Blazing through Navy life one duty station at a time.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

That wasn't so bad

Life with a toddler feels like a daily battle of wits.  It makes me think of the battle of wits in "The Princess Bride".  Mostly because every time he wins I feel like screaming "inconceivable"!

My mom once advised me to pick my battles.  She cautioned that if I stood my ground on every issue and never let him win it would be counterproductive.  Better to let him have a few smaller issues, thereby building his confidence (not like that's really an issue around here) and to keep him from fighting with me over everything.  Pretty sage advice, eh?  Easier said than done.

Yetserday we had a battle over taking shoes and socks off.  It was down to me and it was down to him.  He'll be 3 in December, and I figure it's past time for him to start learning how to take his shoes and socks off himself.  He was having none of it.  "No Momma you do it" was the common refrain during our exchange.  Finally, remembering my mom's advice, I decided to let him win and I took his socks and shoes off for him.  His response?  "That wasn't so bad Momma".  Out of the mouths of babes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year

I have a small confession to make...


When I was younger, I think I probably would have chosen movies over television.  But that was back when the pickins were slim and shows hadn't achieved the feats of storytelling and effects they have recently.  I did have a few shows I watched regularly, but they did not excite in me the passion and fervor today's television shows do.  (This is not an exaggeration.  I get really into my shows.)

On the whole, we don't watch a great deal of television in our house.  This is deliberate.  When the little dude was about 4 months old, I started to notice how captivated he was by the tv.  So my immediate reaction was to turn it off.  It wasn't until he was a year and a half that he really watched anything, and that was a movie on a 6 hour car drive home from California.  The car was new, and there was a convenient DVD player in it...

These days he enjoys a Disney movie now and then, or an episode of Sesame Street or Clifford I have stored on the DVR.  But for the most part, the tv is off during the day.  When he goes to bed however, it's a different story.  I think this falls under the category of do what I say, not what I do.

I'm a bit of a couch potato at night.  Sad, but true.  I love a good tv show, and there are so many to choose from.  The bar has really been raised in recent years, and I find that most of the shows I watch are better than most of the movies we rent (going to the theater these days is a non starter, due in no small part to a certain toddler).

So tonight when the little dude's asleep and the house is quiet, I'm going to treat myself to brand new episodes of my favorites.  And a few new ones too.  Well, technically they're old, since they're remakes.  Don't even get me started on the seemingly lack of original ideas in Hollywood.  Annoying as it is, it doesn't seem to stop me from tuning in.

The iconic theme song from Hawaii Five-O has been replying in my head for the last week.  Time to see if it lives up to the hype.  Fall tv season is, for me, the most wonderful time of the year.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

He never gives up

My child refuses to take no for an answer.  He's going to be a great lawyer.  Or car salesman.

As I'm sure must be the case with all little humans around his age (2 and 3/4 going on 15), he believes that he who asks the loudest and the most often gets what he wants.  Granted, this is mostly because it's often the case.  But we've decided to end the cycle and put our foot down (that's the royal foot.  My husband and I both have 2 perfectly fine feet of our own).  It's not going well.

Unfortunately, the dogged persistence not only applies to amassing the world's largest collection of cars.  It also applies to pretty much anything he thinks can be negotiated.  I'm telling you, future lawyer or car salesman in training over here.  A few weeks ago, he fairly successfully negotiated the number of times he could go down the slide before leaving the park.  Again, persistence pays.  He started at two.  I countered with one.  He held at two.  I held at one.  He increased to four.  After a time, we agreed to two.  The child doesn't even need law school (trust me - I did, and I still lost).  Unreal.

Tonight it was persistence of a different nature.  He was convinced he could fit more blocks ("suitcases") in the back of his Little People dump truck than could ever possibly fit.  I'm no genius with geometry, but it just wasn't happening.  After a lot of screaming and yelling and a few tears, he made an executive decision: "Daddy fix it when he gets home."  Of course.

I love my child.  But often times I worry that he has the worst of our annoying traits.  My husband's stubbornness and single mindedness.  My perfectionism and constant worrying.  But then I realize that refusing to take no for an answer may not be such a bad thing.  It drives me crazy, but it's a skill that will probably serve him well.  With the right help and guidance I'm hopeful he'll turn out to be a compilation of what's best of both of us.  As long as he doesn't get fed up and throw blocks at his boss's head.

In other news, I finally got my hands on some Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale.  I think I'm going to need it.

Little by little

The little dude and I were on our own for a few nights this week.  Normally his dad in charge of bedtime - they take care of the tooth brushing, bath and p.j.s, and I usually join them for a story and good night kisses.  This is my little reward at the end of the day - a little bit of time to myself.  Plus, it's great for them - father and son bonding time.  I know how lucky I am to have this, and especially lucky to have this right now, because in less than a year it will all change.

We're lucky that my husband (we'll call him Pilot Pete) is on shore duty and gets to come home for dinner pretty much every night.  Once he rejoins the fleet there will be late nights and long separations.  We have separations now, but a few days or even a few weeks is nothing compared to the 6-8 month deployments we'll soon face.  The little dude was 3 months old when we moved out here, and the first time Pilot Pete went away it was for two weeks.  I was terrified.  I couldn't imagine how I could get through that many days and nights with no back up.  And then a funny thing happened.  We survived.  Little by little, after every time Pilot Pete went away, I gained confidence.  I hope that by the time he rejoins the fleet I'll have enough of these little separations under my belt that a big one won't seem like such a big deal.

At this very moment there are thousands of military wives all over the world holding their families together while they wait for their husbands to return.  It never gets any easier, but you do get used to it.  I tip my hat to them, and say thanks for serving.  Our time is coming, and I think I'll be ready.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What I'm Reading

In a word: everything.  I love to read.  As a little girl I loved our trips to our local public library to pick out new books.   In elementary school I looked forward to the book fair.  On the weekends, I would spend my free time devouring whatever I could find.  My tastes have changed over the years, but my love for reading has never wavered.  Except maybe in high school, when we read a few things that really tested my love for books.  And certainly in law school, where I was so overwhelmed with class reading, that the thought of reading anything for pleasure made me want to scream.  But a year or so after graduating from the last school I ever intend to attend, I rekindled my love and began to read in earnest.

I received an ereader for Mother's Day and have been taking full advantage of it.  I know ereaders are a controversial lot - several people have chided me for contributing to the end of libraries.  I love a great library as much as the next bibliophile, but when you live in a small town where reading resources are limited, an ereader is a great solution to my problem of what to read next.  Unlimited access to hundreds of thousands of titles sure beats being disappointed when the book I want has been missing from the library for 5 years, and the Walmart will never carry it.  And considering the stack of books I was accumulating, an ereader seemed like a great space saver!

My favorite book so far this year is, without a doubt, The Passage, by Justin Cronin.  To call this novel a vampire book would be extremely unfair.  It has only very loose ties to the notion of vampires.  Instead it is a thriller, a mystery, a quest, a love story, and so much more.  It certainly is a brick of a book, but even though it's somewhere just north of 800 pages, I was never aware of the length.  This is the kind of book that makes me want to be a novelist, the kind of book that inspires.  The richness of the story and the depth of the characters is evident from the start, and never wavers.  Even if vampires are not your thing, give this book a chance - you will be surprised at how quickly is grabs hold of you and doesn't let go.  Even as I write this I am still thinking about the ending.  When you worry about the fates of fictional characters long after you've finished the book, I'd say it was a damn fine read.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The pursuit for perfection

I can't believe it's been 3 weeks since my last post.  Today, one of my favorite bloggers, The Pioneer Woman, wrote about ten important things she's learned about blogging, and #2 was "blog often".  Hmmm....ooops?

I am a perfectionist.  Plain and simple.  Period.  I hate to do anything that doesn't feel like it at least approaches, if not achieves, my ridiculous standards of perfection.  This is a life long affliction.  It's even a bit of a joke in my family.  As a small (read: 2 and a half year old) child, I wanted to take violin lessons.  Apparently I had seen Count von Count playing his violin on Sesame Street and decided I needed to play the violin too.  I imagine there was quite a bit of pestering involved on my part (sadly, a trait my own child has clearly inherited) and eventually, armed with a quarter sized violin, I started Suzuki lessons.  Several pint sized temper tantrums and breakdowns later, my parents decided it was in everyone's best interest if I stop with the lessons and try to be a normal kid.  Nice try, Mom and Dad, nice try.

Many years later and many attempts at perfection I am still pretty much the same Type A nut as always.  I do find that with age comes a bit of wisdom, and I'm not totally devastated when I can't live up to my expectations (which is pretty much never - just a fact of life I am learning).  I've learned to slow down and take my time, to enjoy the little things and to not worry if it's not exactly perfect.  Well....what I mean to say is that I don't worry as much if it's not exactly perfect.  This probably also has to do with being a parent.  After the third or fourth time you get spit up on you, it's pretty much all over.

One thing I find my perfectionism still inhibits is my ability to write.  One of the reasons it has taken me so long to start blogging is my fear of failure - failing to come up with something interesting to write, failing to be witty, failing to be any good at all.  For the last three weeks I have found myself blocked.  Lots of things have been going on in my life, but nothing that seemed to spark that need (or desire) to write.  But today The Pioneer Woman, in item #8, told me that if I have writer's block I should push through anyway.  So here I am, pushing through.

I'm going to resolve to write something every day, even if it's the worst thing I've ever written and it reads like utter nonsense.  I imagine it's like anything else - I just need to make time in my day until it becomes routine.  So here we go.  Thanks Pioneer Woman, for your inspiring words.  And thank you reader, for being you (see PW's list, item #10).