Four Things

>> 12.19.2014

I saw this questionnaire on Jen’s blog, so I thought it’d be a fun way to end a Friday.

Four names that people call me, other than my real name:
  • Ash
  • Mama
  • Mommy
  • Sandra (long story)
Four jobs I have had:
  • Marketing Manager at a mapping company
  • Communications Specialist at a software company
  • Professional Writing Tutor at a community college
  • Assistant to Dean + facilities manager (?) at a university library

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:
  • Forrest Gump
  • American Beauty
  • Eternal Sunshine
  • Clueless
  • OK, guys. There are so many more...
Four books I’d recommend:

I spend most of my time writing and editing my own work. By the end of the day, I’m done with words. When I have free time lately, I’ve been trying to re-learn violin. Or go for a slow jog and listen to Serial. Could you suggest some books for me to get into over the holiday?

Four places I have been:
  • Red Rock River Canyon 
  • Stowe, VT
  • Alcatraz Island
  • Coastal Maine

Four places I’d rather be right now:
  • Eataly for lunch
  • Somewhere mild to go for a jog without layers
  • Mirbeau for a nice spa soak
  • Wellsboro
Four things I don’t eat:
  • Meat
  • Blue cheese
  • Vanilla desserts
  • Whole milk
Four of my favorite foods:
  • Pizza
  • Chocolate + peanut butter
  • Caprese salad
  • Avocados

Four TV shows that I watch:
  • Master Chef + Jr.
  • Downton Abbey
  • Documentaries on anything
  • Just started American Horror Story

Four things I am looking forward to this year:
  • A big snowstorm.
  • A family vacation somewhere new. 
  • Working on our house.
  • A positive pregnancy test. Please!

Four things I’m always saying:
  • “Honestly, actually, etc."
  • “It’s just . . .” 
  • “Don’t put that in your mouth!” 
  • “I’m going to bake some cookies really fast...” 

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The Way Back

>> 12.17.2014

My concept of time since Ada was born has become so different. I can now measure years by how many inches she has grown. I can see time in this way. It’s kind of awesome. Kind of overwhelming. Kind of just weird because time feels like it moves so slowly.

And at other times, ridiculously fast.

We had a moment today where both of us were in tears. Whenever Ada returns home from preschool, there’s this transition. She acts tough and doesn’t listen when I pick her up. It takes her a good half hour to turn back into my loving kid who isn’t all big and independent and in this world all on her own. Today, however, it took longer and she was actually just crabby for a while.

You know the kind of crabby. Where basically dropping a plastic straw on the floor results in an epic meltdown. Today, she was trying to change her shirt and had trouble. Tears. Screaming. Kicking when I tried to help. Etc. I tried distracting and moving onto other things. And when that didn’t work, I got out these Christmas pajamas I ordered for the whole family to match (another story -- soon!). Ada loved the idea, so she slipped hers on and told me to do the same. We climbed upstairs to the hallway mirror and . . . tears. All over again.

I said: “Oh, baby, baby. It’s OK.” 

I rocked her with a little shushing sound. And here I go tearing up again for what happened next. She roared I'm NOT A BABY ANYMORE, MAMA!!!” And in that moment, that truth sunk down to the bottom of my soul. I’m being dramatic, but it felt pretty major. Obviously I’ve known she’s a "big girl" for a while. I’d try sneaking in some of the cradling and kissing and hugging, understanding full well we’ve move onto a new type of parent-child relationship where the affection and love is just as needed as ever . . . but definitely different.

Hearing Ada declare to me with such fervor she’s not a baby made it all connect in a new way. Blame it on the hormones or the TTC limbo or finally packing away the crib that we had been storing in the spare room. Whatever it is, I was just . . . so sad standing there holding her at the top of the stairs. I thought back to all those times I resented having to rock and shush her to sleep. Sigh.

But I tried not to wallow for long. Ada also got her first school photos today. Since I’m an amateur photographer, we’ve never really had photos of Ada taken by anyone but, well, me. When I opened up the packet, my heart screamed with joy. The photos are basic and, you know, corny. But they’re my new treasures.

Especially this one:

Yup. That’s a corduroy cat skort (skirt + shorts). I found it at a children’s thrift shop and -- even though other parents dressed their kids way, way up -- I knew it’d be perfect. I mean. I am so happy I’ll be looking back on these photos in 50 years and see those cats. Meow.

One last reminder on the gift lists.

Two shopping days left for shipment before the holiday!

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Preschooler Pressure

>> 12.15.2014

“Look! I drawed you, mommy!”

I heard Ada call to me from the other room where I had rolled out a huge piece of paper atop the dining room table. There amidst the scribbles and smudges, I saw a face, two eyes and a mouth, and spider legs sprouting out with two “shoes” at the base. It may have been my proudest moment as a parent to date. My kid drew a picture . . . of me!

But it was quickly followed by “I’m not good. Mama -- YOU draw it better.”

I didn’t know what to do at first. Honestly, I was amazed. I think her drawing is absolutely beautiful and that she is, in fact, very good. I told her that she is still new at drawing. She will learn more with time and that practice helps with everything. But Ada persisted, forcing her marker into my hand and frowning.

So, I tried teaching her some tricks for mastering the stick figure.

A circle for the head
A line for the body
Then one arm, two arms
One leg, two legs
Two dots for eyes
A squiggle for the mouth

Ada followed along for a while, but started crying, wiping fat tears from her eyes that mixed with the marker on her hands and left a rainbow trail down her cheeks. What a heartbreaking sight. We are a house of praise, so I don’t know exactly where her harsh self-criticism is stemming from. I’ve noticed it here and there in the past, but in recent months it’s been amplified.

I have no wisdom to share, but it’s showing me that we’ve entered yet another stage of parenting where I feel somewhat lost and confused on what to do next. Unlike the skipped naps and difficult nursing sessions of the past -- I feel this is the stuff where it gets truly hard because my actions may directly impact the way Ada feels about herself and abilities for the rest of her life.

No pressure or anything.

Is your child hard on him or herself? What do you do to build him/her up?

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