Friday, January 29, 2010

The Makeover

Last summer one of my close girlfriends turned to me, curling iron in hand, and rolled her eyes, "Are you seriously 26 years old and you haven't figured out how to curl your own hair right?"

Well, not exactly. I can curl it! I just look so much better when someone else gets me ready! I'm not the best at that stuff. Same goes for if you happen to compliment my purse or earrings--I can almost guarantee it was a gift. If I look exceptionally put together, that odds are good that I walked into Banana Republic and grabbed the arm of my favorite male employee there: "I'm going out in 45 minutes and this is what I want to look like. Help me." (Oh, I wish I was joking!)

I like blogging, very much, and I am incredibly flattered that people take the time to read what I write and to comment on it. I really want to be able to interact more with the people who visit my site and to encourage discussion. With the help of
Lauren at My Life, Incomplete and Jamey Stegmaier, I introduce to you a better and more put together version of Single Mom Adventures: I am thankful for their help in the blog makeover! If you would be so kind to visit the new site, let me know you're there and let me know what you think, that would be awesome! In addition, if you currently subscribe to this blog on Google Reader, please change the link to the new one!

I really, really appreciate you reading what I write. Talk to you soon!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Turn It Off! Just Once.

Some people get up within the first five pulses of insistent alarm beeping. Others reach out a hand, groping to quiet the combustion of annoyance mere inches away from what was a peacefully sleeping face, just one minute prior. And then they fall back asleep. And are equally, if not more, annoyed when the darn thing goes off again, eight minutes later. It's almost more insulting the second time because they are just relaxing in to sleep again. So they slam down the button in fury and curl their body back into the warm comforter with tousled hair splayed against the pillow. This happens until the last possible second, when the final alarm goes off, the one that demands a flurry of activity if said sleeper is interested in keeping their job.

If the latter individual sounds like you, you're a snoozer. I'm a snoozer.

Was a snoozer.

I have always known this is a horrible habit. The last 24 minutes or so that I allowed myself to snooze were always the kind of sleep that leaves you more tired than if you would have avoided sleeping altogether. In addition, my household has not been, ahem, the calmest of all places in the morning. Let's just say Aidan and I do not have spare time where we're tapping our feet in the kitchen and trying to fill the void before we depart for the day.

I have proudly gotten up when the alarm goes off for a week. Okay, the first day was to prove a point. The second day I did it begrudingly because, again, how could I make a statement that I am going to change something so very in my control and not follow through. Now? Now I love getting up when the alarm goes off. I practically bounce up! I am not kidding, it has only been one week and I'm falling in love with not being a snoozer.

Aidan and I had breakfast at the table last week. Leisurely breakfast. The kind we have on weekends with no plans where we chat and I actually have time to load the dishwasher afterwards. My hair has been dry and at least somewhat styled when going to work for the last week. I've been early to work every day. Not only do I not miss the snoozing but I actually feel more rested by avoiding the whole dragging myself back and forth between the contentment vs. exasperation alarm clock scene.

I was a snoozer my whole life. And I think I've permanently stepped over to the other side.

Do you get up when the alarm goes off?

(In full disclosure, I must admit that part of the reason I'm posting this is because I feel like I will owe you, Internet, and I will not snooze even if I feel like it. I can't tell the Internet I'm not going to be a snoozer and then have to admit failure at getting myself out of bed!!)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pet Peeves: Pet Names

I feel like it is always somewhat comforting to find someone else who shares your philosophy on what is totally obnoxious. That moment where you can turn to another and be all, "Finally! Someone understands why I'm so irked about this!"

A little pet peeve confession: pet names.

I'll make it very black and white for you. You cannot call me sweetie unless, um, I'm your sweetie. Which I'm not. I cannot think of one person, with the exception of my lovely mother, who is allowed to call me that at this time. If we're in love and you roll over in bed and call me sweetie, I will think it is the most adorable thing. If you are some stranger and you hold the door open for me and call me sweetie, my blood pressure instantly rises. If you are a male friend of mine, pet names should not be in your vocabulary when talking to me. I'm pretty easygoing, about most everything. I am rather offended by people taking the liberty to call me anything other than my name.

This past summer, I was allowing myself to sort of be set up with someone. I wasn't excited about it. I felt like it was more of a chore than anything. But I also allowed myself to feel like dating was something I should be doing. So I get this voice mail from said set-up dude wanting to make plans. It was so awful to me that I was a horrible person and played it on speaker phone while out with my girlfriends for beer night.

They all looked at me. "Are you seriously that pissed that he called you beautiful?" One of them asked, a bit incredulous.

It wasn't a good, respectful thing.

It was, "Hiya, beautiful, blah blah blah, well hon, blah blah blah, give me a call sweetie. Blah."

Needless to say, my call was abrupt, direct and I declined the dinner invitation.

Am I the only one? I honestly feel like this type of talk is degrading. If you're my sweetie, you'll know. Until then, I am annoyed by pet names.

What are your pet peeves?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Lessons on the Ice

I've never been that mom before.

The one whose kid is crying incessantly in the middle of an activity and wants to get out of there, immediately.

I've often said that it suits me better to have a child that tends to be a bit adventurous as opposed to one that is timid. I'm used to my child jumping as high and as far as possible into the chilly pool for swim lessons. I'm used to having the child that is running so fast during soccer that he unintentionally throws himself into a forward somersault and laughs about it. I roll my eyes and shake my head when a beam of light shoots down the hallway after bedtime and Aidan is hanging precariously off the top bunk so he could edge his pinky toe over to the light switch with no other purpose than to annoy his mother. He had stitches before he turned two, we can imitate a circus routine on a low level when I lay down and he stands on my outstretched arms and he can throw (though not catch) a frisbee with more skill than most teenagers.

He begged for ice skating lessons. Being a hockey mom would not be my first pick. But it is not my pick. I have vowed to expose Aidan to as much as possible and support whatever he chooses to participate in.

Saturday was an absolute disaster.

He was crying before he even got on the ice because the skates felt funny. They were too tight and bunched his socks up all weird and if you know my child, you know that "finicky about clothing" is a tame and kind description.

I don't know how to describe the painful half hour that followed other than to say that he simply did not get it. He couldn't stay standing up, he exhibited completely uncharacteristic fear about falling and he was the kid out there that requires the constant attention of the assistant coach. When he saw me watching from behind the plexiglass, a fresh wave of tears commenced and he literally dropped down to his knees on the ice and started crawling towards the exit. I walked out on the ice and guided him back to class.

In all fairness, there was another child having the same troubles as Aidan and I overheard her parents say, "It's okay sweetie. If you don't want to do it, we'll just leave."

I'm quite certain Aidan wishes he would have had a parent like that on Saturday. He does not. After the class, the parents are allowed to come out and spend another 10 minutes on the ice with their kiddo. Hopefully everyone else was paying attention to their own child because I made a spectacle of myself, purposefully falling all over the ice to show Aidan that I just had to get back up afterwards and coaching him in a way that was reminiscent of encouraging an infant to walk.

When we left, he stated the obvious: "Mom, that was too hard. I don't want to go back. I don't like ice skating."

He gets to learn a lesson about his mom. "Baby, we don't quit in our family. If something is hard, you try harder."

Rarely is something hard for Aidan. He runs fast, he's (usually) coordinated, he writes well, he makes friends easily and when I walked into the TV room the other day he had figured out how to change the language on the movie he was watching to Spanish and was sitting contentedly, watching his movie in a foreign language.

We don't quit. Aidan may never be great at ice skating, but he will improve. And I guess this mama gets to find out what it feels like to have a child who is a bit timid about something.

I'm secretly thrilled that this particular class is only six weeks. It's going to be a really long six weeks.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pillow Fights in Our Underwear? Not So Much.

My friend Jamey and I were discussing our weekend plans via e-mail. He has a game night planned with friends this weekend, I'm hosting a girls' night. I had to laugh when he posed the typical male question, "I assume you all will be having pillow fights in your underwear?"

I don't know what it is with men and them envisioning this scene and how they cling to a ray of hope that it could ever be possible. Jamey is a fantastic writer with a great daily blog. He will be discussing why men even pose the question and what type of answer they're looking for. Check out his point of view! From the female perspective:

The fantasy:

They think we're the pinnacle of attraction at these girls' nights. They fantasize about us wearing lacy pink underwear with sexy bras (which, of course, match our panties) and our long hair resting on our cleavage. Or maybe a black garter with a rhinestone bra (matching again, of course) and spike heels, if that's your thing. In these fantasies, we're throwing our toned, desirable bodies all over the living room and the bed with pillows clenched in our hands and a couple of stray feathers floating down to the plush carpeting as we playfully hit each other. High pitched giggling rings through the air as a pillow unexpectedly grazes us from the side.

The reality?

We show up, some of us in our pajamas, all in need of a drink after the week's demands of working, parenting and attending class. These pajamas are a t-shirt, that might possibly have a stain on it from a child's mishap or perhaps rushing to get that evening's tacos ready so we could get out the door, paired with faded bottoms that do not match. Our hair is tossed up, no one has put on bronzer before departing and when we sink into the comfort of a worn couch, there's little hope we'll be getting up until we need another drink. The sex talk involves how ticked off one girl is that her husband stopped, mid-foreplay, and pointed to her stomach. "What's that?"

End of all sexiness: "That's a stretch mark. From the children I gave you."

If we are showing any more skin at some point in the evening than when we walked in the door, it's only to turn disgustingly to a friend. "Are we getting old? I don't feel like I had back fat before. Let me see your back."

We laugh, we share parenting tips, we play Catch Phrase like it's the highlight of our week (it may very well be), we release a little steam about our endless to-do lists and we stuff our faces with the variety of appetizers we've put on the table.

Those poor, poor boys. If they only knew. Maybe we'll just leave them to their fantasies.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Synonyms: Embrace, Affection, Squeeze

I am a hugger. There is no chance you could come to my house without receiving, at minimum, two hugs. Are you coming? Going? Being cute? Looking sad? Overjoyed about something? Breathing? You're getting a hug.

I've often been told that I'm a good hugger. I don't even know what this means! What constitutes a good hug? Length? Tightness? Back pats? Whether you nuzzle your head on the left or right side?

I had an absolutely fantastic weekend. There wasn't anything particularly fascinating about it. I spent a lot of time with Aidan; we checked out the ice sculpting downtown, saw a movie (I cannot believe I dished out good money to see The Squeakquel, it was awful), went to the bookstore, went to church and, in typical Holland fashion, ran into lots of people we knew while out and about. I unexpectedly had the evening to myself on Friday and chatted with my girlfriends at happy hour and went out to dinner. Aidan and I were invited to a friend's house for dinner on Saturday night and had friends at our house last night. Busy, but low key.

I counted. I hugged over 35 people this weekend. Not 35 hugs, 35 people. And this was not some experiment, I wasn't trying to get my hug on more than usual.

I have to wonder if that's part of what made my weekend so great. Imagine if, right before you're about to let some rant loose while being tailgated that you both pulled over and had a hug. About to lose my temper over Aidan refusing to change out of his pajamas before church? Let me just hold him for 30 seconds while the frustration literally dissolves. You run into someone you know at the bookstore and hug them. Everyone feels just a little bit better and walks away with a little skip in their step. Super annoyed with someone you love? How mad can you stay when you're locked in an embrace? My guess is that the sharp words turn to heartfelt ones.

Hugs, I think, soften the heart. And I know some people aren't touchy-feely and maybe this idea is a bit uncomfortable, a bit awkward. But try it. Hug as much as you can this week. And see if you don't find yourself just a little bit happier.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Single Woman

Some single people do not mind being single. Some are even excited about it, doing this on purpose! But everyone who is attached is darn determined to find a cure for this disease.

"Oh, you'll find someone!"

"You just haven't met him yet!"

"You would totally be perfect with my nephew/cousin/ex-boyfriend's sister's ex-boyfriend"

This may very well be true.

And I played along with this game for a bit. Maybe I was willing to let myself be set up with a friend's boyfriend's best friend. Maybe I got a little excited because your cousin sounded great. Maybe I spent some time with a guy that I didn't really think was all that great because I wanted some company.

I'm done. The last couple of months have been lovely. I like being single. I do not care if the entire year of 2010 passes and I do not lock eyes with some guy over a flickering candle and Chicken Parmesan. I find it offensive when someone calls me "recommendable". You recommend restaurants. Movies. Your favorite ice cream. A person is not recommendable. I attend weddings and other functions alone because I'm not interested in baby-sitting. I'm so used to being the extra wheel that I can literally wrap up an entire evening spent with a "group" and not realize until I'm home that I was with four couples.

I'm pretty sure this bothers other people much more than it bothers me.

Let me spout off a few reasons I love being single:

  • When my house is filled with ladies next week Saturday for girls' night, I don't have to kick anyone out.
  • In the next week I have three dinner dates! Two are with girlfriends of mine and one is with a girlfriend and her husband. I like this. I like that there are so many people in my life that I dine with regularly and I don't know if I would do this if I was someone's girlfriend.
  • If I want something, it's totally on me to make it happen.
  • This is silly, but I like that I can keep the thermostat at the desired temperature and don't have to consult with another on grocery shopping.

This should not be misconstrued- I don't have a bitter perspective from being jaded in the past. I'm also willing to date, but I'm certainly not going to date just to date.

Perhaps if I was even mildly impressed with the fishies in my sea, I would have a different attitude. But the fact of the matter is- the water I'm swimming in is not glistening with great men. Plus, the longer I am single the more I get to

So. Single. Satisfied.

It should not be a personal mission of anyone to "hook me up" which is what often happens to the single woman. If I decide to date it will be because I met a really great guy and am excited to get to know someone, share me and grow. And, just a hunch, but I'm guessing it's not your mom's neighbor.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

It's All Wiggly!

I had a bit of a freak out moment last week as I carefully completed an application for Aidan's Kindergarten enrollment next fall. The feeling was compounded when I phoned our doctor's office to obtain the required immunization records. I always shake my head when he puts on a pair of sweatpants that totally fit last week but might now spur a thought of: if he's going to look like he's habitually ready for sports practice or bedtime, the least his mother could do is get the right size. And speaking of sports, I will officially be a soccer mom come Tuesday! With the exception of one unfortunate and ill-timed spill on the snow hill last night, he was perfectly capable of cruising down on a sled solo, while bright lights beamed down on him.

My little boy is growing up.

You don't necessarily notice it when you see them every single day. Even just an absence of a couple days causes me to caress his silky hay-colored hair longer and hug him that much tighter. He always looks just a tad more self-sufficient if I've embarked on a mini-trip with friends and he's spent his weekend playing Go Fish and Slap Happy with Grandma.

Then there are the undeniable milestones, however small, that unexpectedly get you.

On Friday night I prepared dinner for us. A sandwich, applesauce, fruit and corn on the cob- one of Aidan's favorites. He excitedly bit down into the corn on the cob. And subsequently burst into tears. His reaction was so startling that I'm sure I just stared at him as lengthy seconds ticked by. Finally, I snapped to.

"Honey! What's wrong?"

"My, my, my...." He trailed off as fresh, salty tears cascaded down his little cheeks.

"What happened?" I asked again, a little more frantic this time.

"My tooth!" He gasped out.

Then he spoke again. "It's all wiggly!"

His first loose tooth. He had mentioned something the night before, but as he pointed from one side of his mouth to the other in his complaint, I hadn't paid much attention. And, of course, millions of mothers have had this moment, so my moment is not unique.

But I can't believe that sometime in the very near future he'll have a little hole in his mouth and I'll be playing Tooth Fairy.

The good news is, he says he'll eat steak and fish when he has big chompers. His words exactly.