Friday, September 6, 2013


I don't know if I'm worthy of using the acronym yet but I sure am earning my stripes (and poundin' the beers!) as a new....

......wait for it....

.......drum roll please....

Stay-at-home Mom!

You never realize that *that* is your [current] dream until you have a little booger of your own and want nothing but to be with them night and day, 365 days a year. Until, of course, you are with them night and day, 365 days a year and then you're just plotting the next quiet moment you'll have to yourself.

There are ups and downs, positives and negatives, good and bad of everything and this is no different. Well, ok, I can't stage a walk-out but there's that deep down, annoying biological instinct of just being a mother that always wins that battle.

My goal every day has been to wear Zoey out as much as possible, not taking into consideration that making her tired makes me about four-times more tired. I make dinner nightly and often find myself too exhausted to actually eat it. And achy! And everything cracks! And while I've done the dishes about three times throughout the day, the sink is still crammed full of shit come 10pm.

But I'm not complaining, I swear. Just give me a second to put a teeny bit [more?] Bailey's in my coffee....

So here are some of the ways Zoey and I (and the dogs) have been spending more time together:

 Creative genius at work here, people.

 We have a few masterpieces already on the fridge.

 The Restaurant Creamer Stacking Torch has been successfully passed. One Friday morning I was too beat to make breakfast and since Jacob forgot his lunch, I took the opportunity to have someone else serve us for a change at what Zoey calls, "the pancake store." (IHOP).

 The moment her pancake arrived.

 No, she didn't eat it all; she concentrated mostly on her eggs n' 'tatoes.

 After we dropped off Daddy's lunch, we went to the playground that is around the corner. I'll say one thing for the city that shuts down all water-related activities as soon as school starts - you can't throw a stone without hitting a park/playground.

 No, plastic slides don't get scorching hot and aren't lightening conductors, but they do have their drawbacks...

 I couldn't help it. There is a candy store by our house that I always wanted to take Zoey to and that day seemed like as good a day as any. She picked out the pink crystal sucker candy right away but then, of course, wanted several of everything else.

 Yeeeeahhhh, that's the stuff...

As soon as the first day of school rolled around, I thought, yay; I can finally take Zoey to the pool and splash park and not have to deal with big crowds. It worked on the day-of. Then Labor Day happened and everything was shut off, covered, stored and hunkered down for the season like a blizzard was coming in a matter of hours. After - of course - forgetting this, going back to Terry Park because I thought other kids her age might be there, and stumbling around trying without success to turn the splash park on, I'm convinced this city is on crack. I'm sure budgetary constraints are the reason but I'm optimistic that if the parks stayed open, they'd still receive a good deal of business from folks such as myself: stay-at-home parents of children under school age. We need fun stuff to do, especially if it's 95-degrees outside three weeks passed the start of school.

As it happened, though, Zoey was more interested in the random puddle on the edge of the playground area. Before I remembered everything was shut off, I asked Zoey, "Will you come help me try to turn the water park on?" She said, "No, I just want to play in the puddle." And that's what she did for a good hour or so.

 Another parent brought his child with similar ideas of playing in the splash park. Good thing she was satisfied with just playing in the puddle, too.

The most-recent puddle pictures aside, one of the downsides to staying home with Zoey is that she doesn't get the regular interaction with other children. She will eventually, of course, when she starts pre-school, but I've noticed that socializing children when they're toddlers really helps cement how to share, be nice, and follow rules. Like I said before - I went to daycare and look how great I turned out.

With that in mind - and thinking that if I'm in the position to help someone then I should - I agreed to help my friend when she needed someone to watch her son on a day her daycare lady was sick. As a woman who has experienced being both a working-mom and stay-at-home mom, there is nothing more conflicting than needing to take care of your child but not being able to take off work. So we killed two birds with one stone; we got both toddlers some much-needed fellow-toddler interaction, and my friend got to work another day and make another dollar (most likely to pay for daycare).

Zoey and Eli slurping on peaches (I know that is a big reason Zoey likes them so much) while watching Spongebob Squarepants.

The two of them were very independent. They did whatever they wanted, played whatever they wanted; sometimes together, sometimes separate.

Ahhhhh yeah; a guy could get used to this.

Eli found the Tickle-Me-Elmo my mom - *holds head high* - got me the Christmas before my freshman year of college. He LOVED it.

Playground time!

Eli ran around and took care of business, playing on everything.

Couple of monkeys.

In the afternoon - too hot to stay inside - we turned the sprinkler on and made mud.

The dogs wanted to be in on the fun, too.

He threw the ball into the sprinkler then demanded I go and get it. Sorry, bud; that's all you. :-)

Playing fetch with Louis. The dogs thoroughly enjoyed having another little person around who smells like food and drops it everywhere.

I'm pretty sure this was how Durbin spent his mornings when we were all at work too, but now he has company and - even though she knows she's not supposed to - someone to give him random pieces of pre-breakfast snacks. I think he's secretly a fan of Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Thomas the Tank Engine, though.

No, it's not the most difficult job in the world. And it's not like I'm curing cancer, touring space, or developing technologies that make it obsolete to think for ourselves, but I'd like to think I'm doing something of equal importance: helping to propagate the goodness of the species by raising a kind, strong, intelligent, independent person who will someday contribute positive things to the world. My rewards aren't of the cancer-curing, space-touring, or technology-developing caliber, but just like your boss commending your work gives you a little bounce in your step, randomly hearing, "Mommy, I'm so happy you're home with me," gives me a little bounce in mine.