Tuesday, March 31, 2009

For the grandparents...

Just a random list of updates!

New Nugget Tricks:
-Walking backwards
-Climbing and sliding at the park by himself
-Jumping off a tall platform at the park, with a hand from Mommy or Daddy
-Scooting down stairs, facing forward on bottom by himself or walking down steps with help
-Can throw a small ball about 3 feet
-Signs:  dog, cat, bird, duck, kangaroo, mouse, bat, sheep, lion, zebra, train, car, tree, leaf, shoes, milk, bread, cookie, cake, strawberry, grapes, cracker, banana, fruit, more, water, please, book, ball, finished, boy
-Linking signs together like "more cracker please" or "please sheep book"
-New words:  What is that?, mum-mum (brand of rice cracker), pizza, ball
-Sounds:  shhh, moo, woo-woo (woof)
-Current book picks:  The Little Lamb, Sheep in a Shop, Green Eggs and Ham, Whistle for Willie

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Toddler Gifts

Pre-Nugget, buying gifts for the 1-3 year old set always intimidated me.  Too big for baby stuff, too young for most toy options on the market.  Now that I have a toddler, I have a better idea of great practical goodies for toddlers!  I waited until there is no upcoming occasion for the Nugget, so this post wouldn't be misconstrued as a wish list!

Music:  I have yet to meet a toddler who doesn't like to boogie.  Wrap up a cd in a cute zippered case that can go from the car to the house without dropping and breaking 3 plastic jewel cases.  My favorite kids' artists are Sandra Boynton, Putumayo Kids, and They Might Be Giants.

Cups:  Toddlers go through a lot of sippy cups.  They break them, they lose them, they roll them behind the couch until Daddy finds them 3 months later, full of rancid stinky solidified milk.  Currently, our favorites are Klean Kanteens (can be purchased with the sport cap or sippy adaptor - yes, I know I'm a hippie), and the Thermos Foogo Straw Bottle.  If you want to make it extra special, order some Inchbug personalized reusable ID bands.

Musical Instruments:  Plan Toys makes some really fun, beautifully made, sustainable options for younger children that are actually affordable.  The Nugget has the solid wood drum and we all love it.  Its sound is rich and deep, not at all annoying.

Chunky Wood Puzzles:  I am so in love with this one by Kid-O.  Melissa and Doug and Plan Toys also make sustainable chunky wood puzzles for the toddler set.

Push and Pull Toys:  Every toy brand makes these, from lawnmowers to grocery carts, pull ducks, dogs, even hippos.  I would attest that at every playdate, these are the toys that the toddlers are fighting over.

Aquadoodle:  Stimulate creativity without the mess.  This travel version would be perfect for your favorite road tripper or jet-setter.

Playsilks:  Seem too simple but are beloved by both boys and girls for their limitless potential.   Hem your own squares of silk if you've got skills, if not, find them at Hearthsong.

Hooded Towels:  Toddlers are at a weird size where baby towels are too small and adult towels are still too big.  The Nugget has the Camp Critter Towel from LLBean, and while normally I would be embarrassed to admit dropping such a seemingly absurd amount of cash on a towel, I can honestly say it was so worth it.  The towel covers him head to toe, is warm, cute, makes him smile, and stays soft through washing.  It would make a fantastic gift for a favorite niece, nephew, or godchild.

Videos:  If you know the parents let their children watch tv, I recommend Signing Time, Sesame Street Old School, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood (inexplicably off the air at PBS, a true travesty), and Reading Rainbow.  Not only are all of these educational, the latter three are just so sweet and nostalgic...who doesn't love the Ladybug Picnic song or the chime of Mr. Rogers' trolley?  The other advantage of dvds is that nothing comes on "next" like live TV, so when it's over, IT'S OVER, making couch potato time non-negotiable. 

Clothes:  Are pretty tough to buy for any toddler other than your own.  Brand sizes vary, and no two kids are shaped the same (says the Mommy of a long-torso-ed, short-legged Nugget).   Sneak a peek at tags or logos to find out the parents' preferred brands (Jumping Beans = Kohls, Just One Year or Cherokee = Target, Child of Mine = Walmart, ON logo = Old Navy, teddy bear = BabyGap, lowercase g = Gymboree) and buy a gift card.  If you see something that is too cute and you have to try it, remember to get a gift receipt and when in doubt, buy a size up.

Shoes:  Good ones for growing feet are super expensive, and active toddlers wear them out and grow out of them like you wouldn't believe.  That makes them the perfect gift, as long as you don't mind ruining the surprise.  I love buying shoes for toddlers, but I ask the mom/dad ahead of time what size and type/brand of shoe they need.  Then, I watch Shoebuy or Piperlime for sales, and nab them with a discount.  Free shipping both ways ensures that if they don't fit just right, the recipient can exchange them without hassles.

On a tight budget?  Here are some inexpensive toddler gift solutions:  
1.  Jumbo crayons (the jumbo is key) and a coloring book from the dollar store.  You can even make your own rainbow jumbo crayons by baking crayon stumps in a muffin pan.  I am saving the free crayons we get with the kids menu for this purpose.  
2.  A bottle of bubble bath - I like Method (good ingredients and inexpensive), available at Target.
3.  A giant playground ball - get it at any of your big box stores for $2-3.

Happy Shopping!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ain't easy bein' a toddler

Hey ya'll.  This is a special guest post by the Nugget.  I gotta tell you, my life is HARD.  Here's a summary of my morning.

8 am:  I wake up.  Have to holler for Mommy, then wait while she does something inane, like put in her contacts, whatever that means.  She appears without a beverage service, a new bad habit of hers that I am trying to break.  I scream mightily and slam my head on crib.  It might hurt, but I think it drives the point home.  Still no beverage produced.  Grrr.  How is a Nugget supposed to start his day without a cold crib-side beverage?  

830 am:  I am seated in my chair, eating yogurt with a spoon all by myself, and I am feeling quite pleased with myself.  Mommy is done with her breakfast, so I very politely ask her to read me my favorite book by signing, "book please".  She smiles and grabs the WRONG one from the shelf.  I frown.  She grabs two more, both WRONG and asks which one I want.  I answer very clearly, "Blllllzzzz-arrrrgggg-eeeee".  The book is RIGHT THERE!  Why doesn't she see it?  Why doesn't she understand me?  I feel another tantrum coming on...

930 am:  My cd has stopped, and so I very helpfully jimmy past the child-lock and press some buttons to restart it so Mommy doesn't have to.  Mommy is very upset - I tell you, she is a control freak about electronics.  I just love unplugging the computer, unscrewing lightbulbs, renaming computer files /~///, but she doesn't appreciate my genius.

10 am:  We are finally outside, walking to a friend's house for a playdate.  I see a squirrel.  It is fat.  It is furry.  It runs.  I LOVE IT!  I MUST HAVE THE SQUIRREL!  I MUST GIVE IT KISSES!  I chase it into a neighbor's yard and up a tree.  Mommy, please pick me up higher so I can reach the squirrel.  What do you mean that's as high as you go?  I MUST HAVE THE SQUIRREL...now she is carrying me away from the squirrel, but I WANT SQUIRREL, I NEED SQUIRREL, I CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT SQUIRREL...

1045 am:  I am having fun at the playdate.  Lots of new cool toys!  Yummy snacks!  Friends to play with.  And a most glorious chandelier.  Please Mommy, can I turn it on?  No?  Can I turn on the electric mixer in the kitchen?  No?  How about the lamp in the corner?  No?  Why won't you let me do anything?  You are sooooo MEEEEAAANNNN!

As you can see, I am having communication problems with my dear Mommy.  Hmmm, what tricks should I use to train her to conform to my will?  There's the banshee shriek, the red-faced tantrum, the limp noodle back arch, the river of tears, and the Bambi-eyes with pouty lip.  They say all Mommies are different, so you never know what's going to most effectively push their buttons.  Just to be on the safe side, I think I shall use them all.  Bwahahahaha!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Counting our blessings

I read an article, can't remember where, about happiness.  About why some people are optimists and other pessimists, about how we set our own bars for what makes us happy.  That our "bar setting" is partially genetic but in no means written in stone.  That the truly happy people don't necessarily have these incredible lives but find fulfillment and peace in the mundane.  And I realized that although I'd like to be an optimist and I am for other people's lives, I am a pessimist about my own life.  It's just that my bar is set too high.  I could blame Disney movies, but really the only one that deserves blame is myself.  I am my own worst enemy, the murderer of my own happiness.

So, today I am going to take a baby step towards lowering my bar by writing down the many blessings I and my family have to be thankful for, in no specific order:

Friends both near and far
Free college tuition for Nugget and Lil Sib
The opportunity and choice to be a SAHM and a husband who supports whatever choice I make
A husband who is the most involved caring Daddy I could ever hope for
Books and blogs that inspire me
Safe Neighborhood
Electricity and heat
Internet access and a phone to connect us to the world
2 working cars
Enough money
Chubby animals without necks
That we were chosen to be the Nugget's parents
That we have the opportunity to be chosen again
An adoption agency whose philosophy fits our own
That I have patience, resources, and support to be a good parent
That we are open to learning from our experiences
That we have a chance to take care of our environment every day
A strong marriage and a weekly date night
That our country is under new leadership and has a chance to start fresh in many arenas
Glass jars and pretty boxes
A freshly de-cluttered desk
Spring sunshine
A park, zoo, and farmers' market within walking distance
A little garden patch in our backyard with unlimited potential

Wow, that's a lot off the top of my head.  I feel happier already.  Having a bad day?  I challenge you to write your blessings down today too.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Baby Nugget...Toddler Nugget

Baby Nugget always wanted to cuddle..Toddler Nugget runs laughing away from hugs.
Baby Nugget and I had an understanding...Toddler Nugget reinvents himself each day.
Baby Nugget was helpless...Toddler Nugget is capable.
Baby Nugget was easygoing and flexible...Toddler Nugget craves control and predictability.
Baby Nugget loved meeting new people...Toddler Nugget is wary, then warms up.
Baby Nugget watched and absorbed...Toddler Nugget is eager to try and do.
Baby Nugget had a sweet smile...Toddler Nugget's laugh can melt the coldest of hearts.
Baby Nugget relied on me...Toddler Nugget loves me as fiercely as I love him.  
Baby Nugget needed me to always say yes...Toddler Nugget needs me to set limits.
When Toddler Nugget first appeared, I wished I could wind back the clock and make him Baby Nugget again.  But as we grow and learn together, he is teaching me how to be a better Mommy, a better person, and although I will always love the baby he was, I think I love him even more each day.  I know just when I get used to Toddler Nugget, he will turn into something else entirely, each stage with its own challenges and joys.

Friday, March 20, 2009

We're Expecting

We are officially expecting!  We were placed in the waiting pool this evening, and the "real wait" begins.  If you actually know me, I can email you the link so you can see our photo and intro letter.

Tonight, we'll start lighting a candle for baby each night and will take turns carrying a token that says, "Just believe".  We'll pass it on to Lil Sib's birthmom when we meet her, just like we passed the "Faith" token to the Nugget's Tummy Mummy.  They might be silly-sounding rituals, but they really helped us prepare emotionally throughout the Nugget's adoption process.  My belly won't grow (well, it might but I won't have a baby to blame for that), but our hearts will.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Here comes Peter Cottontail....

As a gift basket designer, there is no piece of merchandising that makes me shudder quite as much as the shrink-wrapped atrocities, so-called Easter baskets, at the grocery and drug stores this time of year.  Every time I see a sweet grandma or a harried father pluck one from the shelves, I am seized with a violent urge to shake them and yell, "Don't spend $25 on that piece of trash!"  Anyone can design a special Easter basket with a child's favorite candies and toys that won't break when you unwrap them.   You can spend that $25 and make a really spectacular treat or spend half as much on a modest basket that is still WAY better than the pre-made baskets with the defective parachuting men and the nasty off-brand "chocolate-food" that may be 50% lard, 50% HFCS.  

Growing up, our Easter Bunny always gifted us with beautifully, specially chosen treats and little gifts in our baskets.  Even when money and time were tight for the Bunny, she always went to lengths to choose gifts and candy for my siblings and me, and we set out our color-coded plastic buckets each year knowing that there would be something special for us the next morning.  All you Bunnies can do it too.  Here's a little guide to help.

1.  Invest in nice baskets.  If you have more than one kiddo, different colors are fine, but try to get similar sizes to prevent basket envy.  I bought tin buckets from Hallmark (post-Easter sale) for Hubby, the Nugget, and Lil Sib.  I still put out my pink plastic bucket from my parents.  If you buy nice buckets, you don't need to replace them each year and you will end up saving money in the long run.  If money were really no object, I'd buy the gorgeous Sabrina baskets with personalized fabric liners from Pottery Barn Kids.

2.  Paper grass is nicer looking, and recyclable too!  Either way, try to bag up your grass and reuse it for next year, or if you lack the storage space, it makes great filler for care packages.  

3.  Go easy on the candy.  Pick out about 3-5 of your child's favorites.  If you have a lot of kids and need to save moola, buy big bags of jellybeans, m&m's, Reeses' pieces, etc and stuff them inside plastic eggs.  Remember to wash the eggs before putting unwrapped candies inside.

4.  Hit the Dollar Tree or Target for the rest.  I have been to many, many dollar stores, and the Dollar Tree is far superior to all others.  They carry actual overstock from stores, and much of their stock is a name brand or at least name brand quality.  Target, Michael's, and JoAnn also have nice dollar bins.

Here are some themes for Easter baskets (all are unisex):
a.  Old Fashioned Fun:  marbles, jacks, hi-bouncer ball, paddleball, punching balloon, wind-up toy
b.  Go Outside and Play:  sidewalk chalk, bubbles, butterfly net, bug house, magnifying glass, jumprope, water bombs (foam balls you soak in water and act as reusable water balloons)
c.  Craft Kit:  pipe cleaners, feathers, glitter glue, double stick tape, colored popsicle sticks, felt, safety scissors
d.  Mailbox:  stationery, pencils, pens, postage stamps, postcards, return address labels, decorative rubber stamp and stamp pad, stickers
e.  For Baby:  Easter or spring themed board book, Baby Mum-Mums, cute socks

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

20 months

There's something about 20 months that just sounds WAY older than 19 months.  For some reason, when I hear 19 months, that's barely 1 and a half years old.  But 20 months...you can round that right up to 2 years old, or I could just say, "The Nugget will be 2 in July."

I feel like we're already in the "Terrible Twos" unless the Nugget has some other tricks up his sleeve.  He has been throwing tantrums like a pro for nearly a year.  He's shown us his fantastic pitching arm, hits decibels that surely make dolphins in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans cringe (we are landlocked in the Midwest), and has proven that my sweet baby can hit, push, and grab like a Looney Tunes character.  In fact, every day, I feel a little like Wile E. Coyote and the Nugget is my Roadrunner, playfully yelling, "Beep-beep" as he tears through life while I struggle to outrun and outwit him at each turn.  

When I make his behavior about me, I feel like a terrible mother.  I am impatient, confounded, upset that I can't make him sit down for more than 3.2 seconds, eat his greens, or share his toys.  

When I have the good sense to take a deep breath, I remember that the world must be overwhelming to a toddler.  That he is learning enormous concepts like cause and effect, gravity, language, and social graces.  That none of those skills are going to come to him in a single afternoon.  That like an outsider, I am guilty of subconsciously comparing his behavior to other children his size instead of his age.  That I have the power to be patient, calm, and consistent.  That I can ignore disapproving glances from strangers, knowing that although I might not always know what I'm doing as a mommy, I understand my son's needs more than any sneering passerby does.  (And I can do my best to remember that before I roll my eyes at another mommy for the parenting choices she is making to get through the day.)  That even though the Nugget is "almost 2", he still has one foot planted firmly in his babyhood.  That between the tantrums and the aggravation, he is a gentle, loving, playful, bubbly, smart, funny boy who deserves nothing less than infinite patience, understanding, and unconditional love.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Walking on sunshine

I just got off the phone with our counselor, and we are officially approved for adoption!  I feel like an enormous load has been lifted off my shoulders.  The sun is shining, the Nugget is napping, and all is right with the world.

We are not in the pool yet - steps keep getting added to our path:
1.  Local counselor waits for notarized copy of homestudy report (should take less than a week)
2.  Local counselor mails the notarized copy to primary agency (maybe 3 days?)
3.  Primary agency looks through report, adds it to their file, and puts us in the waiting pool (about a week)

For those not familiar with our agency's waiting process:
1.  We wait until an expecting woman/couple chooses us.  This could happen the same day we enter the pool, or it could take years.  Likely, it will be somewhere in between.  We won't really have any news (lots of friends and family ask monthly, which is nice, but unnecessary) until we are chosen.  We have set certain parameters that keep expecting families who are not a good fit for us from viewing our profile; I won't be sharing those specifics on the blog since they are intensely personal.  Expecting families also get to choose their own parameters that screen out waiting families who aren't a good fit for THEM, so not every family approaching the agency will see our profile.  
2.  We could be chosen after the baby is born and need to leave within hours OR we could be chosen with up to time left to go in the pregnancy (3 months max).
3.  Either way, there are 2 adoption planning sessions with the expecting family and ourselves.  The sessions allow us to get to know each other, ask questions, voice concerns and opinions, and decide on the type and amount of contact we want.  Both parties have the option to back out or move forward after each session.  The sessions will be combined into one monster session if the baby has already been born.
4.  The laws about the final adoption decision depend on whether the baby is born in WA or OR, but the birthfamily has a certain amount of time after the baby is born/after they sign adoption consents to decide to parent.  This happened to us once while waiting for the Nugget.  While I wouldn't choose to have that painful experience again if I could help it, we do fully support the birthfamily's right to change their minds, as placing a child is a HUGE life-altering decision.  I can honestly say now that I'm glad we had the disruption, because the Nugget was so meant to be our son. 

So here's my adoption "deep thought" for the day.  I'd like to share some current adoption language.  I believe strongly in trying to use the current language, because some of the old language carries negative connotations for the adoptee, the birthfamily, and the adoptive family and the tiniest change in language can show respect instead of shame.  I don't mean to make anyone feel bad for using the old language, just providing resources for what to say if you know someone adopting or making an adoption plan.  Language is always changing, but here are the terms du jour:

1.  Birthparent, birthmom, birthdad, birthfamily, birthsibling; some prefer lifegivers or first family...if you have friends who are adopting and don't know what term they like, just ask them!
2.  Made an adoption plan:  indicates that the birthfamily cared about and provided for the child through adoption
3.  Was placed, was adopted: defines the adoption as a life event, not the sum of the person  
4.  Decided to parent:  an adult decides his/her role in the child's life, the child is not property

1.  Real parent, real family, real sibling:  nothing hurts an adoptive family more than assumptions that their love is not "real" 
2.  Was put up for adoption:  According to adoption professionals, this term harkens back to the Great Depression, when children were actually "put up" on train platforms because their families couldn't feed them.  Families seeking to adopt would pick a child off the platform
3.  Is adopted:  defines the person 
4.  Gave the child up for adoption/decided to keep the child:  conveys the old attitude that children are property

Some of the language has changed even since the Nugget's adoption 2 years ago.  We are saying "expecting families" until the baby has been born, because during adoption planning, the woman/couple has not made their final adoption decision yet.  This change is still a little awkward for me but I'm doing my best!  Adoption planning used to be called "mediation" but it sounded like the parties were at odds with each other when really they are working together for the sake of the child.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Playground antics

The sun appeared and spring was here for a few days!  The Nugget and I love being outside around other people, so when the weather turns nice, we head directly for our neighborhood park.  Here's a few of his experiences:

-Went up to several preschool age children (he looks for kids his own size to play with but they are usually 3 or 4) and petted their hair gently with one finger.  Got a lot of odd looks!  I'm glad he's being gentle - next we'll work on asking permission before invading personal space.

-Was obsessed with the merry-go-round, which doesn't surprise me.  It's like a giant ceiling fan that you can RIDE!  Took a couple tumbles when he tried to dismount while it was still in motion, but by the end of the second day was learning to sit still and hold on tight.  

-Is going down big boy slides with no help from me.  Some of these slides are TALL!  Heart attack city for Mommy.  But I'm so proud of him and want to encourage his physical skills so I try to just stay near and spot.  Luckily, the park has squishy rubberized ground instead of concrete.

-Walked up to a nice older gentleman (maybe reminded him of Grandpa or Papa?) and shook his hand firmly with a big smile.  As in, "Nice to meet you, sir."  The man was tickled to death, and I couldn't believe the Nugget knows how to shake hands!

-Tried desperately to get the attention of an oblivious teenage girl by laughing, coughing, jumping, smiling, and playing peekaboo - alas all in vain.

-Is Velcro boy no longer!  In the fall when we went to the same park, he would not leave my side and I had to cajole him to try any of the equipment.  Now he spots the park and takes off like a rocket.  I am way impressed at my fellow mamas with multiple children.  I can imagine the park is going to be a huge challenge once Lil Sib is here and gains mobility.  Perhaps by then, the Nugget will be old enough to shout, "Are you watching me?" loudly and constantly enough that I'll be able to gauge his position from across the park while spotting Lil Sib.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Little Pitchers

While working for the zoo, my biggest pet peeve (and working at a zoo, believe me, you start a laundry list of pet peeves!) was when parents would purposefully pass on their fears and ignorance about animals to their children.  I don't mean when parents would share their own opinion of an animal (although that can do enough damage), but when they would purposefully step in the way of a child's burgeoning curiosity and love of an animal and try to squelch it.  

"Eww, sweetheart - step back from the snake exhibit - snakes are so scary!"  "Are you SURE you want to get a yucky spider painted on your face?  Wouldn't you rather have a pretty butterfly?"    

I never understood it.  Having phobias - ok.  Trying to make your child have the same phobias - not ok.

And then, this week, I caught myself doing the same thing.  While reading, "The Foot Book", I involuntarily said, "Clowns are scary," when we came to "...here come clown feet."  Hubby kindly pointed out that maybe I didn't want to pass my fear of clowns onto the Nugget, but I brushed him off with the justification that every child should have a healthy fear of ledges and clowns.  Not so much a phobia as a life skill, I think.  

And if that weren't bad enough, we went to Old Navy (I had the combination coupon and gift card that really makes my tightwad heart swoon) and upon seeing the (FREAKY, VERY FREAKY) life-size, cartoonish, wide-eyed staring "supermodel-quins" that greeted us at the door, I recoiled in horror.  I reacted without thinking, and some word vomit came up, "Ohmigosh, those are really creepy!"  I glanced down to see the Nugget's eyes fill with terror, as he yanked vigorously on my hand, trying to pull us back out the door to the safety of our car.  Oh, the guilt!  The shame!  I immediately picked him up and comforted him, walking up close to the (CREEPY, OH SO CREEPY) mannequins and showing him that they weren't real and apologized to both him and the mannequins for being scared.  He gave the little girl mannequin a big kiss before we went hunting for socks.

The thing about becoming Mommy is that it is really forcing me to look at my own flaws, accept what I can't change, and do my best to improve what I can.  I know I'll never be truly, naturally mellow like Hubby who can focus on the beauty of a sunset.  I can admire a sunset, but while I'm looking at it, I'll also be thinking about getting back in the house to wash dishes, the color of the sunset reminds me of the yarn that's been sitting on my knitting needles for a month and needs to be finished, I need to pick up that dog poop in the yard, and boy wouldn't it be nice if I made some lemonade so we could sit here and sip it while watching the sunset?  I can't turn off those thoughts but I can choose not to act on every impulse.  Because when I do rush around like a caffeinated squirrel (or flee from inanimate plastic humanoids), I see the Nugget's shoulders hunch up and our collective anxiety level goes up a few notches.  I can yammer all I want to him about taking time to live in the moment/eating healthy foods/getting exercise/trying new things/not taking his frustrations out on Doggie, but he won't ever learn how to do it UNLESS I SHOW HIM.  Having a kid is bigger motivation for self-improvement than watching Oprah or reading a pile of self-help books.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Home Ec

Lately I've been pondering how my education has prepared me for adult life.  Although I'm not currently using my bachelor's degree in the professional sense, I am thankful each day for my college experience - it helped me learn to break down a problem, research and test possible solutions, cooperate with others, and the importance of community.  Those are lessons I lean on each day.  What my education DID NOT prepare me for is the housework, oh the NEVER-ENDING housework!  To clarify, my parents did teach me the basics and I felt confident to handle each individual task, but put them all together, add a tornado-like toddler, and my execution is pretty darn sloppy.

To be honest, I think a lot of women my age (myself DEFINITELY included) come out of college feeling entitled to NOT DO HOUSEWORK or very insistent that their significant others should split the housework with them right down the middle.  So you have some women (myself included) who come out of their college experience ready to change the world and work hard at their careers and who also want kids down the line.  Single life - the housework is cake - you clean your own mess.  Having a spouse changes things, but you can still split it down the middle.  Now here's the thing - having kids changes the entire dynamic of housework.  Suddenly, there's just no possible way to split all the housework down the middle anymore, and the primary caregiver is going to end up with double the housework.  That could definitely be the man, but let's be honest - there's a heckuva lot more SAHMs than SAHDs.  I hope that can change some day, but for now it is what it is.

Now it would be super nice if we could order healthy takeout and hire a housecleaning service every day, but that's not practical nor affordable.  So I am learning to suck it up and get'er done.  I feel like a total rookie at it, and the evidence is all over the house.  I start one job and get distracted by something else that needs to be done.  I have a feeling that several generations ago, women were trained for this sort of thing from a young age, so by the time they had children, they knew exactly how to do laundry, dishes, cooking, and cleaning without filling the kitchen with smoke or letting wet laundry sit mildewy all night in the washer.  Now I don't think it's fair to assume that all girls are going to have kids and care for the house, but it's also not fair to tell kids not to worry about doing housework either, because no matter their adult plans or living situation, they will have to do housework at some point.  I think all students, boys and girls, could benefit from required home ec classes.

Since I don't know if that's going to exist when the Nugget gets to school, I hope to teach him how to do housework at home, and to appreciate a job well done.  For now, that means I have to grit my teeth, smile, and encourage him when he's slopping water all over his highchair and lap while he happily "cleans" his tray, and thank him for dumping the laundry basket on the floor and "folding" the clothes.  And also that I need to adjust my own attitude about housework being a contribution to our family instead of a hated inconvenience.