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!

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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!