Baby diaper butt crack > baby mega snot bubble, right?
But I decided to opt for an actual family update instead. It has been almost a year since my last post, after all, so I guess I can make this an annual thing.
We'll start with this guy:
Forrest turned a whopping 2 years old in August, and certainly acts like it. He is either completely 100% adorable or completely 100% demonic at any given time, and there is very little activity in the middle of the spectrum. He loves to give hugs and kisses (only lip-to-lip kisses, much to the delight/dismay of various extended family members who either love/hate lip kisses from sloppy toddlers who could stand to work on their technique), is still obsessed with cars (although he's added airplanes ['air-taaaay!'] and motorcycles ['dadachoo!' . . . sorry, I can't explain that pronunciation] and trains ['choo-choo!'] to the obsession list for variety), loves any sort of gadget/technology (he is a pro at touch-screen phones and iPads), enjoys books (although he is more of a speed-flipper than an actual reader), and loves riding his tricycle outside, going to the park, singing/dancing, and playing with animals. He also is very interested in helping lately, which is kind of a shame. Cute, but not conducive to getting things done in a timely fashion. New adorable tricks include kissing the top of my hand when I hold it out and say, "Good day to you, sir," (I'm really focusing on teaching him life's greatest priorities first--he can't speak English but at least he can treat a lady with respect!), and shouting "Oh noooooo!" with his hands over his mouth when something scary/bad happens in a movie, or if he knocks down toys or destroys something (I'm starting to think he destroys things on purpose so he can have a reason to say "oh nooooo!"). He has a hilarious little personality and loves to show off and make people laugh. He's super snuggly lately and his absolute favorite thing to do is cuddle on the couch with me and Jeff and watch a movie.
As adorable as all those things are, he is, unfortunately, also part hellion. Trips out in public are always disastrous, and he can throw one hell of a tantrum (how many times can I fit the word 'hell' into this paragraph?) both in public and at home. It's a little depressing to always be the 'bad mom' with the 'bad kid' in public, but I'm hoping it's just a stage he's passing through and it will get better with time. I signed him up for daycare two mornings a week so I can have a chance to run errands, grocery shop, clean, etc. without dragging around a screaming 2-year old, and I think it's the best parenting decision I've made so far. He loves to go to daycare, and for the first few weeks, would always cry and cling to the teacher's legs when I showed up to bring him home. I was worried that he wouldn't have fun, since it took a good 6 months or so of nursery at church before we could leave him there without him throwing a fit, but he took to daycare right away and has a blast. When I tell him it's time to head to Miss Jen's house, he races around in a frenzy to find his shoes and get in the car. And when I drop him off, he races in, hugs his little girl friend who is always waiting by the door for him to arrive, waves bye, and slams the door in my face. Plus, I get 6 hours of child-free sanity each week which has been amazing for me, mentally and emotionally. I actually look forward to picking him up from daycare (which we have renamed YAYcare) and seeing him again, rather than cringing when I hear him shouting for me or waking up from a nap. And I think it's been very good for him, too--not only does he just have a good time there, but he seems to be learning to talk more quickly than before, and socializing better, too.
He's been receiving Early Intervention care for like 8 months or so to help with some speech delays. I was skeptical at first about how much it would help (to the untrained eye, it sure looks like they're just playing with him for an hour), but I do think it's helping. I just received a write-up of his development based on some testing/assessments they did last month, and was really happy to see that he is not actually very far behind the average stats for his age group. He is right on track with cognitive development, slightly behind (2-3 months') in receptive and expressive communication and fine motor skills, and is actually ahead of the game in gross motor skills, 'self-help' (meaning his independence, ability to do things alone, help get dressed, follow instructions, etc.) and social-emotional development. It's exciting to watch him learn and grow, and encouraging to see that he's not actually very far behind in his speech, and makes up for it by being a bit advanced in a few areas. It's tough to see other kids his age seeming so far ahead of him (and of course, I always interpret it as me failing him in some way), so I was really encouraged by his test results.
On to the bigger man of the house:
He continues to be out of his mind in terms of fitness and is running a half marathon next weekend, despite counseling every patient in his care who mentions a love of running against doing exactly that. He has the goal of doing an Iron Man triathlon before he is 30, and I have the goal of seeking mental help for him long before that time comes. (But all kidding aside, he is a great athlete and very passionate about fitness, and has even lost 40ish pounds over the past year as a result of all this, so more power to him. I find it hard to talk myself into a 20-minute workout a few times a week, so I'm always impressed with his commitment to exercise.)
He's also been working hard on our new house that we bought in June and moved into in July. It was a short sale, which meant we got a great house for a great price in a great neighborhood, but also meant that the great price was due to serious neglect and abuse by its prior owners. It had great bones and we loved the layout, but it's been a lot of work for both of us (but mostly Jeff). He put in new wood flooring throughout most of the house, helped me paint everything, installed a new sink and countertops in the kitchen, changed light fixtures, tamed the jungle of a yard, etc. He's done a wonderful job and our house is really looking so much better.
That's all I can think of for him, so that just leaves yours truly:
I continue to keep busy with my etsy shop and other blog, and really enjoy crocheting and sewing still. I keep waiting to get burned out and never want to pick up a crochet hook again, but I'm still going strong.
One flaw I see in the blog/internet world is a lack of honesty. It's so easy/tempting to make things look picture-perfect and wonderful all the time (and I totally understand why--of course we all want to put our best foot forward and not dwell/harp on the difficult or negative parts of life), but I'm not sure that does anyone any good. Besides all the work it must require to keep up the rainbows and sunshine 'all is well in Zion' facade, it tends to alienate everyone else who feels they don't measure up to that supposedly perfect life and then feels like a failure because of it. So at the risk of sounding depressed or ungrateful or pessimistic (or whatever other reasons people use to not be more honest about their lives), I'll go ahead and just tell you God's honest truth: I've been struggling lately. Being a mother is very hard for me--it has been from day one and I'm starting to really doubt that it ever gets much easier--and I very easily get discouraged and depressed with myself as a mother and as a person, with Forrest for not being the constantly perfect angel I expected/hoped for, and with the drudgery and monotony of being a stay-at-home mom. I've just felt kind of incomplete and unfulfilled recently (and, if I'm really being honest, probably since before Forrest was even born). I have a huge amount of respect for stay-at-home mothers, especially the ones who manage to fill their time with constructive activities with their children, playtime, outings, learning, etc., and still run their household, but it's increasingly difficult for me to be at home most of the time and feel like I'm never accomplishing anything meaningful or doing anything that makes me feel talented/smart/important/useful. And I'm anticipating kindhearted comments to the tune of, "Of course you're talented/smart/important/useful, what more important/useful thing could you possibly be doing, you're raising a child!" And while I agree with that and I know it's eternally important to be raising Forrest, it is so exhausting and draining to spend all my time doing just that. There has to be something to keep me going, too. For a long time, my shop helped fill that role, but I've been feeling particularly empty lately and have tossed around quite a few ideas to fill that gap, none of which have really gone anywhere yet, so I guess I'm waiting now for some inspiration to strike or doors to open, and in the meantime, am just keeping busy with Forrest's needs, working on our house, and crocheting for my shop orders.
I hope that doesn't sound ridiculous or depressing or stupid or whatever, but I think it's kind of unfortunate that, as a whole, women/mothers don't seem to feel comfortable being honest with each other about their lives and emotions and goals and the reality of our daily lives, so I'm just tossing that out there. Maybe someone will relate.
So in conclusion, we are doing pretty well. Forrest is an awesome kid, Jeff is happy with work and learning quickly, and I'm enjoying my time with Forrest and our progress on our house, and am also kind of searching for something to help me feel more me again. I suppose I'll see you in a year for our annual blog update?