EVPHO

Executive Vice President, Home Operations

Take a Chill Pill Mommy

I might have issues with doing to much.  I am not content to sit still and do nothing.  I have an inner voice demanding I fill every moment with productivity.  I plan ahead, and borrow worry.  I say yes to things I know I don’t have time for just to prove I can do it all, but then I end up stressing over doing things perfectly, when they aren’t worth stressing over at all.  

Last night I found this email, a daily update from over a month ago, that I’d saved but never actually took the time to read.  I saved it, knowing just from the title I needed to, and should have read it. I finally got around to is last night when my stresses and to-do list annoyed not just me, but clearly annoyed my CEO… who, God bless him, told me “I work very hard so you don’t have to.  Why do you have to try and do it all?” 

My husband has given me the grace to be imperfect.  He’d rather have a happy momma and associates than have a clean house.  He’d rather have a lazy Saturday than worry about packing for a move that is a month away.  Why can’t I give myself the same grace to just relax and enjoy today.  

So here are the words of wisdom that calmed me down last night, and I will be memorizing and chanting whenever I feel my inner voice telling me to clean for 30 more minutes, answer all emails ASAP, do this and that, say yes to another time consuming commitment, etc etc.  

 

If you want to be a happy person, you need to relax in God’s grace every day.

 

Philippians 3:3 says, “We Christians glory in what Christ Jesus has done for us and realize that we are helpless to save ourselves” (LB).

One of the things that will rob you of your happiness is legalism. Legalism is the attitude that you have to prove your love to God. …

 

When you finally realize there’s nothing you can do to make God love you more, it is one of the most liberating feelings in the world. And, it is a key to happiness. Every day, remind yourself of the grace of God, and relax in it.

 

“I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith” (Philippians 3:9 NLT).

 

http://rickwarren.org/devotional/english/happy-people-relax-in-god-s-grace?roi=echo7-12519613667-36690751-a9d827cb061263274f815d31e0f8643c&#.U85tq41dVy8

 

I really do enjoying helping others and volunteering my time.  And I definitely would go nuts if I didn’t have some reasons to interact with other adults, but my prayer today and going forward is that I do a better job of relaxing in God’s grace.  Doing the best I can, and not holding myself to unrealistic standards of productivity.  

Mommy Version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The last time I left my Associates and went on a weekend management retreat with the CEO, one of them caught a stomach bug and my in-laws spent 4 days cleaning up after a barfy, poopie little kid.  If they weren’t already Angels on Earth for raising my husband, that most definitely earned them their wings in my book.

You would think an experience like that would be the last time someone offers to take your children.  But no. Grandparents are a glutton for pain and love our little ones so much they are willing to risk the occasional bodily fluid mishap.  They also love us enough to know WE needed the break from the wee-ones, and they want their grandchildren to grow up in a happy home where mommy and daddy are happy and no one is on the brink of nervous breakdown.

We did call in some backup and have a reliable friend and frequent babysitter come spend one night with the kids, so granny and granddad only had to really gamble on one night…  What I failed to really think through was that the one night was the Fourth of July.

Before kids, the Fourth of July is an amazing holiday where you enjoy family, friends, food and copious amounts of loud and often unsafe fireworks.  AFTER KIDS, you may get to enjoy family, friends and food but the extravaganza of explosives is no longer a source of joy for you.  You will spend the entire day trying to tucker your kids out so they can sleep through the insane amount of noise that your neighbors (still awesome and kidless) will explode all evening long.  You won’t really get to relax that evening, in a constant heightened state of awareness waiting for a child to wake scared out of their mind that suddenly the cozy world they know has been turned into a war zone.

I was so in need of a weekend getaway, and my planning focused on getting ready for the wedding the CEO was in, that the fact it was also The  Fourth of July escaped my mind almost entirely. ALMOST.  As in I realized this crucial detail a few days before and lost sleep for two nights debating if we should just take the kids with us rather than worry they will freak out and keep Granny up until wee hours of the morning, when all the teenagers next door to her finally run out of things to blow up.

I’m happy to report the Associates did great.  They went to bed fine at Granny’s house (a first!) and while maybe they slept a little restlessly, no one had PTSD from the barrage of explosions launched that evening.

Meanwhile, I was an hour and a half away on a crowded beach and enjoying the explosives in all their glory.  The CEO and I had a great day, enjoying spending time together .  We had lunch at a white table cloth place and didn’t rush.  We drove through the Daytona race traffic blaring “Happy”  and car dancing like the awkward non-race fans we are.  We chilled on the beach and had been drinking at a nice pace all afternoon.  The perfect evening with great friends, food and music almost had me convinced I was 24, awesome and kidless again.   In fact, we were laying on a blanket looking up at the explosive display and he had to convince me it would be incredibly ridiculous if we started making out like a pair of star-crossed teenagers. “We are in our thirties for pete’s sake!”  I don’t think he said ‘gross’, but as I type, that is what comes to mind.  No one wants to see that. Gross.

So we got up and joined the group again, filled our cups and then suddenly it happened.  I saw an exhausted little man stumbling about the beach, bouncing between family and friends looking for someone who would hold him and reassure him he was safe, sound and could pass out in peace.  And guess whose ovaries jolted her with 200kw of estrogen.  Guess whose guilty conscious said “Your mother in law is rocking your scared, exhausted boys right now, and you are here acting like the spoiled little Royals that annoying song brags about.  For shame!”  I was instantly compelled to pick him up and offer “I can hold you little buddy.  Go ahead and fall asleep on me.”

I handed my solo cup to the CEO, who is looking at me in shock at the Jekyll-Hyde transformation he just witnessed.  He walks away and leaves me there to breathe in the sweaty little man who passed completely out in my arms as I swayed back and forth kissing his little head.  For a few moments my ovaries and conscious were relieved.  This is what I am meant to do.  It is who I am.  I am a woman who craves little cuddles. And apparently if I do not have my own little around to cuddle, I will find someone else’s to.  I loved it. It felt so good to hold him and know I could support him so he could relax completely.

But after a few minutes… I don’t know how long because time was blurred due to the alcohol and the hormone surge… but he started to get really, really heavy.  This wasn’t a little 2 or 3 year old I’m used to dead-lifting.  This kid was 5 or 6 and BIG.  My mind races.  “Holy cow, he is heavy.  I think I’m sinking into the sand.  Oh God, I can’t hold him.  We are going to fall over.  I’m going to drop him.  Who are his parents again? Why have the conveniently disappeared as I stand here rocking their kid to sleep.  HELP!”

His father was close by and I think began to realize his child was no longer safe and was in real danger, so he scooped him up and carried him off to bed. Or a near by blanket on the beach.  Not sure.  Because as soon as that little man was out of my arms, Mr. Hyde was back.  The jolt was instant and I physically shook the creepy-over-attentive-mommy off and brushed her to the sand and stepped on her.

The rest of the night is, as they say, history.  I don’t want to brag, but we stayed up past 11pm.  The next morning we were legitimately hungover and slept in until 7:45am!!!  That hasn’t happened in a long, long while.

I hope that little man slept soundly too.  He sure was sweet.  And I hope I’m the only girl to ever love him and leave him like that. He deserves someone who will cuddle all night long ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Little Minion

This was one of those weeks where I really had to remind myself to unconditionally love the annoying little person who won’t give me a moments rest or do anything without being within eyesight of me (preferably arms reach, of course).  More and more I find myself losing my temper at Associate P, a three year old who is proving to be more needy, clingy and whiney than the 18month old Associate A.   I don’t know if it is because I now expect more of him –  I see other kids his age sufficiently coping with moments of separation from their mothers and even interacting with other children – or because I am just over his clingy MO.

I joked this week that he is abusing the word mommy to the point I am tuning him out.  For all I know the middle of his whiney rant is a groundbreaking theory of astrophysics, but I wouldn’t hear it because when he starts the sentence with half a dozen “Mommys” I stop listening.

So just when I thought I had enough this week, my sister very randomly texted me this picture.

Image

The picture had spoken to her because her kids are tweeny-age boys now and driving her crazy in ways I can’t yet imagine.  She is still sacrificing a great deal for them on a daily basis.  Putting her needs aside to cater to theirs.  Exhausting herself caring for them, only to have her guidance balked at and her emotional efforts shunned.  She was in a “Just leave me ALONE!” mood.  She saw this picture and thought longingly of me, lucky to be home with two sweet little toddlers who still adore me and think I’m the best person in the whole world.

It was a gut check for sure.

I was in a “Just leave me ALONE!” mood too, and had been all week.  In fact, I realized I had been down right mean to Associate P lately, shunning his affections in effort to reclaim moments to myself. …. to do what?  Clean? check emails?  Look at the child, sublimely happy to be in a special moment with his mommy.  That is all P wants.  And I’ve been too annoyed to give them to him.

After lunch I put Associate A down for a nap and Associate P and I get some 1:1 time before his quiet time.  All he wants to to is play Garbage Dump for the millionth time, and lately I just don’t want to.  I’ve tried diverting to puzzles or playing all those educational activities we just can’t do when the little one is up, but P is tired and not at all in the mood for thinking.  He wants to mindlessly make truck noises and dump and pick up little pieces of paper, over and over and over.  And he wants me to be the front loader moving it around the dump.  Exasperated by even the thought of this monotonous drill, I barked at him “Mommy has better things to do than play garbage dump.  You can do that by yourself.”   And moms everywhere know the response he gave me… “But Mommy I want to play with YOU.”   But in the mental state I was in, that response just annoyed me further.

My sister’s innocent text reminded me that I should be treasuring these precious 1:1 times with him, because they are fleeting.  Reminded me that it doesn’t matter what we do, as long as we are together it IS special to him.

Then yesterday I read this post “8 Awesome Things About Toddlers.”  As I read, I realized perhaps my growing annoyances were because Associate P is moving out of this sweet toddler stage.  He’s no longer napping, nor does he find joy in every little thing.  I can no longer plan a day that I think will be fun and count on him being excited about it too.  More and more he has his own opinions and ideas, and we end up butting heads when he refuses to go along with MY plans.  And while I appreciate where the writer is coming from on her first bullet, The Adorable Way They Butcher The English Language, his speech development is a constant stressor for me these days.  Sure, he talks all the time.  But most people still can’t make out what he is saying because he doesn’t yet articulate most consonant  sounds.  I’m trying everything from more reading and over pronounced speech to watching edu-movies about letter sounds.  … but I digress.

Perhaps most heartbreaking, was I realized he isn’t “Perfectly Cuddly” anymore.  He is so big when he sits in my lap to read, I often can’t see the book.  And if he squirms around on my lap when reading or putting shoes on, we can both get hurt if he throws his head back, straight into my face.

He is growing up.  My sweet little baby boy is growing up.  And I need to grow up too.  The game has changed and he is no longer My Little Minion, gleefully doing as I say.  Perhaps Associate is a more appropriate term now than it previously has been -

noun   -it/
  1. a partner or colleague in business or at work.

He is my Associate and our professional relationship can only succeed if I give him the respect I demand of him.  So as the need for discipline and instruction increases, so does the need for me to listen to him and respond to him.

I am already sad at the realization my little man is growing up.  It does happen way too fast.  But I know we have many more fun days together ahead of us, and hopefully I can be better about enjoying each and every stage as much as I loved the precious toddler days.  So I’ve spent the last three days listening for his “Mommy come play with me” requests and trying to be ready for the call, even if it is another round of Garbage Dump.

 

 

Honey, I’m Home… OMG!!!

Funny story today, worth sharing.

The CEO popped home to grab lunch, only to walk smack into a huge playdate in progress. You could see the sheer horror on his face as he lay witness to so many women and children destroying his house.  He was probably also extremely disappointed to be unable to identify his own children in the crowds of wet, sticky wee ones running around.

He came in, politely smiled and waved to the few ladies he maybe recognized despite our SAHM day attire (ie no makeup, baggy clothes and sweaty).  At least I hope he recognized them.  Some of these women are good friends that we usually only see on social occasions where we have all showered and clean clothes on.  I wouldn’t want their husbands to have seen me today, and as soon as I saw him, my first thought was to APOLOGIZE to my friends… “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know HE’D be here.  Its so awkward!!”   Like when a boss would pop into the after work happy hour… CEO encroachment was a total playdate buzz-kill.

Anyway, he came in and found me cutting cheese – literally – into little cubes for the kiddos.  I gave him the “WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!?!” look.  He responded with the “GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE!!!” look.

I felt like a teenager getting busted by her parents for having a party while they were out (not that I ever did that ;)  “Oh Hi Hun.  I thought I mentioned I had a few friends coming over today… um, you want some cubed cheese, watermelon or blueberries?”   I felt the need to apologize … making the mental note I’d really, REALLY have to clean up now.  He will be avoiding coming home all day thinking it will be a disaster zone.

His response was swift, “No I’ll go out and grab something.  See you later.”  Faster than you can say “Daddy’s Home” he was gone again.

I bet some of the women didn’t even notice him.  Most of the kids, including mine, were totally unaware a man briefly crashed the party.  They were too busy splashing in the baby pool, digging in the sandbox or finding every last toy in our house.

But after I scrambled to clean up during my Associates quiet time, it occurred to me that unlike the mad dash to clean after a high school party, I would not be getting in trouble this time.  My CEO would not be mad at me for throwing a party while he was out. In fact, I bet he is glad I did.  He knows I need to be social and see friends, and after seeing just how crazy a playdate can be, I am positive he would prefer I only do them when he is not home.  In fact, I bet he’ll never make the mistake of coming home at lunch again without checking in via text first!

 

 

 

 

 

Love Is An Open Door

I’ve been meaning to write about the highlight of our recent trip to Ohio.  We had a lot of fun – tractor rides, playing in dirt piles, a trip to one of the Top 5 Zoo’s in the country The Toledo Zoo, and spending lots of time with family.

But hands down, the highlight of the trip was seeing my boys and their cousins bond.  I love my nieces and nephews a little too much.  Its unhealthy.  I am probably the most proud aunt you will ever meet.  Because my siblings were close in age, wouldn’t you know it they all started having babies at the same time.  Between the 4 of them they had 9 kiddos born in about a 5 year span.  It was crazy.   And each baby that came was cuter than the last (sorry Drew ;)

I was living out of town for college and then grad school when they were all born and in these adorable toddler years.  I visited back home as often as I could to see them.  But it was heart breaking to have to be reintroduced to them every time.  Little ones just don’t have great memories, and when they only see you a couple time a year it takes a while to really earn the reputation as Super-Fun Aunt Katie.

For me, visits home for the last 15 years have been all about enjoying these kids as much as I can.  I wanted to know them and I wanted them to know me.  But when the CEO and I had kids, it all changed.  I had this crazy fear my kids would miss out on all the crazy cousin fun the others get to enjoy. I worried we wouldn’t be able to see them enough, or when we did there would be too much of an age gap for them to bond.

Thankfully, those fears and most certainly squashed.  Thanks to facetime, my kids see their cousins pretty often.  We also do a pretty good job of still getting together as a family, and my husband is cool with vacationing with my family.  Just last year we were all together for a week, then the boys and I flew to Ohio for another week to keep the party going.  It was great.

Playing Trains With Their Big Cousin and His Old Thomas Set.

Playing Trains With Their Big Cousin and His Old Thomas Set.

And even though we hadn’t physically been with any of my nieces or nephews since that vacation last July, both my boys instantly loved all their cousins like not a day had gone by.  They spent the whole trip playing with their cousins, and had a ball.  At one point, completely unprompted, Associate P declared  “I love Ohio because I get to play with my cousins here!”

I personally felt a little guilty last summer and this visit, because since having kids of my own, I’m no longer crazy fun Aunt Katie who comes to play with my nieces and nephews.  Now I’m a tired mom who sits back and enjoys the break as they play with my kids.  But it was very little guilt and the beers and laughs with my parents and siblings helped me get over it pretty quickly ;)

So when I think of the best moment of our trip to Ohio, it was definitely the beautiful sound of 2 preteens and 2 toddlers belting out “Love is an Open Door” as we enjoyed ice cream with the whole gang.  Yup. That was the best moment of the whole trip.

As I ponder the beauty of the moment and reflect on all the Frozen has taught me, I can say with confidence that family love is the most special force on earth.  We know each other from birth and there is the special something inside us that unites us, forever, no matter what.  No matter the distance and no matter the time.

 

**** I should mention, this post is a shout out to my oldest nephew who turns 15 today.  I can still remember the day you were born like it was yesterday, and everyday since has been a blessing because you are here!  Love you DJS4

 

 

Mile High Club

Don’t get to excited – this isn’t a sexy twenty-something stewardess’ blog. This is a mommy blog.  So when I say I am a proud member of the Mile High Club, yes I want to insinuate that I have done shocking things in an airplane bathroom and lived to tell about it.  However, what I am referring to revolves around a child pooping.

On our flight up to Ohio, the boys were perfect angels.  They snacked, read books, watched Frozen.  Associate A napped and Associate P made me very proud by going pee pee in the tiny airplane bathroom.  Since we were toward the back of the plane, we used the facility at the back. I left the door open and stood in the doorway holding associate A so I could help associate P and block the view of his cute little exposed butt.

As we exited the plane, people complimented my children’s behavior and I smiled, unsurprised.  “Thank you.  They are good boys,” wanting them to think they were like that all the time.

Mile High Club

Unfortunately, it would be an entirely different experience on our flight home. Not only was the plane larger, but it was nearly sold out.  There were bad thunderstorms and turbulence, forcing people to stay in their seats for most of the first hour of the flight.  We were of course seated toward the middle just a few rows from the middle bathrooms.

Associate A was already a hot mess because his lovie did not make it onto the flight with us.  When we removed him and lovie from the car and packed up the carseat to check it, lovie accidentally got placed in the carseat bag.  I of course didn’t realize this until we were nice and cozy in our seats, and there was absolutely nothing I could do to get it for him.  He must have screamed “LOOOOVVVIEEEEE” for 20 minutes straight, before moving on through the stages of grief over the remainder of the 2 1/2 hour flight.

Associate P then threw me for a loop, deciding that after about a month straight of being obsessed with Frozen and asking to watch it all the time, today was the day he’d had enough.  He didn’t want to watch the nice move that would occupy the vast majority of our flight, and keep both his and Associate A’s attention.  No, today he wanted to play games on the ipad.  If it were just he and I flying, fine.  Or if I’d had brought two ipad’s, fine, each kid could have their own.  But there is no way I could let him play, without Associate A wanting to try and play.  Which just results in Associate P pushing him away and screaming no, and associate A pushing back… and so on and so on.

So I try my sales pitch on Cars and the 3 other feature films I had loaded up ready to go. He wasn’t buying it.  We negotiated to Mighty Machines episodes, but I knew that the 20 minute episodes wouldn’t induce the long lasting zombie-like state I was hoping for.

After two episodes, eating every snack I’d brought and sucking down every last drop of water we had, I knew it would be time for a potty break.  I asked Associate P if he had to go potty, and he responded “Yes Mommy – I have to go poopies!”

Oh no.  Oh God.  No this can’t be happening.  My child is a poop-at-home kind of kid.  He has pooped out in public maybe 5 times SINCE HE WAS BORN.  Even as a baby, he’d hold it when out and about, saving the sweet release for the comfort of his own changing table.  To make matter worse, when he does poop it is kind of a production.  “Hold my hand mommy. Read me another book, Mommy.”  It is not uncommon for us to spend 10 minutes in the bathroom when his duty calls.

Complete panic set it….for Him.  Once I mentioned the option of potty, it became a RIGHT NOW urgency for his little body.  I had no time to panic or think, I simply unbuckled them both and stood up.  Associate A was overjoyed to be let free of the seat and squirmed and wiggled until I let him walk, not be carried, up the aisle.

The small size of the bathroom seemed shocking at first.  I wanted to ask a stewardess, “Are the regulation size facilities?” or inquire if there was a larger restroom in first class.  Alas, there was no time.  Associate P wiggles in and he gets to the business of pulling his pants down while I attempt to pick up Associate A and close the teeny tiny folding door.

Associate A is angry and doesn’t understand why I won’t let him stand on the sticky pee covered floor in the tiny bathroom.  Associate P struggles with his pants and I struggling with his increasingly violent brother to get a hand free to help pull the britches down and place my sweet child’s bum on the nasty airplane seat.   What if he  catches herpes??? At this point Associate A is crawling up my body and banging against the walls, door and mirror.

Associate P performs as expected.  Straining and pushing in dramatic form, letting farts rip and giggles follow.  Begging for a story.  I keep insisting there is no time for stories, he needs to do a quick poopie this time, other people need to use the bathroom.  “Oh Mommy, you are so silly.  This isn’t a quick Poopie.”

By now, Associate A discovered the sink and has put together that there should be water in it.  He screams for “WATER WATER WATER” and I cave, and let him start “washing his hands” …. i.e. soak us all with his excited splashes.  This has the unfortunately side affect of making me now have to go to the bathroom.  Great.

With one arm strapping Associate A to my hip, I wipe Associate P’s bottom and stand him up.  I pull my britches down and sit for my business placing Associate A on my lap and with my free hand helping P get his pants up.  In a moment of clarity I think about all the times at home I’ve had to pee with a baby on my lap as wonderful practice helping me survive this insane effort I find myself in now.

Associate P begins to wash his hands, which sets off Associate A to wiggle and scream for his turn at “WATER WATER WATER.”   With P at my feet I have to hoist Associate A up higher almost on my shoulder in order for me to stand up so he isn’t kicking his brother in the face.  Instead his legs are kicking the door and his hands grabbing at my hair and face.

Somehow, I mange to pull my britches up and put the seat cover down.  I place A on standing on the seat and then flush.  That was a mistake.  The loud noise and vibrations set him off into a full on panic cry.  I attempt to wash my hands while he tries to monkey crawl back onto my body.  I look in the mirror and vow to walk out of here with my dignity.  I am going to pretend like no one could hear our commotion.  I am going to calmly talk my boys back to our row and sit down like that was the easiest potty break ever done.

I open the door and smile calmly at the 3 people waiting in a line that has since formed, and then try to head up the aisle to our seats.  The one gentleman is holding back laughs, I can tell, and the others offer sympathetic smiles back.  I’m greeted by a Stewardess who nicely asks if everything is alright, and I tell her I would be so grateful for a few more of those delicious cinnamon cookies if she didn’t mind.

We slouch in our seat and the cries for Lovie begin again.  It feels like a lifetime before she returns with the cookies.  When she finally does, I sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet as my two little angels happily stuff their mouths.  I did it.

As I ponder the ridiculous situation I just survived, naturally I also ponder how impossible it would be to get two grown adults in there together, let alone how absolutely disgusting it would be to actually have sex in an airplane bathroom. I am convinced, more than ever, that the traditional Mile High Club is an impossible dream.   However, what I just lived through is reality for probably hundreds of mommies everyday, just trying to take a trip with their Associates.  We are the real Mile High Club members!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

helped a toddler take his sweet time with a poopie, while holding another younger toddler

 

what is joy if it is unrecorded. What is Love of it is not shared. – call the midwife

Feeling like a Supermom

It has been an exciting few weeks here at Rudloff Inc. and I really wanted to write a few posts and document all the fun we had before it leaves my mind.  For the most part, I am on mommy cloud nine with the success of two flights alone with my Associates, a great week in Ohio, a family trip to Walt Disney World and Associate P’s birthday.

The thing is, these amazing experiences don’t just happen.  As a mom, we spend the countless hours worrying about details, packing lists, and logistics for days if not weeks before.   There may be a mom out there who just wings it, but I haven’t met her yet.

Many late nights and early mornings may have me a little hysterical, but when I look back at all we did over the last few weeks, I can’t help but feel a great sense of accomplishment.  We did it.  I did it.  And we had fun doing it.

I don’t like to throw around the word “Supermom”, but let’s just say Associate P isn’t the only one pretending he has a cape on today.  I am going to embrace this feeling of invincibility while it lasts, because I know any moment now I’ll snap out of it and realize I have washed but not folded clothes for two weeks straight, and have Mt. Saint Underpants waiting for me to climb next.

And for those of you who are interested, in the coming days I will post a few of the highlights and even share the humor that was in the darker moments of our travel.

So for all you supermom’s who have felt the glorious glow of successful family trips and events – I salute you.  This was a busy and tiring month, stressful at times, but overall joyous.  And worth every sleeplessness night last month :)

 

 

Real Interviews For The World’s Toughest Job

This is a priceless experiment!!!   Goes to show you that when you spell out all that is required of moms it is more than just a job, it is the #worldstoughestjob.  (And double that for all those working mommas!)

 

 

I also love that they point out the respect people give job titles.  For whatever reason, Stay At Home Mom just isn’t a title that garners the same respect.   Director of Operations though – now that is something worth applying for!  That is why when I left my awesome career in politics, my farewell email to colleagues and friends stated not that I was leaving work, but assuming a new career and role as EVPHO of the Rudloff Family.  I didn’t see it as quitting work – it was a career change.

 

 

OMG They Are Just Like Us!

From the moment children are born, everyone loves to comment about what traits they get from which parent.  Associate A has a cleft chin like his daddy, and Associate P looked just like me when I was a newborn… but we could already tell he had his Daddy’s feet.  I joked that he was me from the belly button up, the CEO from the waist down ;)

Trying to identify all those cute little physical traits is magically mind-blowing because reality is kids are 50/50 of their parents, and even the most adorable mini-me parent look alike will have some undeniable similarities of the other parent.

The REAL fun begins as the Associates develop their personalities and it because obvious – sometimes awkwardly – that they are just like us.

  • Associate P has his daddy’s OCD tendencies already in full bloom.  Lord forbid I put two foods on the same plate or hand him a wet cup… “DRY IT mommy!”  And he already is very eager to wash hands if at all dirty.  Cute, if you like washing a million kiddy cups every day.  But, just like his daddy, this OCD tendency is just that.  Thankfully, neither are fully over the cliff with quirks, and both are completely oblivious to the tornado of mess they leave behind them.  As long as what is immediately in front of them makes orderly sense, they are happy campers.
  • Associate A does not like to be told “No.”  I have always struggled with this, and become more defensive than a Buckeye lineman facing off against the school up North if I hear the big N-word.  Associate A has also had a visceral, primal reaction to the word from just a few months old.  He throws a mini-terror for 30 seconds…. usually.  Sometimes longer.   Combine that with the way he is eating lately and maybe he will grow up to be a Buckeye lineman.
  • Associate A also loves to dance like his mommy.  Put on some music and that kiddo will bust a move.

Maybe we should look for more of the cute positive personality trait similarities, but usually they only jump out at me when they are the negative ones.

Just yesterday I really reached outside of my comfort level to suggest some painting with BOTH associates.  I am not naturally creative, nor is that where I would say I enjoy spending my time… but it is good for both kids imaginations and fine motor skills, so thus I am compelled to offer it.  Normally this is an activity I enjoy 1:1 with Associate P.  Associate is the wild card free spirit, which is even more reason I should be doing this with him.

Easel and big brown paper on the ground on back porch, check!  Washable paints, check! Clothes off the associates, check!  Towels, rags and wash bowl ready, check!   We were all set to have some amazing creative fun…. for exactly 6 minutes.  They had a great time. Associate P painted two nice neat pictures of garbage trucks for daddy, and Associate A made an amazing amount of mess covering himself in gooey paint from head to toe.

Associate A Mixing His Palette

Associate A Mixing His Palette

They impressed me with their focus.  Associate P set out with a vision and took great care mixing his colors.  Associate A was giddy with joy at the creative process. I thought to myself, “OMG they are just like the CEO.”

The entire time they were painting I was also shallow breathing telling myself it was ok.  That is what they were supposed to do.  It would all clean up. Thanking God for washable Crayola paint.

And after the brief inspired burst ended, they were more than happy to spend 30+ minutes washing the brushes, scrubbing down the easel and wiping down the messy paint cans.

Associate P Washing Brushes and Hands With Great Care

Associate P Washing Brushes and Hands With Great Care

As my blood pressure dropped, I felt a sense of pride swell up as I saw Associate P hose his brother off and help him wash the brushes.  Then I thought “OMG, are these kids me or what??”  I am the one who restores order and is a caretaker… and only enjoys creative release in small doses.

It was a perfect example of their 50/50 split.  They are a little me, a little of the CEO and everyday we get to see a little bit more of their own unique personalities shine through.

 

 

 

 

BUSTED!

So this past weekend I was exhausted… for a number of reasons other than just being a mom of a teething toddler.   I ran a 5k (go me!), the CEO had been out of town for an entire week (i.e. I stayed up too late every night working on the computer), and I’d been losing sleep over a to-do list that has grown out of control.

So Sunday, as jet lagged daddy and associate A napped, I took Associate P out for some 1:1 time.  We biked around the neighborhood and parked at the playground.  After about the millionth game of “pay a toll with a kiss to get by,” I could barely keep my eyes open.  It was 78 degrees, sunny, perfect and breezy.  All I wanted to do was lay down.  So I pulled a play from the dinner playbook and bribed my little one.

“If you let mommy lay on the bench and take a little 10 minute nap, I’ll give you a cookie when we get home!”

Associate P enthusiastically agreed, and promised to stay in the little playground area and play quietly.  I flopped over on the bench and passed out faster than you can say “I LOVE NAP TIME!”

I know he is only 2 1/2 but he is the most cautious kid in the world and won’t consider doing anything remotely exciting or dangerous unless my hand is within reach, so I had full confidence he would stay clear of the huge climbing wall and just be playing “yard work” — cleaning the mulch and bushes  — like he usually does.

10 – maybe 15 – minutes later I open my eyes.  My sweet boy is siting on the ground next to my bench playing with a stick. Then I notice there is another family that has joined us at the playground.  I sit up, wipe the drool from my cheek, and say a quiet prayer they just arrived and didn’t just observe me sleeping while my kid examined rocks and mulch.

I was totally BUSTED napping on the job.  Hopefully they didn’t then hear Associate P say, “can we go home and get my cookie now, mommy?”

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