nature and get out of my head a little…so we had a little adventure tonight…

Sean is rocking the big boy underwear at daycare now…which means he comes home in them…

Sitting in the pick-up line to get Aidan, I hear, “Mommy, I gotta poop.”

Aw, hell no…

“Can you hold it?  Just squeeze, baby…”  Yes, I explained to a two year old how to “hold it.”

“O…..k….Mommy…” Clearly, he was trying to squeeze.

We stopped at Burger King on the way home to use their potty because he really had to go…the thought that this was just the beginning of a loan road of potty training came and went in my mind…I walked him into the bathroom, and he immediately said, “Noooooooooooooo!”

I refuse to force him to use the bathroom, further traumatizing him, so we left Burger King.  But of course, by the time we got home, there was a little mess to deal with.

This was a moment I could feel that moodiness and crankiness closing in on me.

Idea time…I got the boys their baths and into their pajamas…and we went to Sonic for dinner.  We sat in the car, ate our greasy junk food (my stomach is hating me right now), and ordered our dessert to go.  The car was off, the windows were down, and it was almost like a picnic…better than a restaurant – where they tend to get cranky…even better than the McDonald’s Play Place – where I tend to get cranky…

It was emotional eating at it’s best…but for one night, we broke up the monotony of our lives…we had a small adventure…and for brief moment, I kept the emotions at bay…

The Benjamin Boys Are Pretty Freaking Awesome

I walked into Sean’s daycare class today…they were practicing shapes.  Sean raced to show me all the stamps on his hand – one for each shape he knew.

I looked at Cute Daycare Teacher…

Me: “He says his shapes for you?”

Cute Daycare Teacher: “Absolutely! And his letters and his numbers! He knows shapes like hexagon – don’t you, Sean-Sean?”

Everyone calls him Sean-Sean now…Lord, the things I start…

Apparently he’s using the potty like it’s nothing, too…we’ll bring the Thomas big boy underwear tomorrow so he can try those out during the day…

We did play a new game in the care on the way to pick up Aidan…I said one letter, and then he said a couple, and then I said the next, and then he said a few more…all the way to Z…we tried it with numbers – he’s still working on those…

*****

Aidan earned Member of the Week for his team at Boys and Girls Club…it came with a nifty certificate and a coupon for Dodge’s Fried Chicken (it’s part gas station – only in the South, baby!)…guess what we’re having for dinner later this week…especially since Friday is fried chicken night?

I was pretty impressed with him…considering two weeks ago he got in trouble for smacking another child in the face…

Aidan: “I didn’t hit him that hard, Mom!”

Right, like the police will one day care that the assault and battery charges being pressed against you are for a beating that wasn’t that hard…

*****

This positive reinforcement thing seems to work, too…Monday night is taco night…

Aidan: “What can I do to help?”

Me: stunned silence…

And then I put him to work…grating cheese, getting the sour cream out of the fridge…hell, y’all he even offered to help take out the trash…wait, what?

*****

Right before I got too complacent, Sean held on to my leg for dear life and cried for 20 minutes while I cooked dinner…Aidan even offered to play with him…but he wanted Mommy…he won, too…eventually I finished cooking, and I picked him up…30 seconds later, he was done with me…

*****

They freaking amaze me, y’all…

The Benjamin Boys Celebrate Their Independence

So here’s how my day started with The Benjamin Boys:

There was yelling, screaming, crying, whining…and then the boys joined in!

The original plans were to take the boys to the beach with Mom #2 and then go see fireworks.  The beach was postponed until Sunday (hopefully the weather will cooperate). I always like going to see the big fireworks shows in town, but on Wednesday when everyone has to get up early on Thursday, and the shows didn’t start until 9pm, you’ve got to be kidding me!  It was never going to happen…so we went with Plan B – Mom #2 and her family have pretty much adopted us, so we celebrated the Fourth with them.  The boys had a great time!

See?  This was after the hotdogs, chips, and Madagascar Jello wiggler things…and right before the fireworks.

The boys have never done fireworks at “home” before.  They’ve never thrown the popper things (I have no clue what they’re called – because tonight was the first time I’ve ever thrown them, too).

They watched Pseudo Little Brother (Mom #2’s offspring) light the fireworks in the street.  They weren’t as impressed as the adults, but no matter.

They played.  They ate more Jello.  They ate cake that was made to look like a hamburger.

Mom #2 and I did this:

A 3D puzzle that made our eyes ache…but we refused to let a puzzle made for ages 3-7 beat us, damn it!

It was a good day – even if it did start out a little rough…

The Benjamin Boys Said What?

Aidan: “I got your nose, Sean-Sean!

Sean: “Noooooo!  Mommy, make Aidan give me back my nose!”

Me: “Aidan, give your brother back his nose so he’ll stop crying.”

Did I really just say that?

*****

Aidan: “How do you do sux, Mom?”

Me: “Ummm…why do you care about that anyway?”

And, for whatever reason, the conversation stopped there.  Hallelujah!

*****

Driving past a cemetery, Aidan: “Is that where they put the dead bodies, Mom?”

Me: “Yes, people who have died are buried there.”

A long pause, I can almost hear the wheels turning…

Aidan: “Are our country’s fathers buried there?”

Wait, what?  What followed was a confused conversation about forefathers, dead people, and our country…my head hurts.

*****

Sean: “I colored a picture, Mommy!”

Me: “You sure did!”

Sean: “My daddy is going to be so proud of me!”

Me: “Yes, he is baby.”

He better damn well be proud…

*****

Sean: “Take my picture, Mommy!”

Me: “Ok, baby!”

Getting The Hang Of This Mom Thing

I’ve been a mom for 6 years, 11 months and 7 days…give or take…and I really feel like I’m just now starting to get the hang of it…

Aidan has been my picky eater since the day The Ex fed him spicy salsa…I think he was about 2…Aidan’s just like me about some stuff…get me once, ok, but not twice, damn it…after the surprise of salsa, he never willingly took new foods from either of us again…for a while, I was convinced he was made completely of PopTart and chicken nuggets…

And then Monday, something clicked…for both of us.

“Aidan, would you like to decide the dinner menu this week?”

“Heck yeah!  We’re having tacos tonight, right?”  Thank God, I’d already started cooking them!

He drew a chart, labeled the days of the week, and picked the main entrees.  I had him make a list of side dishes…and learned that my oldest likes pineapple…who knew?!  Guess what I’m buying this weekend at the grocery store…

Ok, so we’re only on the third night of this new menu, but other than getting him to eat all (or almost all) of his food, I haven’t had a single issue out of him…he’s even helped me prepare dinner…last night, he made the ranch dip for the baby carrots…tonight, he counted out the grapes for everyone…and he now understands the rule about dessert – eat all your dinner, and you can have some…and he’s decided that since dark chocolate is healthy (I have no clue who convinced him of that one…ha!), that we must have it for dessert every night…I think I can live with that…

We also now have Netflix…and both boys are addicted…Aidan watches on the laptop; Sean on the iPad…eventually I’ll get a Wii so we can stream it through the TV…I got nervous that the only thing they were going to do each night was watch Netflix…until I figured out a system…

When we come home, I start dinner, we eat, they get their baths, and then it’s time for TV…they get about an hour or so a night, and I don’t feel guilty…we do look a little odd, though, at night…Aidan’s watching Johnny Test (whatever that is) on the laptop; Sean’s watching Thomas (surprise, surprise!) on the iPad; and there I am in front of the TV doing Zumba…anyone with sensitive ears needs to stay away from us!  Our poor neighbors…

I feel like we’re slowly starting to find what works for us…but I’m realistic enough to know that this won’t last forever, and we’ll need to adjust again…I won’t ever call this easy, but it’s nice to feel like I know what I’m doing – at least some of the time…

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