puppets for my poppet.

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today we went to a puppet show. a good old fashioned puppet show. which made me ridiculously giddy to be there. no one really enjoys live entertainment anymore, do they?! i was really proud of myself to get the kid out of the house and enjoy something that wasn’t made by disney. and i had to bite my lip from chanting with the children, “WAKE UP, PUPPETS!” when the show began. i have actually been known to blurt answers when teachers in bud’s class ask the kiddos questions. because i just get a little too excited. am i really turning 28? i believe i am!

afterwards, i did some last minute thanksgiving shopping (whaddami, crazy!?) and hurried home to put bud down for a long awaited nap. and as i kissed him and walked out the door, i couldn’t help but smile. oh, did i forgot to mention? we have a sleep trained baby. no big deal.

for almost exactly a year and a half, my husband and i wrote off sleep training. it’s not for our kid, we kept insisting. we tried it when he was much younger and it went horrendously. then, we had a discussion with our best friends, who had sleep trained their baby when he was younger. it was as they described, a nightmare, but after two torturous months, they can now put their baby down and walk out his bedroom without having the walls shake in poltergeist-like protest. inspired by this, my husband and i took a breath and took the plunge.

it took four days.

four, not even that bad, days. we had built it up so much in our heads because it had gone so badly before, that we were making ourselves sick with dread over it. and bud was all like, hey guys, no big deal. i got this. and he did. he got it. i mean, sure, he cried a bit in the uber very beginning, but i chose not to judge how this was going to go based on the first day. and by the next few days, he was over it. oh, we’re going to sleep? this is what we’re doing? sweet.

and then, the very next day he ate peas. peas! peas that he despised so desperately that he would sob every time we would bring them to his face. holy balls, this kid is full of surprises.

he schools me every day. it never hurts to try things again. and it never helped me when i made assumptions about him not being able to do something. he sure showed me.

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words of encouragement to my fellow bloggerettes…

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look at those post baby flyways! old pic for ya.

one thing that always made me hesitant about having a blog were those overtly critical comments you get. the really harsh ones that are unnecessary and mean spirited. i was recently schooled on “internet trolls”. have any of you heard of this?!

apparently, some people get their sick jollies from getting a rise out of bloggers online so they deliberately leave hateful comments to provoke some sort of response. this isn’t like someone leaving a judgmental comment about your lifestyle. these trolls are purposely wanting to spread hate and yucky feelings.

after realizing that there are people like this out there, it almost made it easier. okay, so there are people who aren’t seeking me out because they are in their right minds and contributing their input on my life. they are simply reaching out with the sole purpose of ruining my day. in some strange way, this realization made internet hate comments less personal to me. less threatening.

so, for you fellow bloggers: don’t be discouraged when you get hate mail. don’t get stomach knots when you read that someone out there wants your family to die in a fiery accident. no one actually thinks that. and if they do, they are just wanting to feed their own sickness in order to feel less alone in an understandably scary world. learn to pity the trolls. and shrug it off. like water off a duck’s back. (it helps if you chant, “let it rollllll off…” with the l nice and loooong.)

because in all honesty, these trolls are not an accurate representation of your readership. not everyone who thoroughly enjoys your writing makes that extra effort to comment. it’s just unfortunate that most of the people who feel strongly about commenting are wanting to derail your day. hate, at times, can be much stronger than appreciation.

pro ejemplo: you have a good recipe you’re trying to follow. and then you go ahead and add too much salt. the salt is overwhelming. it just stamps out all the wonderful flavors that you got going on in your amazing recipe. but it doesn’t mean there isn’t good stuff there. no. it just means that, lucky you, salt speaks up a lot louder.

so there you have it. my two cents on getting discouraged about internet hate. by the way, have you ever read this blog by this fantastic, fabulous blogger, hey natalie jean? she gets nasty comments. but look at her, in all her fabulousness. even the jennifer lawrences of bloggers get dogged on, but look who rocks on!

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during this brief intermission…

i share with you a joke! a joke made of GOLD! only while my website is still spazzing. new header, a little pizazz…you just wait and see.

i made this one up. i swear, and if you find this somewhere else, like on a laffy taffy wrapper, you tell me! because you heard it here first!

-what did the tardy man with facial hair say to his friend?

just guess.

-MUST DASH! (get it?!)

mustache? no?

you didn’t hear it from me.

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update!

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cut my own hair by the way. first time! not too shabby, eh?

hey whaddya know. i’m redoing my blog’s layout and may start taking this stuff a bit more seriously…let the wind take me! woo hoo! OH, and i decided to renew my domain for http://www.joanofalltrades.com. see you there!

btw, excuse the crazy spazzing my blog will be doing today. as i mentioned earlier, today and perhaps the next couple weeks, it will be undergoing some major cosmetic surgery.

be back soon!

-j

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routine freakout

i am pooping my pants, people! not really.

so today was bud’s routine 18 month peds appointment. there, i was in for a shocker. the pediatrician nonchalantly asked me if i was interested in preschool for bud. my eyebrows went up. yes, of course…why, do you ask? well, as it turns out, enrollment begins in january for the following september. are you kidding me?! we are already talking about preschool here?!

bud is a year and a half. i just had him last year! i can still say that as we are slowly counting down to 2014. once 2015 hits…oh, geez i just don’t know! but preschool?! isn’t it too soon?!

the pediatrician reassured me it was just an option, but preschool does allow registration at two and a half years. which bud will be. next september. *gag

we are discussing my little baby becoming two and a half years old. waaaaaah. time, you are so cruel! the thing about raising a kid is that the moment you feel comfortable and used to one phase, the next phase hits. which is fantastic. so great. a truly selfless mother would embrace this. but i, on the other hand, am mourning the loss of little babyhood. i am clinging on for dear life. it’s just so dang hard to let go. on the outside, i am encouraging my kiddo to flourish, to grow…but internally, i am a little (okay a lot) sad. it’s passing me by too fast. they don’t lie when they say, “it goes by fast!” and by “they” i mean strangers who would initiate conversations with you at random places when you were carrying around a wee little newborn. why does that always happen? because they want to forewarn you of the upcoming heartbreak if you are not prepared. not prepared to let go. cue frozen song?

if that wasn’t a shocker for me, pampers sent me an email newsletter asking, mom, have you started potty training? surely you can’t be talking about my wee little baby, pampers?! but indeed. they are. because if preschool wasn’t enough to think about, the beginning of potty training also arrived at this momentous occasion. it all feels so early! the thought of no more diaper changes and having a little walking and talking person being independent enough to go to the bathroom on his own was a bridge i hadn’t even thought of crossing. and now i’m there. crossing.

after i picked my jaw off the floor at how fast my baby is growing, i focused on the joyousness of it all. it only gets more fun, i was once told. and i believe that to the fullest. the second you adjust to one period of your baby’s life, you’re hit with the next (sometimes unexpectedly) but you are always thinking to yourself, holy balls…i thought it was fun before, but it just keeps getting better. okay, sure, i forget to embrace it a lot of the time. but with a smiley, giggly reminder of your product, it’s hard not to smile and giggle back.

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the mommy wars

i have been away from the mom scene for quite a few months now. after a friend’s recommendation, i had joined a mommy group on meetup.com and had been catapulted into playgroups, mommy meet ups, and story time readings. i think what did it was when i had hosted a meetup, i was greeted with the same question several times from different mothers: what other activities do you involve your kid in? stammering with responses that vaguely expressed “none”, they had all yammered away at giving me advice, recommendations, and insight into what they do with their babies.

in retrospect, i can say that i got swept away with something that wasn’t at all necessary. i felt pressured, i felt like i fell behind in the mommy category. but i know perfectly cohesive, mature adults who never went to daily playgroups. and i’m sure ted bundy had once been right there, clapping along in gymboree classes. what i mean to say is, it’s great to get your kid socialized. but there are a lot of expectations as a mother–a mile long standard, that we are all being set to. if you don’t have a packed schedule monday through friday, you’re perceived as neglectful. lazy, even. and that you’re encouraging your child to be completely codependent. but…isn’t that what preschool is for? no matter how much you prepare your kid, this transition never comes easy. not for the mother, who loses either way. secretly, we want our kids to tear up a bit when we wave goodbye. but then again, when they dash in, without so much of a kiss on the cheek, we’re also at a bit of a loss.

another realization i am facing is that the mommy community is brutal. if you haven’t heard of the “mommy wars”, i suggest you google it. a bunch of moms labeling each other and judging to the harshest extent. do any of us even meet up to these expectations? and the labels…woo wee! so many to fall under! but they comfort some of us; it allows us to judge each other easier. which is definitely not a good thing. what kind of mom are you? is the question i see in the narrowing eyes of the mothers scrutinizing me at every meetup. i am covered with tattoos. i am significantly younger than the moms in my area. i also don’t own a bugaboo or joovy baby stroller, a mercedes, or a two hundred dollar diaper bag to cutely tote around my toddler’s poopy diapers. in case you didn’t catch that, we live in a ritzy area that we were fortunate enough to get into with a housing program and our military background (we loved the schools). here are the labels that we love to choose from:

 

-the organic mom (organic food, self explanatory)

-the all natural mom (not to be confused with organic mom; these moms strictly use all natural products ie. sunscreen)

-the germ mom (go ahead and touch that pile of dog feces!)

-the sterile mom (must.clorox.everything…DON’T TOUCH THAT, YOU’LL GET EBOLA!)

-the fit mom (always seen in lulu lemon leggings, a puffy vest, and a hoodie that screams, perfect combo for running and yoga!)

-the new mom (see this unwashed hair? that’s not a skin condition, that’s just my unmoisturized, hairy legs…crap, i forgot to put on underwear…)

-the helicopter mom (child is always within hug’s reach because at any moment, a guy in a ski mask can pop out of the gymboree toy bin and abduct my child)

-the “it’s all good” mom (child is sticking a fork in the electrical outlet–he’ll learn!)

-the overindulgent mom (sure, you can have this brick of gold)

-the stringent mom (i fashioned this toy out of toilet paper rolls and paper clips! do you like?)

 

the thing is…none of us fit under one label. and some of us put so much pressure on ourselves so that we do. because we want to be “that mom” that we aspire to. but honestly, no one, not even jessica alba herself, is a single labeled mother. we just need to remind ourselves that there’s a certain image that people project, and it may not even be realistic or authentic. that’s the thing about living in a society that relies so heavily on social media; we can all be the person we want to be online. don’t ever believe the hype. be a little bit of everything, but most importantly, remember to be all of you.

side note: great article from the new york times forwarded to me today by a newly made (gasp!) mom friend! i never thought this day would come! i finally found someone like minded in this world full of crazy (ahem–moms). man, it’s tough out there. but your people are out there! you just gotta look. much like dating. remember how fun that was (NOT)!

article is here. if you are wondering if this article is worth your time to read…it is. i know some of you mamas are busy dollies, but ohhh this is a good one. for this new rising culture of moms where you are never good enough. the writer, heather havrilesky speaks of the overwhelming pressure of being a mom in this time, which has changed greatly since we were young. little sneak peak for ya:

“We are besieged by Facebook images of sun-kissed children canning homegrown peaches and building tiny replicas of the Eiffel Tower out of toothpicks and being home-schooled on organic dairy farms in Wisconsin.”

“Personally, though, I don’t want to read about amazing kid-friendly boutique hotels with treehouse cabins in Sweden. I don’t want to know about the most delicious cherry pie some super-relaxed stay-at-home dad made with his towheaded toddler. I am not interested in hearing theories on what gave your 5-year-old such a premature grasp of quadratic equations, or about the countless benefits of living in Berlin for your now-German-speaking, bicycle-riding, train-hopping spawn. There’s too much pressure, on parents in general and mothers in particular, to keep our kids away from corn syrup and bullies and industrially farmed beef while introducing them to chapter books and charcoal drawings and parasailing.”

HA! and this reminds me…new goal for moi: make sure that the next time i meet a fellow mom, make that extra effort getting to know her. the real her. and ask her questions to get to know that person beyond the label “mom”.

good day to you all!

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veteran’s day

every veteran’s day, i get a funny feeling in my chest. is it shame? pride? how can you feel emotions that so directly conflict with one another?

i had never been to war. i had never been deployed to anywhere of real threat. and when i see images of marines, soldiers…my brothers in arms fighting and dying for their country, i feel a little sick.

today, of all days…how can i receive thanks for serving in the military when i had never experienced anything as traumatizing as they had? i had never seen my fellow service members bleeding out on the dirt. i had never seen the look of terror in the eyes of boys who will never see their 21st birthdays. never taken a bullet for my country. how can i be lumped into the same category as these heroes?

this is not a lesson in modesty. it’s simply that i don’t feel worthy to be a subject of praise on this day.

any other day, my chest swells with pride that i had committed a number of years of my life to the service. but on veteran’s day, my feelings are mixed and bittersweet. the air force has their values: integrity first, service before self, excellence in all we do. once i had become pregnant, i knew i had to opt out of the military. i no longer agreed with these values. and i would be an impostor if i stayed in. once i realized i would have a child, i knew it would never be “service before self” ever again. my child will always comes first. and it wouldn’t be fair to my fellow airmen while they put their duties first. so i submitted my request to my commander to be released from duty; a chance women only get in the military. and i took that chance.

i still feel this urge to give back. give back to the veterans and the active duty service members who are fighting. fighting for this country, fighting for their jobs amidst ptsd, fighting to hold their families together, fighting to hold off bad memories that seep back into their minds.

i think i may be onto something, guys. i’ve been thinking a lot about what to do once bud starts preschool. besides writing, of course. last year i had applied for a job as veterans career specialist at a local college. as someone who got her masters while active duty, i thought this position would be ideal. luckily, it turned out not getting that job was a blessing in disguise, as i got the wonderful opportunity to watch my kid’s daily ups and downs. but still, the days are quickly ticking down to when i need to hunker down and seriously look for employment once preschool starts. my three year plan is still in its wee baby stages…but the ideas are fizzing!

anyways, thank you to my fellow veterans. what you sacrifice to this country, big or small, is worth year long celebration. i can’t even begin to express my gratitude for what you have done for us. MUCH love!

happy veteran’s day, to all of you. you guys deserve it more than i do! muah!

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