Truth: I dreaded potty training long before I even had kids. I am a total germaphobe, so the thought of taking my tiny child into a public restroom completely grossed me out.
Fast forward a few years to this week, where I found myself sitting Parker on a toilet in the women’s restroom at Busch Stadium. Was it gross? Yes. Did I cry a little inside when he insisted on flushing himself? Undoubtedly. But did I survive? Here I am writing this blog post.
The real truth is, potty training has been surprisingly easy. Parker was excited to wear his Olaf underwear, and pretty much understood the concept of staying dry and using the “potty train” (he is going through a total choo-choo phase right now, so his misunderstanding of the phrase has worked to our advantage) from day one.
We didn’t use any special method or books; what worked for Parker was spending a full 3 days at home with the potty in the living room as a constant reminder to use it.
There have been some accidents on occasion, but after a few weeks of training, I’m thrilled to say that I only have one child in diapers now. Funny, my spending at Target hasn’t decreased as significantly as I thought it would…
Having a potty-trained child is still a lot of work, between the nonstop reminders, incessant trips to the bathroom, and tush-wiping duty. And the thought of all the public restroom adventures in my future kind of makes my skin crawl, but I’ll get over it. Maybe.
Every week, I ask my podcast guests about their self-care practices. That is, what they do to nurture their spirits and recharge their batteries.
Some do yoga, others grow gardens…the list goes on. And then there are some who admit that this is an area where they fall short. I get it; I’m not good at self-care either.
All my current hobbies (songwriting, recording, website geekiness) are related to my work because I gave up the ones that weren’t (biking, working out regularly, scrapbooking) when I had kids and no time to pursue them.
So yesterday during our intern’s weekly supervision meeting, I felt a little like a hypocrite talking how important self-care is and assigning her to partake in self-care activities each week.
And then I woke up this morning and felt like a kid on Christmas when I remembered that I don’t work on Fridays anymore. Not that I don’t absolutely LOVE my work, but there is nothing better than ending the week with a day devoted to my babies — nowhere to go, nothing around which to plan our day, the whole weekend spread out in front of us. THIS is my self-care.
My first non-work Friday has been awesome. My friend Angie came over so that Parker and Janie could have a play date while we got to hang out with the baby girls.
And while Parker is napping, I’m typing this blog post with Mia asleep on my lap, not running around trying to accomplish a million things like I do on work days.
I may never work on Fridays again, and instead of feeling guilty about that, I’m just going to call it self-care.
You know that feeling you get when you look in your closet and are overwhelmed with so many choices that you just can’t make a decision, and end up in yoga pants and a t-shirt?
(I used to know this feeling, back when I wasn’t dealing with a postpartum body and the clothes in my closet actually fit. So now I’m wearing you pants and t-shirt for LACK of options.)
But back to the original scenario. That’s how I’ve felt about this blog lately — SO much has happened in the last month and I have SO many things to write about, I don’t know where to start…so I haven’t.
I mentioned over at Listen & Learn recently that this season of having young children really is the “longest shortest time” (shout-out to one of my favorite podcasts). The days go by so slowly and seem to be a million hours long, but when I look back at the past 3 months, they seem to have flown in the blink of an eye. Seriously, wasn’t Parker just an infant learning to roll over? Now he’s talking in complete sentences while my second baby (what?!) begins working on her rolling skills.
These long days/short weeks have been filled to the brim — with playdates, potty-training, swimming in Mimi’s pool, walks in the double stroller, and all the other things you do with a toddler and an infant. Someday, hopefully soon, I’ll write more about Parker’s interactions with his little friends, his favorite games to play in the pool, and all the times he’s fallen asleep on our walks while Mia stares at me wide-eyed the entire way. I want to remember all these things and read about them many short years from now.
But that day is not today, because right now the days are long and full in the best possible way.
This is the 3rd consecutive year I’ve celebrated World Breastfeeding Week by — wait for it — breastfeeding. We’ve attended the annual World Breastfeeding Week Zoo Walk, hosted by the West Central Illinois Breastfeeding Taskforce, each year since 2012, when I started providing musical entertainment during the event.
In 2013, I was just a couple months in to motherhood and still working to get the hang of nursing Parker. He was a huge supporter of breastfeeding from the start, as you can see ;)
In 2014, he was down to nursing just in the morning and at bedtime, but neither of us were quite ready to give it up altogether. (He self-weaned a little over a month later, literally on the day I found out I was pregnant.)
And this year, I’m right back at the beginning with Mia, who is just 10 weeks old. Nursing her has been so much easier than it was with Parker, which I attribute to knowing what I’m doing this time around and feeling much more confident.
We always have a great time getting together with friends I’ve met through the mom & baby group at St. John’s Hospital, and this year was especially fun now that Parker is old enough to really enjoy the zoo.
I’m hoping that I can celebrate this week next year by continuing to breastfeed at least until then, if not longer. As exhausting and consuming as it can be at times, there is nothing better than having this girl snuggled up to me.
The other day, I took Parker and Mia over to my friend Crystal’s house for a playdate. She has four kids ranging from under 1 to 10 years old, so I pretty much consider her a seasoned expert on parenting. We were talking about how the time goes by so quickly, and she said something that really stuck with me.
Even though you think these early months and years are the best stages, it just keeps getting better and more fun. Every stage is the best stage.
I’ve only been in this parenting game for two years now, but I can already tell she is right. Infancy and early toddlerhood is adorable and exciting and fun, but man is it hard. I know my perspective is a little skewed since I spent months 15-23 of Parker’s life pregnant, but I think any parent would agree.
When Parker turned 2, a whole new world opened up for us. His language has exploded in these last two months, so we are having full-blown conversations. He understands so much more, he has an amazing sense of humor, and he is becoming my little helper — it’s truly awesome.
On my first day home with two kids, I had no idea how I would make it to 6 pm, let alone through the end of the summer. But now I truly look forward to my days with both of them. They can still be difficult and overwhelming at times, but mostly they are just fun.
The very best thing about this stage is watching Parker develop into a loving big brother. He is over the moon for his baby sister, and is always genuinely concerned when she is crying or spits up. “I rock her,” he’ll say when she’s getting fussy in her bassinet or carseat. And he makes sure she is included in whatever we’re doing, whether it’s going for a walk in the stroller, playing in the backyard or running an errand.
I really do feel like I have the best of both worlds right now, with a two-month-old and two-year-old. I get to enjoy ALL the baby snuggles while looking forward to living this stage again in a couple years when Mia turns two. (However, I can’t handle the thought of Parker being four, so I just ignore it for the time being.)
Welcome! I’m Rachel Rambach, board-certified music therapist and creator of Listen & Learn Music — educational songs and musical materials for children. I love sharing my work with you, along with my behind-the-scenes creative process, adventures in business ownership, and life as a mom of two little ones.
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