Thursday, February 23, 2012


So, the kids are in bed, it's another single Mama night for me, and I've got hours of work ahead of me before I hit the sack. Still, I keep thinking about what I'm going to do with my life in the years ahead. I have to admit, I wish I had a better idea of what would make me happy.

I know I've posted this before, but it always helps to get my thoughts out.

My husband suggested nursing school. I'd consider it. I would like working with patients, I think, at least most of them. I think I'd find it stimulating, interesting, and worthwhile work. But I'm nervous that it might be a little too "gory" for me. I'm not that squeamish, but I am a little bit. I'm not sure about getting needles in veins, for example. And I know it can get a lot worse than that.

One of my long-standing ideas has been to be a teacher. I used to want to teach high school, now I'm leaning more towards the younger grades. I'd like to be more creative, teach kids who still think school is fun (at least some of them), and still have that wide-eyed innocence. But taking care of my toddler twins makes me wonder whether I have the stamina to do it for years and years. Some days I have a lot of energy and ambition and ideas, other days (like today), I'm totally done by 1pm. And then there's all the outside-of-class work, too. And the low salary and difficult finding a job, at least in my town.

Another recent idea I've had is to be a doula or midwife. At first, I thought it was a bad idea. I'm not bitter, exactly, but I'm a bit wistful about the birth I could have had, but didn't. And the immediate aftermath. I'm jealous of those who got to everything "normally". I'm getting over it, I don't dwell on it or anything, but putting myself in a situation where I'd be witnessing what I didn't get to have, and will probably never get to have, over and over again seems like it might be painful. But the more I think about it, the more I wonder whether being a part of other people's good experiences might help me gradually get over my own pain, and start to associate more positive and happy thoughts around birthing. And also, I have the experience of a birth that didn't go nearly as planned, which has to be good for those whose own births don't go as planned. So I'm leaning towards this a lot, I just have to figure out how to get there.

Other ideas? Someone suggested physical therapy, sports therapy, coaching, etc., but I am not an expert in any of these things. I like many sports and I believe strongly in fitness, but I am not sure I am the person for that - it is not the front and center of my life. I am actually fascinated by quite a few things, including linguistics and languages in general, reading and writing, and editing, grammar, etc. But those are all hard fields to break into, especially without any experience.

So that is where I am at the moment. Just thinking, pondering. But considering that my kids are heading towards 2, and I am not getting younger, and I may need more schooling, I know I need to start making plans and thinking much more seriously. Any other ideas or suggestions?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Catching up

I know I haven't written in ages, and I haven't had much time lately, and a lot has been going on, so I will bulletize just to get stuff down. I hope to write more soon.

  • Tadpole and Turtle are 19.5 months old, and I LOVE this age. They are so much fun. They go to gymnastics twice a week, which we all love, and playgroup once a week, and they'll be starting music classes next month, once a week. I'm trying to have one activity per day, because otherwise we get bored and cranky.
  • I'm starting an Italian language playgroup. We've met twice, the first time was a bit of a failure because it was cold and we met at a park, and mostly non-Italian speakers showed up. The second time went well, and now I need to figure out where to go from here.
  • Tadpole has had recurring diaper rashes leading to infections, and I'm crossing my fingers that this time we've beaten it. Poor, poor baby girl, I can tell it's been uncomfortable for her.
  • Both babies are talking up a storm, and talking mostly in Italian. I've been making an effort to speak mostly Italian to them, which helps, and my in-laws were here for two weeks, which helped even more. They say a few things in English, like shoes, water, hi, bye, bottle, etc.
  • Both babies still take bottles, twice a day. I am working on a plan to cut out the naptime bottle, which I think will go ok, since they don't take one when they nap in the car or stroller.
  • Speaking of strollers, they HATE sitting in their tandem double, Turtle pretty much refuses and I end up carrying him while pushing Tadpole. They also refuse to sit in supermarket carts, so shopping has become a nightmare. I could use some advice on this point.
  • The only stroller they'll stay in for longer periods is the bike trailer, which I use for jogging, too. It is not realistic to use regularly, because it doesn't really fold and is extremely difficult to get into the car. Especially if there is anything else that needs to go in the car. I need to solve this soon.
  • BUT! I have been biking and jogging a lot more lately, which has been nice. We all got sick about a month ago, and it was miserable, and my jogging came to an abrupt halt, but I've managed to ramp it up again and we've been biking around town with the trailer, and i went out on a long ride this weekend. It helped my mood immensely.
  • Because of the illness and my in-laws visiting, I pulled the kids out of daycare. It would be more than a month that they couldn't go, and I saw no point in continuing. I am enjoying them so much more now, and I like going to gymnastics and doing other activities with them. The only problem is getting major chores done around the house that I can't squeeze into an hour, like organizing closets, cleaning up the garage, etc.
  • So! We've asked my cousin-in-law to come stay with us. She just broke up from a long-term relationship, doesn't have a job, and seems unsure where she is going with her life, so she is thrilled to come to California for a few months and take a break from life, and we're thrilled to have her.
  • My in-laws left last Monday, and as always, the first couple days are a bit of a shock. They are very active, get up early, and like to keep busy. They cleaned my house, cooked meals, entertained the kids, and helped out so much. I almost cried when they left.
  • Back to Tadpole - she is ADDICTED to her pacifier, and I've been reading about how it's probably time to start thinking about limiting it, so I'm coming up with a plan for that as well. Not sure how that's going to go, really. I'm nervous about it.
  • AND - we're looking at preschools for the fall. The one I really liked has a waiting list, and the hours are a bit strange (you can do either 8-2 or 8-6, depending on what you want to pay for, but my kids normally nap 1-3, and well ... I don't know. I was hoping they'd go 5 partial days). The other one that I liked had two part time spots open, twice a week for the full day, so I signed up. They also will have at least two friends there that I know of so far. It's a great school, sort of expensive (but not that much more than any other place in town), but the main drawback in my opinion is that it's a bit far. It's only about a 10-15 minute drive, but it's really too far to bike, and I am really enjoying biking with the kids more than driving.
  • We are having a serious drought, and as much as I am loving this weather, it is really not good for California. Please send some rainy thoughts our way.

And that's all for now. I could expand on just about all of those points, but I need to get some chores done while they nap. Hope all's well in your world!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tantrums and the terrible twos

Wow, I didn't realize how long it's been since I've posted. Yikes!

One of the reasons is that Tadpole has a tendency towards diarrhea once she's gotten sick, and keeps having it for a long time after. My daycare person refused to have her as long as she still had diarrhea, so I was a full-time SAHM again, with no help and no breaks. And then my in-laws came! And that has been AWESOME! But we've been busy going for walks and playing and opening gifts and singing and dancing.

No seriously, I love my in-laws. They are helping me keep the house so clean and the kids entertained and giving me a bit of free time, too. My only real complaint is they have the kids watching a lot of TV, and I'm feeling like it's about time to cut it off. They are actually leaving on Monday and we are quite busy between now and then, so I'm not going to say anything to them, but we've been having some major behavioral problems on the part of Turtle and I suspect they are related to a combination of computers and TV.

Any readers have any input on that?

Here's the situation. Typically, we watch 30-45 minutes of Italian and some English music videos after dinner and before bed. I don't mind, because usually one of us watches with them, they get to know traditional songs in both languages, and sometimes we all dance. It's fun. We usually watch on our tablet device, which Turtle likes because he gets to pick the songs. The problem is, we also have toddler games on there. And he likes to play with our smart phones. And our computers. And lately, if he sees any of these devices, he WANTS IT NOW, and throws a tantrum if he can't have it.

I've tried many things to avoid the tantrums, and I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to handle it. I've tried comforting him, which he does NOT want. He is very much a "don't touch me, I hate you" kind of tantrumer (although sometimes he does want to scream while throwing himself dramatically into my lap). I've tried talking to him calmly, telling him I'm sorry but he can't have whatever and I'll be happy to play when he calms down, etc. That doesn't work either, and seems totally ineffective because he is screaming so loudly and is so into his fit that he doesn't hear me and seemingly doesn't even notice that I'm talking. I've tried leaving him and ignoring him, but I really hate doing that (I want to at least be there for him), and it doesn't seem to work either. Distraction sometimes works, but if he's too upset, he throws or pushes away whatever it is I try to distract him with. Picking him up and walking around works, but I can't do that for an hour. Lately, I've been just sitting near him and letting him lie on me if he wants, and waiting it out, but yesterday he had an hour-long tantrum. And these tantrums happen many times per day. And I have another child that I can't just ignore during Turtle's hour-long tantrums.

So I need help.

I think I'm going to keep all electronic devices away from him, starting as soon as my in-laws leave, and as much as possible before. It's going to be really hard for me, because being a SAHM with no internet use is very isolating. And also, sometimes he tantrums for other reasons, just not being able to always get what he wants, so tantrums are going to be unavoidable, and I just don't know what to do anymore.

I want him to be happy, I want him to learn some self-control (within the expectations of what a child his age can learn, which should gradually improve, I hope), and I would like to be able to take him out in public and not have TOO much trouble.

Any advice?