A Monster is Visiting Our House

With being a parent comes the fun and exciting world of “How the hell do you react to that?” moments. I’m having  a few of those lately. I mean, there’s no magical handbook to parenting that comes with your kid. It doesn’t come flying out with the placenta to say, “Here’s how to raise this kid.” and has the perfect guide to every possible situation you will encounter. If it did, I would need to read up on the chapter of “When a Monster Visits Your Toddler.”

Yesterday was a very looooooooong day. And it started as my only day off in the week. And ended with me falling asleep at 7PM, before Punky’s bedtime and getting no cuddle time at bedtime. SAD DAY.

Let’s start at the beginning.

This cute face showed up at the top of the basement steps at 6:30AM yesterday.

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I had fallen asleep around 3-3:30AM after working til midnight. I was shocked and a little disoriented to find her standing at the top of the steps. This picture is actually from a few days ago, at the top of the living room steps, but its the same effect, without the ARMFUL of babies.

According to Grammy, she came down stairs, crying from her room, about how she had a monster in her room and she was afraid. Of course, Grammy tried to comfort her and she was having none of it. Instead, she promptly went down the stairs and found our room in the basement.

She just broke my heart with her little cries of fear and she climbed into my bed and cuddled. “Mommy I cried.” “Mommy I afraid.” “Mommy there a monster in my room.”

Now, I’m a believer of all things, this includes things like ghosts and other assorted things. Yes, for a woman who’s not a religious believer, I do believe there are things that kids may or may not be able to see that we can’t see. So, while I know that monsters are a normal part of a kid’s developing brain, and it was likely just a nightmare.

To Punky, its a real thing.

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To confuse the matter, I’ve noticed in our efforts to help calm her and keep her our ever so presently sweet baby girl, we are all in the house, suggesting different things to her. Giving her many ideas about the monsters that does or doesn’t live in her room. Sometimes we tell her that there are no such thing as monsters. Sometimes we tell her that there are no monsters at this particular house. Sometimes tell her the monster just wants to be her friend. Sometimes telling her that it was a bad dream. At some points we tell her its nothing. In the end, to a two year old, I can’t imagine all the conflicting information is easy to process for her little brain.

And I struggle with what to say at all. I don’t want to discount her fears. I don’t want to tell her she’s wrong. Because to her, its was a very real experience. It was something that very much happened to her. And she was pretty darn vocal about it. I didn’t even know she knew what “being afraid” meant. I didn’t know she knew what that word was. She continues to astonish me with her language skills and the way she expresses herself.

I want her to know that its okay – that she is safe and no one is going to let anything bad happen to her. In the end, the goal for me – is not to discount her experience or if imagination is at work here, to discourage that type of creativity (albeit scary to her at the moment.)

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Its not our job to tell her what is real and what isn’t real. To her this was a very real experience. And I would never want her to think I didn’t believe her. I would like to think I could help her think through the process of determining for herself what it is this monster represents or this monster is to her. What it really means. Because – as a Mommy, I don’t know if I believe one way or another that there is a monster hanging out in her room. I’m undecided. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean its not a real thing to her.

So, I am struggling with the complex nature of the situation, and at such a rapid pace. While she was sitting on my bed, cuddling with me, telling me about the monster in her room, dried tears on her cheeks, I felt helpless. Like I was failing somehow as her mother in that moment, because what do you say? How do you respond? How do you keep her innocent and sweet and so very much content in that moment?

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I want to convey that she is safe. I want her to know that she is loved. I want her to know she can come to me when she is scared, upset, angry. I don’t want to discount her feelings. I don’t want to minimize the very real fear she had in that moment.

And perhaps not all parents think this hard about how the reaction to a real or imaginary monster, a dream or a nightmare, a spirit or a shadow is going to effect their child’s life. I do.

Its the type of parent I am. I want her to think about it, I want her to deduce her own conclusions. I want her to know I will follow her down the path she is on and we can seek the knowledge together. On all sorts of things. This monster included.

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For the time being. I am not discouraging the idea that monsters are real. I am very much open to the possibility that it is something she experienced. Dream or no dream, shadow of a stray toy on the floor or  a creak she heard in the house – it was  real to her. I don’t have the answers.

What I do have is a new identity. An identity as Mommy. And in my little girl’s eyes that means all things will be better with Mommy’s hugs and kisses. And I will always stand by that identity. The more she grows, the more I grow in that role and the more I fall down in the moment, but pick myself up after the fact. The initial response to this monster in her room was not executed as flawlessly as I would have liked. Most things aren’t when it comes to this mothering thing.

But, I feel comfortable in my decision to instead expose her to what is a possible alternative. Monsters may  or may not be around, but she is safe and there is nothing that will harm her, not while I’m around. Not while her Mama’s around.

Because in the end, I want her to be creative. I want her to use that imagination of hers and sometimes creativity and imagination can be scary. I forget that she’s two sometimes  and that doesn’t discount that she is still growing and learning. Her concept of things are still being shaped. I want her to shape them for herself. I want her to be the person she is and think about the world from her own unique perspective.

And hopefully, since last night, she went to bed with no problems. NO need to search the room for monsters I am told (remember, I passed out before bedtime) and no real issues. When she wakes up, I suppose we will see if this was just a passing thing for the day or something we will be encountering more often. I hope for the first one, so that she can go back to building mountains with her Kinetic Sand and riding her trike around the driveway in peace and monster free!

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Have you had to address this monster in the closet yet? Have you been looking under your kids’ beds for things that go bump in the night? I’m all ears on how you handle it. I am am still trying to figure out my own strategy!

Musings from the Night Shift Mommy

I started my night shift – 1pm to midnight – and I will blame that on why I haven’t gotten around to blogging lately. Though, if I’m being honest, I would say it may be that I really just forgot.

I am currently helping plan three parties that are going on at the end of August and in September. So much going on in that capacity! Not to mention orders from my Etsy Shop and changing my shift at my day job, I’ve been uber busy.

So quick Etsy shop plug, all my blogger friends in the sphere, I know you guys are having babies, getting BFP and the like, I want to extend my offer to give you half off on ALL invitations and/or party supplies for baby showers, pregnancy announcements, gender reveals, etc. Absolutely no end date on that offer.  Pass it on to friends and families, I don’t mind! :)

Just use: BFP50 in the coupon code section and it will ring it up for ya!

I’m just so happy for all of you and I want to help you celebrate!! (This includes custom orders, so if you got a special theme in mind that I don’t currently stock, hit me up and I will totally make it for ya!)

And back to real life stuff:

I have been trying to keep up with our two year old, she has a half birthday in September, what?! Half way to three? When the hell did that happen!!

I’m also not really sure when she got sass in her pants, but this kid is one mouthful of sassy phrases and some not too nice to her moms! Its been kind of a pain in the booty, frankly, and she’s had a few run-ins with timeout or a smack in the mouth.

She’s also extra cuddly when she wants to be and is singing and talking up a storm. She’s hilarious, a joy to be around on most occasions and still the apple of our eye. She is still the most perfect little being in the whole world and I really do love her to the moon and back!

But parenting a toddler, a two year toddler, has proven to be a bit difficult. She’s so damn sensitive. She cries at the drop of a hat, she’s offended extra easily and overall, if she doesn’t get her way, look out! They aren’t kidding when they say twos are tough, but then I hear all the time “threes are worse”. Thanks for that encouragement asshole! LOL.

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So, with me working nights, and 10 hours at that, I work 4 days a week, 3 days I’m off, rotating 1 weekend a month. So, I’m home on Wednesday, Saturday and Sundays regularly now. Its been refreshing to be home in the middle of the week. Punky and I have had time to go out and hang together. That’s what I have been doing the most lately.

Here’s what Miss Sassafrass Punky and I have been doing to keep ourselves busy this part of the summer.

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Last week, we headed to the park. Our park has this ridiculously huge rope pyramid that older kids can climb on – to the top – several feet in the air. There is a small piece of it that has a rope ladder to a smaller slide, Punky took a liking to that.

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We moved onto the swings, where she just refuses to actually sit on. She prefers to “fly” – she prefers to push me in the swing. Yikes indeed. We had a run in with a little guy at the park while she was playing with the swing.

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You see that empty swing over there right? The one no one is playing with? Yea, we had a kid approach Punky while she was contemplating her next great fly in the swing and take hold of the chains of her swing and promptly tell her “I’m going to swing now.”

Flabbergasted, I looked around for the child’s guardian. He wasn’t more than say 5 or so. When no guardian emerged I said, “There’s another swing right there if you would like to swing.”

“But I will swing on this one.” He told me matter of factly.

And this is when I really just lost all hope for the future generations. I just knew this is what justified the older generation talking about how our kids nowadays have no manners and don’t know how to respect people and other things.

I replied very quietly, very gently, “No, sir. You will not. There is a swing over there if you would like to use it.”

By this time, Miss Punky relinquished her swing without a fight and headed to the vacant swing. I was astonished, however, when it comes to sharing – for an only child with a lot of sass – she’s pretty laid back about giving up the toys that are taken from her (unless its her very special babies at home, which I hide when we have little visitors so there are no fights, she might draw blood over them!)  I don’t have any concern for her manners, she’s a please and thank you kid for the most part, may have to be reminded, but she covers her mouth with she coughs (albeit sometimes later than the cough), and for the most part can say Excuse me when she burps or farts without prompting.

I took the swing chain gently and said, “No no, Punky. This is your swing. You were using it. Please come back and play with the swing you were on.”

I’m all for sharing. But, the way we share – we don’t take toys from another child. It doesn’t matter whose toy it is (hence why I hide her special babies) if another kid has it, she is not to take it from them and can’t claim it as hers to play with until they are done with it. When the toy is discarded or put down, she can then play with it. Same goes for my kid, people. When she’s playing with something, your child will not take it from her until she’s done. When she has discarded it, I don’t care if its your kid’s toy or not, I don’t tolerate taking toys from each other. Its disrespectful and it teaches kids they can have whatever they want, whenever they want. It shows instant gratification and teaches kids that they don’t have to be patient. That they can take whatever they want and there will be no real consequences.

I absolutely loved the article I read about it, because it made me feel great about my own sharing philosophies and I was so glad to know I wasn’t the only mom who taught my kid this way.

Needless to say, the young man relinquished the swing back to Punky, who went back to “flying to the moon, Mommy” until she was hungry for lunch. I’m glad the other child’s guardian was not around, because if they had reprimanded me or said something, I’m not really sure what would happen, but it would have been very sad to get banned from the best park in the city………

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After a great afternoon at the park, we headed to McDonald’s where she had a nice chicken nugget happy meal and strawberry yogurt.

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And for some reason, when we ordered a small snack version of an M&M McFlurry with two spoons, the cashier just thought it was adorable, as did all the passersby our table who noticed! LOL

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And this afternoon, Miss Punky became the proud owner of her very own library card. She was so very proud of the library card that I thought perhaps she needed a purse to put it in.

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However, before we could go purse shopping, we had to try out our shiny new library card and get some books. This week we picked out Dora and the Twin Puppies and How to Babysit A Grandpa.

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I haven’t read the Dora book and we only got it because she insisted on having Dora. However, the other, How to Babysit A Grandpa, is the cutest thing ever. Its even cuter when Papa reads it to her as her bedstory. (Not bedtime story, people, its a BedStory.) Which is what happened before she fell asleep tonight. Oh, the convenience of having Papas and Grammy’s on hand when a good BedStory  and rocking is needed.

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Anyway, after the library, we went on the great purse hunt. We stopped at Dollar General first, I was just sure they should have a cute, small kid’s purse for her that would be perfect for her library card. What we ended up with instead was a packages of lipgloss for little girls and package of Minnie Mouse socks.

On to the consignment store down the strip mall, which I immediately regretted the minute we walked into. We should have went into the thrift store next door like I thought about. Instead I took her into the consignment store. She found a purse, it was a bit more than I really wanted to spend, but really only like $7, but the purse was not the highlight of her trip.

Oh no, see, this wasn’t a kid’s consignment, there was not clothes for toddlers in there. It was for adults as in the clothing were not small enough for her to ever fit in. But sparklies know no age. It doesn’t matter how old you are. Jewelry doesn’t discriminate. My little one made sure I knew that as soon as she found the glass case of glitters and this awesome table of trinkets for her to touch and hold and oh and ah!

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She went home with a purse, lip gloss, her library card, and three new bracelets. Her purse also has Mommy’s old cell phone since I just got a new one and its not active. She’s  one stylish – and probably spoiled to the core – little two year old. But we had an excellent day out together!

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When we got home, she started to get a little cranky and I knew it was promptly nap time. Of course, she fought it, but eventually, now we have peace, after naptime, dinner, and a bedstory with complimentary rocking from both Grammy and Mommy, she’s had a very busy day and is now sleeping sound in her bed!

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I know this post is getting extra long, however, I would be amiss, if I didn’t also feature the great pictures that were taken of my Punky monster recently. We got her pictures done, mostly for fun, but it was a blast and she looks so much older in these pictures!

 IMG_8226IMG_8218IMG_8243These were taken by a local photographer E. Carlburg Photography to showcase the clothes made by Amelia Bean Clothing, another local business in the area. The outfit is not one I would have chosen for her, in most cases, we don’t really do ‘ruffles’ and things. But, I must say, she makes this outfit look great and she looks gorgeous in this shoot!

The second photoshoot was from an old high school alum. I helped design her photography business’ logo and she repaid me with a great many pictures. Andrea from Morrow Classic Photography did such an awesome job, there are too many favorites for me to choose just a few. So here they are!!

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So, that’s what we have been up to, I shouldn’t wait to update this blog for so long! Otherwise I ramble a ton!! To those of you who just got BFP, again, congratulations! And of course, those of you who are still waiting, I’m cheering for you to have days and brilliant times like these someday soon!

Road Trip to Visit The Fam

So with  my uncle having his seizures lately and then as soon as he came out of the hospital my grandpa fell off his lawn mower and broke his leg above the knee – we thought maybe it might be good to go visit. We haven’t visited for some time, my family lives about 3 hours away. So, its always a ‘treat’ to visit.

On the way there, we started with excitement. Two semi trucks had rolled over in the median and then one was splayed across the other highway, luckily we weren’t on that side! The roads were blocked and the cars were stopped for at least 15 exits, it added another 30-45 minutes to our trip.

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With the smell of soybean (my hometown is pretty much the capital of Soybean Production) and this bumper sticker, I knew I was home….

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When we got into town, we got to spend some time at my Grandma’s house waiting for her to get home for dinner from the nursing home. While we waited for her to come home, Miss Punky got out the toys and talked to Grandma “Scotch” (Scott) on the phone. Is it just as weird for you guys as it is for me that Punky won’t really know what that phone is when she’s big enough to use a real one of her own!?

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My grandparents have a lot of land full of just grass and trees. Punky wanted to go outside, so we went out and had a little modeling session. She’s been having a lot of those lately! (before our trip, Miss Punky had the opportunity to get her pictures taken for a local designer’s clothes with a local photographer. I will be plugging both of them on the blog as soon as I get the pictures from the shoot and I am allowed to share them!)

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Then my grandma came home. We actually stayed at her house this weekend. She and my grandpa are usually in Arizona when we visit, so its nice to have a chance to hang out with them and spend some great time with at least my grandma!

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I asked Kim after this picture if she wanted to have two Punkys. We both decided it was a bad idea to inflict this much cuteness and attitude on the world TWICE.

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On Saturday we had a great time a my nephew’s SuperHero Fourth Birthday Party. I helped his mom with the decorations and planning the details. We had some good times, and Punky got to spend some time with her cousins. It was fun all around!

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The newest addition to our cousin clan in this generation is our sweet sweet nephew Archer. He’s the first baby of my brother and the star of the “Littlest Avenger” over at my sister-in-law’s blog. My little Punky Monster took quite the liking to the baby and made her moms nervous that she may start asking for a brother or sister. Not happening. For sure. No, we aren’t changing our minds!

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We had some really cute decorations and it was pretty much a hit.

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After we spent some time at the party, watched my nephew open all his presents and spent some fun times in the photo booth, Punky and I went to visit my grandpa in the nursing home. He broke his leg right above his knee, so it was sad to see him in that wheelchair. He has the onset, or full-blown depending on who you talk to, Alzheimer’s. Last time I went to visit him, he was confused as to who I was, and it makes things a little difficult to figure out how to explain who Kim is – so while she loves my grandpa and would have loved to visit too, she didn’t want to upset him, so she stayed home while Punky and I visited with my grandpa. I don’t really know if he knows who I was, he was pretty quiet, he did a lot of smiling and nodding and I don’t really know how much he retained.

Punky spent most of the time climbing on this particular chair and looking out the window of the very first nursing home she ever visited. All the older people were very excited to see her and she of course charmed them with her smiles. She was wearing her light up shoes, stomping through the dining hall – they just got a kick out of her.

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After the nursing home, yes – we are still on Saturday, and Yes – we did a lot of running this weekend. We headed out to my dad’s house, one of the houses I grew up in and hung out with that side of the family for the rest of the evening. Their air conditioner went out, so it was super hot in their trailer.

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But we had a nice time visiting and hanging out with them, my step mom has Lupos so she’s usually pretty ill and not feeling well, she was sleeping when we got there, but boy did she get up when Punky came in the trailer, because she’s smitten with our kid and that just makes me so very happy!

Punky also met her first rat during this visit. My goodness… she kept wanting to hold the rat, and then when Kim would put it on her or would try and help her feed the rat, she would FREAK out. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no room to talk, I wasn’t holding the rat for sure! But, it was kind of hilarious to see her curiosity and then fear and then curiosity again.

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So Saturday down on the very long weekend and Sunday was just another really long day! We love visiting with  my family but by the end of the weekend, it is just sooooo tiring. Sunday was full of more cousins, more parties, more cake and more dinner.

Sunday morning, my friend and fellow blogger over at “A Redhead’s Guide” was so kind to meet us at a local park and take some super awesome pictures of Punky. She chased my spirited kid all over for about an hour and I think we got some great shots. Especially with all the movement she made and the sneak peeks she posted on her Facebook page, makes me super excited to get the disc in the mail!

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Her Aunt Brittany brought that dress home from Florida for her older cousin. Its a maxi dress for a 7/8 kid – like for real? My kid isn’t even wearing a ‘toddler’ dress. Her necklace is also from Florida, brought back from her Aunt Jourdan (godmother) – its a little big for her, so I always tie it shorter around the neck. And of course, she looks beautiful, I’m not at all a modest mommy.

Jeebs, I made a pretty baby with a little work, lots of love, and a tremendous amount of luck!

After her little photo shoot, we did visit with my dad and family again. We had another smaller version of my nephew’s birthday party with that bunch. Which really consisted of my dad riling up all the kids and making sure they were all good and sugared for their moms later.

As you can see, Miss Punky just isn’t sure about all the rough housing. She’s pretty timid when it comes to that stuff and really she’s not really sure how to play like that. Her cousins are wound up most of the time, I’m not sure how my sister doesn’t have a perpetual migraine every day of her life and again, I am reminded why I only one the ONE!

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The end of our trip was full of roast and potatoes at my grandma’s and a ridiculous game of Pictionary with my mom on the Xbox 360. We had a blast over there, as we usually do, hanging out with my. Punky was so very interactive with everyone, but she definitely loves her Grandma Stacie and Grandpa James. It was great to see her interact with them and really get to spend some quality time with them!

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My stepdad introduced her to the spoonful of peanut butter and warheads. Neither of which got the reaction we were expecting! She came back for seconds and thirds of both things.

All and all – our trip was a success, we really had a great time and for the first time in her little life, while there were a lot of names to remember and people to remember  – she did a great job interacting, charming and of course making my family fall even more in love her with spunk and spirit.

Adjustments and Changes Coming Soon

Of all the memories I can think of my childhood, very few would be considered “normal”. Very few would be considered “happy”. I’m sure I had lots of happy, normal childhood moments, and yet, I really can’t remember many. I bring it up, because of all the childhood memories, I remember one so vividly , at least the emotion that it sparked in me at the time – that sometimes I have to wonder if I made it up.

As I come out of Punky’s room after 45 minutes of cuddles, rocking, singing, and back rubbing – it reminds me of a time when my Mom did the same for me. I don’t remember the specifics, I couldn’t tell you which house we were in, I can’t tell you how old I was. But I can remember trying so hard to fight off the sleepy feeling as my mom rubbed my back, skin to skin, for how many minutes, I have no idea.

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I knelt next to Punky’s bed, as she was hysterical tonight, not wanting to sleep, scared, just being stubborn, who knows, but she needed some Mommy time. We are a cry it out kind of family in most cases, but I have been extra sensitive to her neediness since the move. She’s been more clingy, more whiny, just more needy in general. She’s also more busy than normal, she doesn’t want to settle down -there’s too much to talk about, too much to do, too much to see and take in.

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While I rubbed her back, humming and making up the lyrics to a tune I didn’t know – I thought about what my Mom was thinking all those years ago. When she was rubbing my back. When she watched me fight the sleep, shushing me and whispering to me to close my eyes. What would go through her mind as she tried to help me fall asleep? Was she worried about missing what was going on in the room next door? Was she overwhelmed with overflowing love for me in that moment? Was she so exhausted that she didn’t really have a thought or time to think about anything specific?

I don’t remember singing, though its possible that occurred. I don’t remember much other than a slow motion sleepiness that happened when I asked her to rub my back and she would roll me on my tummy and sit on the side of the bed until I fell asleep. As a mother now, I haven’t quite mastered the staying long enough to ensure that Punky is fully asleep, but she’s drowsy enough to get to sleep minutes after I shut the door.

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This isn’t her actual bed, but she looks adorable on the baby shower gift Aunt Ashley and Grammy made for someone’s new baby coming soon!

Punky went back to school today, a banking error on the daycare’s part, but its caught up now, so I won’t protest too much. She was delighted to go to school and I know the adults in the house were delighted to sleep in, take a little break and make the day a quiet and peaceful one. She came home from school full of stories about her friends and playing outside, complete with green paint in her banks and glitter on her cheeks. Its nice to have her back in school.

This is my last week with day shift at work. I will start working 1-midnight and contrary to what other people think – I actually picked the shift! I am looking forward to it. I worked it about a year ago with my interim supervisor role and I loved it. I get to see Punky in the morning/afternoon and can take her on early play dates to the park or the library. Its also a 10  hour shift, which means that I will only work 4 days a week with rotating 1 weekend a month. Its the perfect and ideal situation for us. Kim and I have both discussed it and decided with our many doctor/therapy visits – a day off during the week is going to be great.

It will also give me time to decompress during the week. This Monday through Friday 8-5PM is supposed to be a dream job spot for most people, its just not working out for me and I am slowly, well no …. quickly feeling the candle burn out. So a few new change and routine will do me some good – my therapist agrees.

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The changes keep coming for Miss Punky though and I’m not at all delusional in thinking this won’t be a shock to her system. She’s tough – I know toddlers are more resilient than we give them credit for, but I feel like all the changes are overwhelming her delicate little brain and emotions. She’s just so clingy to me right now – but hopefully, this will mean I get to spend MORE time with her instead of less. I may not be able to put her to bed, but I will be able to come home and eat dinner, maybe read her a story before bed.

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Kim’s health is doing better, thank goodness. It was quite a scare for a while. But she has gotten the use of her legs back and her Lithium levels, I believe, are back in the normal range. We are getting into a routine and its about to change, but we can only do what we can do and so for now – I will be thankful that she is better health wise – as as good as she can be. We are happy, anxiously waiting for Missouri to overturn the ban on gay marriage. I’m planning a wedding for my friend, but I’d really like to be planning my own wedding!

In other news, my Uncle had some sort of stroke on Tuesday, I don’t really have all the details. he’s no longer in the hospital and I talked to him this afternoon. He seems as well as expected, tired but alive.

My grandpa fell off his tractor a few days ago and broke his leg right above the knee. He’s currently in the hospital, my poor grandma has been running around taking care of both of them! He’s been showing signs of dementia/Alzheimer’s for quite a few years now and it doesn’t bode well for his condition. They all live three hours away and I don’t feel like I’m getting enough information to feel comfortable about being away. But they tell me he’s out of surgery and doing as well as can be expected as well. They will be moving him to a nursing home rehab center to get some help with walking, like he doesn’t already have a hip replacement as it is.

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So, while that stuff is all scary and the changes just keep coming, the adjustments are being made and we are rolling with the punches life has been dealing out. That’s all one can really do, right? Hang on for the ride…. we are hanging on ….

Surprise Visits, Starting School Again, and Lots of Playdates

We got a knock at the door last Saturday around 8:00 PM and it was my Mama. I was so excited to see her. She didn’t tell me she was coming and it was quite a great surprise. We were just getting ready to put Punky down for bed and they saved her from bedtime. She got to stay up for another 30 minutes to an hour longer than normal.

My mom and step dad live about 2 and a half, three hours away from us, so we don’t get to see them as often as I would like. I was really missing on my mama too! And, my step dad doesn’t generally venture of his own comfort places, so it was a great big deal that he came with her on their adventure.

He actually played the XBox 360 with Kim most of the night, but my Mama and I got to sit on the beds in our basement home and just chit chat. We played some games. They don’t have internet and don’t have a computer or Facebook or anything fancy on their phones, so when I pulled out the Nook and we played some “brain games” my mama was having a blast.

We didn’t get to bed until late, like 3 in the morning!

We, meaning Peyton, got up around 7:45 this morning and we were watching some TV while the rest of the house slept until around 8:30 or 9. It rained last night, so the wagon was kinda full of water, but Grandpa wanted to take Punky for a ride in the wagon and after much convincing and wiping down the wagon from wetness and she got in the wagon and went for an early morning stroll.

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Miss Punky isn’t really too warm and friendly with men she’s not been around much, but she really took to my step dad and it was a little shocking. I haven’t seen her warm up to a man that quickly. There are very few men she lets take her and do things without needing her Mommy or Mama to be around her.

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My mama and I took her to the bookstore for some new books. I am looking forward to purchasing some of the books we saw online though, where they will be cheaper!

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Before they went home again, we took them to the fountains out by City Hall and let them play in the water with Punky.  Its a great free activity for the kiddos in the heat. And of course, Miss Punky loves it!

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My step dad doesn’t usually come when my mom makes one of her rare visits, so it was a treat to see them all three together! I don’t usually spend much time with him, he’s kind of a homebody and tends to stay to himself during our visits too – he’s just quiet. So, it was awesome to get some time with him as well and I know Punky enjoyed it!

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We talk to my mom on the phone frequently, but she wasn’t really interested in talking on the phone – she doesn’t really know them very well, we don’t get to visit as much as I would like. But since they have gone home, she has been talking about them quite a lot and she can recognize them in pictures which was not the case before.

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So, in the move, we now have a backyard to let Punky play in – so she gets to be outside a lot more than she was before. Not to mention that she starts school again on Monday, and I’m so happy about that.

The other day, Punky’s aunt figured out a way to give her a TBall stand. So we spent a great deal of time outside hitting the ball with a bat. She’s not super great at it, but she’s super cute at it regardless!

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I just can’t get over how incredibly big she is getting. She’s so vocal and she has quite a mind of her own. This morning, she told me “I want to go potty training”. I have no idea where she got that from, but its adorable that she is articulating her wish to potty train. For now, we are not quite ready yet as moms, but we will get there. Right now, she will come to the bathroom with me and she will sit on her potty, so she gets practice.

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We also went to the first playdate of the summer. I know, I know – its halfway through summer. But with all the moving and crap going on, we just haven’t had time to do anything – or rather, Mommy has been too tired. But with Punky being out of school for almost a month, its been making me sad she doesn’t have companionship other than adults and I set up a park play date.  The kiddos in her age group have all been hanging around each other (well Punky has) for a little over a year. Its nice to see her grow up with kids, regardless of how often we see them!

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This week has been full of collages. I love this one of Punky and her very best playmate, I call her Cheeks on the blog. She’s pretty cute and shy, where Punky is more adventurous and loud. I just know they are going to be the best of friends, though I have a feeling …. when they get older, it will be my kid doling out the bad advice and being the bad influence!

Facebook feed was full of some collage challenges, which while they don’t mean anything, I thought the sentiment behind them were nice. I participated in both challenges.

SO, we had the “Super Mom Challenge” – you post pictures of you and your kid or cute pictures of your kid.

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And I don’t know what it was called, but the challenge was to find 5 pictures you thought made you look beautiful, so I had to break into the archives, back when I was a little more interested in having my picture taken. Normally, I’m the one taking the pictures, behind the camera, for a reason.

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So overall, we have been busy, keeping busy really.

I am headed to a baby shower for Kim’s cousin this afternoon, and I’m sure it will be super cute and who doesn’t love celebrating new kids coming to their giant Italian family! Literally, there’s a new baby or three every year. Its exciting and overwhelming the larger the family grows, the louder it gets at family gatherings!! Its so nice that I have seen a lot of these kids grow up though, its pretty astonishing that I have known them since they were little bitty and now there are a few graduating this year or just overall getting bigger! But I suppose when you have been with someone for 11 years, you invest in the family too and I most certainly am grateful for all of them!

The move has been pretty seamless – so far, I don’t have any complaints …. well, except that Punky doesn’t want to eat dinner. We have been asking that she take 1 bite of each food on her plate before she can have dessert. So far, she’s had no luck with this and has gone without dessert more times than she’s had it.  Otherwise, we are getting into a nice routine (I can’t speak for Kim!) and I think its going nicely.

I should have made a summer bucket list like the rest of you, but we have just been so distracted, its not been on the radar, maybe next year!

Oh and PS. If you don’t know the words to the “Hotdog Dance” from Mickey’s Clubhouse, you are missing out! (AKA: I envy you….)

Settling In and Smoothing Out

There are hard parts about this move and the transition from independence to the changes that we have had to come to terms with. I like to think the hardest part right now is that we had to take Punky out of school, because we got so backed up on tuition and it now needs to be caught up. It will get there, but it is a sacrifice that I am so very sad about – she was starting to thrive socially, her teachers kept telling me how much more she was talking and interacting. She’s a shy kid and she’s not exactly a social butterfly – especially when she started school, so to hear those things – made me so happy! And, now, we are back to an only child being at home with adults.

The good part about the move is Miss Punky is sporting the best tan on a toddler I have ever seen. Seriously. Grammy has a small pool and our little fish is out there in her swimsuit as often as she can possibly get an adult to take her out there. She goes on trips to the park with Papa in the wagon.

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Yea, we have a park – literally in our backyard. Do we live in the basement, yea, but we also live in a neighborhood. Last time I pulled Punky around in the wagon – over to the park that is pretty much right across the street, I got to thinking that we didn’t have this when we were living our apartment. We had a cluster of apartment buildings, but we didn’t have ‘neighbors’ or kids playing in the streets. We didn’t have houses to walk past and she didn’t really see lawns being mowed.

Another silver lining, new things to explore. Of course more thing to hurt ourselves on. I fell down one of the three sets of stairs today and busted my knee and threw my camera on the concrete of the garage in the process. I am currently wearing my knee brace, but I think I will live! Punky’s lip is healing up nicely, this morning it was scabbed over, and I was resisting the urge to pull it off, it fell off by itself this evening before dinner.

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My little monkey is such a little curious thing. So it was great to see her be able to explore and enjoy herself. Its super hot, so when we get the chance to make it to the park in the early hours of the day – when it is cooler outside, we take the chance. She finds all sorts of great things to play on and I love capturing the moments. With a pool and a park in our backyard, this summer may be the best yet, no matter where we live!

 

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Another weight lifted off my shoulders this week, when my FMLA was approved for my absences as work. It means that for all things that have gone this last year, my job is being held for me. Thank goodness it was approved. Without it, I likely wouldn’t have a job and I am not dismissive about the fact that there are a lot of things we need to work on and I have a plan in place – but its a weight that makes me feel lighter and a little more free.

With all the weights getting lighter from my shoulders, it feels like someone else is holding onto the reigns and keeping me afloat. My heart isn’t as heavy and for now, I will let someone else push me. (AKA, Miss Punky was insistent that she push me on the swing, no she did not want to sit on the seat, Mommy, you sit and I will push you.) Silly as it is, but being pushed on the swing – really gave me a sense of freedom and it was great to hang out with my little girl in what feels like the longest time we have ever gone since the last time we spent time together.

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We get to spend more time together lately, and with the basement being a smaller space, we spent it closer together. I really do love coming home from work and the three of us going down into the basement and sitting on my bed with  my little girl and talking about what she did that day. We don’t spend all night down there – we sit down to dinner with Grammy and Papa, that’s different for us to, cooked meals and sit down at a table together for dinner, we didn’t do that at our home. So many good things are changing as a result of something that may not have been so good.

Kim and I have things to talk about again. I mean, I can come home and we can just decompress and talk about our day and talk about something other than the mundane and same old thing. We have conversations. We are closer. The metaphor of the small space, the closeness of the basement means we are all becoming closer, bonding and in a way, regardless of what I expected – its a great outcome for us, so far.

 

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Of course, we have only been here for three days – its still the beginning and I have no misgivings that this will be the way this situation will stay. I am sure there will be days when the closeness is the last thing I want, when the lack of private space is the last thing I want, when the constant companionship is something I will want to get away from and have no where to go. But, for now, its just calm and comforting.

We are making new adventures. New memories. We are building new hopes and new plans and new situations. We are exploring, growing and expanding and in all of it, my only hope is that we can bring forth a sense of strength, courage, and determination to our daughter. She doesn’t have to know the circumstances of our situation, the analogies of the bottom in the life we are in right now  – she doesn’t need to know the tears shed behind closed doors or the decisions made in the conversations we have in the dead of night – in the whispers words we speak in desperation of what’s left for us to do.

Instead, she will only know happy. She will only know the memories and the joy. I will only allow her to know the light and the peace and the childhood that she is to have. She is not a grown up and by whatever means necessary, she will not have to be one as soon as I had to be one – I will keep her little and I will let her be a child for as long as I possibly can keep her that way.

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Being a grown up is over-rated and believe me when I say if I could figure out how to go back and make that part stop, be a child longer, savor the playful moments longer, linger in childlike joy and entertain my teddy bears and Barbies just a little more – I would! Alas that’s not allowed, once you are grown up, there’s no turning back and I will not force my baby to grow up. I won’t.

So we are making the best and we are slowly getting out of the holes and smoothing out the bumps. Its not a fix all and its most certainly not the end, but the beginning is looking bright.

Oh and as a side note, all heavy shit aside, I am so proud and pretty darn excited that my kid loves Minnie Mouse and Batman equally! ;) Its a pretty fantastic thing to me. Raising a kid without stereotypes is my ultimate goal and so far, it’s working out. She thinks for herself and that’s just the way we want her to be!!

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The Bumps In Our Road

The first of these lyrics hit home on me right now.

“Let it go,
Let it roll right off your shoulder
Don’t you know
The hardest part is over”

And in the end, that’s all I need to keep remembering. Kim was so sick we really thought she had a disease that wouldn’t be curable, our car was repossessed for a few days last week, we were near eviction from our apartment, and we are now in the basement of my in-laws; but the hard part is over. It really is. No matter what I wish the circumstances were right now, the path to our destination may have twisted a little and taken a different path, but we will get where we want to be – regardless of the bumps in our road.

Kim is feeling much better and on the road to a speedy recovery back to her old self. With much help from great people, the car is out of repossession. We have a great bit of family that was able to get us moved out of our apartment and into the basement before Monday – when the eviction would be going to the lawyers – saving us thousands of dollars and issues with our credit.

This is likely the lowest we’ve been and yet, as I sit on my bed, in our new home surroundings, I have never been more hopeful for a brand new start and a weight has been lifted off my shoulders – the worst is over, the hardest part is over.

We got a  storage unit, which is filled to the brim, even though we tried our hardest to throw out a lot of the things I’ve been holding onto for a very long time. Luckily most of my ‘sentimental items’ are digital and now backed up on my 1TB hard drive I got for my birthday. We had so much more stuff than the storage unit will hold, so we will probably have to upgrade the storage unit, blah! For now, it’s in the garage, taking up more space, because it won’t fit in the basement with us.

Here’s our new home, of course, there are some things we still have to unpack and whatnot, but so far its getting to be a little homey and comfortable for the time we will be here. **The beautiful model on the couch is my love, Kim!**

Living Area:

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Dining Area (behind the living area):

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Bedroom Area (Next to the Dining Area:

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And yes, we do have two beds, because Kim and I are old so-to-be married lesbians and frankly, we don’t share bed space or bedding well!

While down here hanging out the first night, Miss Punky was jumping on our beds, like normal and her shoes tripped her up and she fell head first into the concrete floor. She bit right through her bottom lip and it was pretty darn scary and I know it was painful – it bled forever! She tried to eat pizza last night for dinner and it kept burning her lips, she was so upset, that really is her most favorite dinner time meal. By morning, it had at least scabbed over a bit, but it sure looks like a nasty war wound, poor kid!

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With the move has come with transitions for Miss Punky of course. She doesn’t fully understand what’s going on. She actually sleeps two flights up from us, in the nursery for the grandkids. They have a bed up there already and it was less cramped down here in the basement if she slept up there. Its a change for both Mommy and Punky, as I’m used to her room being right NEXT to mine and I could hear her if she cried or woke up.

And while we use the cry it out method for the most part, its hard not to get up and make sure she’s alright in the middle of the night, when you have three flights of stairs to get to her. Not to mention, that she really doesn’t know where her moms are in the middle of the night or how to get to them, which in my mind, my anxious Mommy mind, its scary and traumatic for my baby girl.

Our apartment was her only home. Its the only home she has ever known. She’s two and she confused. She keeps telling us she wants to go home. She doesn’t fully grasp the idea that we are already home. We brought her down to the basement with us for a bit tonight and she knew that Mommy and Mama’s beds were down there, the familiar things from home are down here – but she still doesn’t fully understand that Grammy’s house is now her house too.

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I know she will get used to it and its not going to be damaging or traumatic for her, but as a Mommy, a stressed out Mommy, it makes me sad that she has to go through such a confusing time – moving out of the only home she’s known and sleeping in a bed she’s not used to, surrounded by a room that’s not familiar with all her toys in storage, except for her most favorite Baby Ellen and a few comforts from “home”.

Of course, the Nook with her most favorite game “Toddler Shopping 2″ is also here, and she sure loves that game. If you have a toddler and they like playing with apps, this is an app to try. Its so simple and I don’t have any idea what the appeal is, but she could play with it all day!

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Its an adjustment for us all – but I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I really appreciate all my blogger friends and my family and friends in our personal life that have given such beautiful and much needed words of encouragement while we all three come to terms with the path of our lives right now – and helping me see the silver lining where it is! I really am feeling much lighter as a result of your kind words. That’s why I love this community of bloggers!!

Besides … with a smile like this in your view, who could be sad for long!

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Barely Afloat

I am pretty sure there is little else I can put on my shoulders right now, on my metaphoric plate of life. Literally, one more thing may cause me to topple over and explode – turn to dust, ash, disintegrate. And at this point, maybe that would be better.

In the last few months, I have developed what my therapist is calling Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia. If you don’t know what that means, it means I am reluctant to leave my house – which is affecting my work attendance. By not attending work, affects our finances, as the only person making steady income to support our bills. Which means, we are very very behind on every bill we owe, including rent. A contributor to the reluctance to go to work is Kim’s health has been on the fritz lately, and I know I have discussed it here before.

She was having trouble walking, stumbling around, losing function in both her legs and her arms. She was becoming clumsy, dropping everything, the grip in her hands were gone. She was finding it difficult to see, focus on anything in her vision. She couldn’t hold our kid. She couldn’t help take care of her and it made me nervous to leave the house and leave the two of them without proper support.

It was starting to scare the shit out of me. Every doctor we went to see sent us to a new doctor, racking up more and more debt that we don’t have money for. When we Googled it, which remind me again, not to do that, I know – I know – we found that all the symptoms really pointed to something neurological, Multiple Sclerosis to be exact.

However, what we found out instead was Kim had developed Lithium poisoning. And Lithium poisoning is no joke. It can mess up a ton of things in the body and affects the body much like other neurological disorders.

We found out that due to her bipolar medication, Lithium, in three months, her kidney function was cut in half. She was being poisoned by the medication that was supposed to help her. This contributed to the symptoms that we originally were concerned may have been multiple sclerosis. The neurologist had her Lithium levels checked and they were well beyond a safe range and the psychiatrist took her off the medication for a bit.

So, while, currently we are seeing some improvement since she has been taken off it, she is still experiencing some of the symptoms on a smaller scale – like her hands still shake, but she is at least able to sign her name somewhat legible now. And, we are happy to know that she doesn’t have MS, but instead she was being poisoned.

**Which I know sounds terrible, perhaps even the same kind of terrible, but at least it’s been caught and likely reversible! I am trying to look on the bright side here!**

After the last three months of craziness with Kim’s health and my concern for leaving her alone with Punky, I wasn’t going to work and was focusing on taking care of things at home. What does that mean? It means we are so far behind in our bills and finances that we have to move out of our apartment and go live with Kim’s mom in their basement. Yes. We will be basement dwellers with a two year old. I’m so very not pleased about this, mostly because I feel like such a damn failure as a person, a partner, and a mother.

I’m 30 years old and we are going to pack all our things and go live with her parents. It continues to sadden me. I am so grateful that we have this option and we aren’t instead on the street somewhere, but it’s really a very humbling experience to know you can’t support your family or your kid the way you want to. I am still very grateful to have the support of her family around us right now when things are so out of whack mentally and physically with both of us. We both decided to break at the same time!

I’m also disappointed in myself that I allowed myself to wallow in self-pity for so long that I broke our finances and was no longer able to be counted on to be a provider for our family. So while this is not the most ideal situation I would want us to be in, we will have more support from Kim’s parents while she is on the mend from her ordeal medically and I will be feeling more confident in leaving them alone – so that I can go back to work and start making money again.

Luckily for us, and one of the prouder moments of my last few months, Miss Punky isn’t the wiser of what’s going on. Its always my concern that she will never knew the struggles we go through – not like I did when I was growing up.

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Instead she doesn’t know what’s going on, but she’s still going to school, which we have had trouble paying the tuition on, but I just can’t let it go, yet. And she’s making friends and her teachers say she has really come out of her shell a lot! How in the world do I take that away from her!?

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She’s interacting, exploring and overall thriving in her toddler-age and that is something I am most excited about. So even though we have some troubles right now, the bright light of our life is always Punky, even when she’s driving me nuts – with whining and tantrums – a little hug or cuddle and my heart is unburdened a little and my spirit is uplifted just a bit more.

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We are in the process of packing up our belongings and finding a storage place to keep them for maybe 6 months or so, hopefully by then we will be back on our feet and house hunting. Rental houses, but house hunting nonetheless. I really don’t want to live in an apartment again. I would love to have Punky living in a house with a yard, where she can grow and thrive and play. And … maybe get that puppy she’s been asking for, thanks to her Mama’s suggestions!

So, while we are not really on the path I would like to be on for our future, it will only be for a small bit, a little while and in the end, the goal is to be better than we were to start with. Hopefully. Here’s to a big hope. So while this post may be full of what I feel like is overwhelming depression, we are wading in a pool of uncertainty, I’m not even sure where to begin – the future is in sight, the goal for better things is in our minds, but it sure does feel like a long way away!

Maybe Miss Punky will keep our spirits light by learning to play the piano! Or … just banging on the keys of the piano she discovered at Papaw’s house.

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22/52 – Father’s Day and Water Play

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This pretty girl has declared recently “I not a baby anymore!”

Which, neither of are really sure what that means, to Punky, but we know what it means to her mothers.

We aren’t supposed to sing songs for her, she will do it. We aren’t supposed to help her dance. She will do it. We can’t help her put her socks on, Punky will do it. Moms are allowed to take her shoes off for her, she’s got it.

We also can’t make presents for her Papa/Uncle Day without her assistance. So, she got to put the presents for her uncles and papa in their bags and stuff the paper in as well. This year they all got custom chocolate Hershey’s bars. Mommy made the wrong dimensions and we had to improvise, but it was still cute!

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For her Bubba (godfather) we made him a Moonpie Tower, because he loves Moonpies and of course was over the moon to have them! But of course, we had to try them before we made the tower!

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Papa got a T-Shirt with this ironed on it and it was a pretty awesome hit! Immediately worn when unwrapped, which is pretty much every year, since Papa gets a new shirt every year! Suppose it’s better than a tie!!

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Overall, Papa/Uncle Day was a pretty good success. After the festivities of presents and BBQ, it was time for the kids to get in the pool for some water play and swimming. Punky is really loving the water right now. Its great that her preschool has water play on Tuesdays as well, so they have her bring her swimsuit and they explore different water type activities, this week it was running through the sprinklers.

So, she loves her goggles and swimming at Grammy and Papa’s house, so they spent the afternoon browning in the sunlight – and swimming up and down the pool.

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And at the end of the day, Papa/Uncle Day wore out my kiddo and her Mama! This is by far one of my most favorite pictures ever!!

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Father’s Day In Preschool When There’s No Dad

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Father’s Day is Sunday. I read about how other people handled Father’s Day in their own lesbian homes and everyone is a little different. Some people are celebrating their day by giving Father’s Day to their partner, while they have Mother’s Day. Or others who don’t celebrate at all. Or some who explain what it is, but just that other people celebrate. And then there are some like our family.

We celebrate the men in Punky’s life. It’s lovingly referred to as “Papa/Uncle Day” and its a super special time. It really does keep in our minds how lucky Punky is. How loved she is and how many male role models she has in her life.

And then there are days like yesterday that squash the ideas and my happy little bubble.

I picked up Punky from school and she had painted a tie picture for Father’s Day. When her teacher handed it to me, I smiled and said thank you. It was super cute and when I picked Punky up in my arms and asked what she made she replied with:

“I made it for Daddy.”

Insert stomach drop here. Heart sinking feeling. Disappointment washed over me.

“Can we give it to Papa, sweetie? You don’t have a Daddy, but you do have a Papa!” I suggested an alternative and tried my best to curb my anger at the tone of my voice.

This whole thing had put me in an awkward position. I was having to vocally tell my two year old she doesn’t have a Daddy. And why? Because all day, or at least while they were painting, the teachers (who know she has two moms) were repeating over and over, what I am sure they thought was a simple and non-offensive phrase, “Let’s make a present for Daddy.” 

I am absolutely sure this shouldn’t be as big of a deal as it is to me. I am extra sensitive right now – I have noticed, with all the stress of Kim’s health and how that has effected us in regards to childcare, finances and just daily life – I’m pretty snappy.

I didn’t bring it up to her teacher at the time and I probably won’t, because by the time she goes back to school, Father’s Day will be over and it won’t matter. It will be a whole year before we have to deal (wishful thinking here) with the whole Daddy thing again. The only reason we are dealing with it right now is because of the holiday that is coming up.

Kim tried to get me to logically see that this wasn’t an issue. It’s Father’s Day. They didn’t think about. Blah Blah Blah. But, its not just Punky who doesn’t have a father. I mean there are plenty of kids who don’t have dads in their lives. They have deadbeat dads, actual dead dads, or any number of other types of families. I just felt like they should have been more vigilant in their wording.

We have a specific way we refer to her donor, and it’s not Daddy. She’s only met her donor once, before she could actually remember meeting him. She doesn’t know what it means to have a donor, she’s fucking two. But, the last thing I want to have to do – is try and explain to a two year old what a Daddy is and why she doesn’t have one and other people do.

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Its probably just because I’m in a funk, and its effecting me more than I should let it. More than it really needs to. But, the last thing I ever want Punky to feel is “left out” – especially on a holiday that the freaking whole nation celebrates in some way. Which is why we came up with Papa/Uncle Day. It’s her way to giving presents still and celebrating the holiday without having to discuss “Father’s Day”.

So, I guess for now, its not as big a deal as I wanted to make it and I am not going to freak out on the teacher. But, it does remind me that our family is different and it also reminded me that people don’t really take into consideration that my child may need different things when it comes to holidays.

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There are a ton of Christian people who ask why atheists get so ‘uptight’ about their religion being taught in public schools or religion being brought up outside of the church. It’s the same concept as what I’m talking about in regards to Father’s Day.

Not everyone celebrates the same. Not everyone believes the same. And while, I have no problem with my daughter being exposed to other things and I’m not asking that Father’s Day be banned from school – I am asking that we take into consideration that one phrase or one belief is not depicted as the only way or the RIGHT way to say the phrase or believe the belief.

When I heard her say “I made for Daddy.” it was a definitive phrase, like there was no one else that tie painting could be for. Like she wasn’t given any other choices. But she has other choices. So, instead of narrowing the field and bringing on just one word in regards to the holiday, expose kids to differences, let them explore and learn different ways to celebrate, include everyone’s beliefs and everyone’s version of the holiday.

So, just like religion being introduced to my kid. I am not upset that she was exposed to “Daddy”. I am upset she wasn’t given another option to consider. Just the same for church. I don’t care if you talk to my kid about Jesus or God. I don’t care if she’s exposed to it, I want her to be able to explore on her own – but I also want her to be given the choice to explore more than just the one choice and be told it’s the only choice there is.

Because in the end, there’s just not one right way in any subject, its all perception and circumstances. She needs to be able to make up her own mind. And, yes, she’s only 2 so this is a little deep and a little heavy for me to be thinking about – but damnit, it really bothered me.

Now, I need to figure out a better way to head this off before it becomes an issue when she’s older, when it may actually effect her in a real negative way.