Thursday, September 25, 2014

When is enough enough? Parenting version

I believe I asked this question when first ttc - when is enough enough? Now way on the other side of trying to conceive, with two kids, I ask, when it comes to being patient with your kid when they're freaking out, when is enough enough?

Last night I checked out the Peaceful Parenting book on Amazon. I am interested to read it, but I will say based on the reviews I kind of know what my reaction will be - mainly that I pretty much already do the things in the book, and that in some extreme circumstances nothing in the book will work. Honestly, there's only so much laughing and playing a game you can do when your kid is having a massive irrational meltdown. As I discovered today.

Had an exhausting, maddening trip to the playground. School must have been out for Jewish New Year because the park was lousy with big kids. I spent much of the day trying to keep B away from the big kids' scooters, bikes, toys, balls, and water guns. Which sucked. My friend and I opted to take the kids to lunch, which also went poorly. It was gratifying to me to see that my friend, who I consider a terrific, energetic mom, was equally fed up with our kids' craziness. When we got home, B was ok for a while...I planned on spending some special time with him reading books and making sun tea while the baby practiced sitting up in his crib. This was ok until it wasn't. The ear-splitting screaming started. Then the irrational "take this - why did you take it?!?!?" bullshit started. I tried to get him to eat something for dinner - no dice. Thought I might try to put on his pj's thinking maybe he was just too tired to eat and needed sleep (even though he'd had an hour nap a few hours before). He started throwing things and screaming. I felt that rage rising. I wanted to hurt him. Thankfully I just calmly placed him in his room while mumbling "I'm done". He screamed in his room while the baby screamed in his room.

And I wasn't shaking and upset like last time I had to put him in there due to non- stop tantrums (his 2nd birthday six months ago). I just knew he had to be away from me for everyone's best interests. And I remembered the times when my mother shut me in my room when I was non-stop tantrumming and wouldn't listen to reason at this age, and how much I hated it. But honestly...what the hell else do you do when it gets to that point? I wonder if the book has an answer for that, other than calmly placing your child somewhere where they can calm down? 

So I listened to both of my children screaming while thinking idontcareidontcareidontcare.

When B seemed to have settled down I asked him through the door if he was ready for dinner. He said, "dinner". Then I asked if he could say "I'm sorry, mommy." And his little voice said, "I'm sorry, mommy." So I opened the door and gave hugs and I love yous and we proceeded to have a lovely evening of dinner, tooth brushing, pajamas and nighttime songs. Like nothing happened. Shortly after the baby finally settled down, too.

Maybe I need to adjust my expectations. So far B had been pretty easy but the last month has been fucking brutal. A friend told me every six months kids go through a major leap and consequently have a hard time; it would make sense as B is 2 1/2 and T at six months is wracked with compulsive sitting/crawling/rolling and has also been having a hard go of it. If we're going to have more days/nights like this, I think staying calm and not letting it eat my soul away while also not letting B walk all over me is probably a good tactic. 

Well, tomorrow is preschool. So, there's that.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Better days

So today was the kind of day that you dream of when you think of having kids. Sweet, well-behaved toddler and charming baby, lots of laughs and book reading and making funny faces. Is it because we had school yesterday and there will be school tomorrow so I feel relaxed and happy? Why can't every day be like this??? Anyway, I'm not going to ask why. Let's just keep this going, shall we?

Tonight I have to get in my car, drive two feet forward so I can open the hatchback, haul out the giant jogging stroller and bring it up the stairs, then bring about five loads of baby stuff down the stairs and try to cram it into the trunk for donation to a children's hospital tomorrow. I feel good about purging the 1-6 month clothes and stuff. We all know this isn't happening again, so no regrets. And unlike with Bobby I'm actually digging this six month switch (remember the massive freak out at this point with Bobby? The donut and the shame spiral? Not this time, baby!). Theo is all but sitting up, does his baby plank daily, and is seconds away from crawling. And I'm loving it. The glass-half-full version of Theo growing up is we're that much closer to the boys being able to entertain each other. 

In business news, my old floor guy finally called, and we're on for next year. Ironically I went out dancing last night and saw and danced with this year's floor guy. We were perfectly friendly and acted like nothing happened. Which means I'd better re-write the somewhat angry Dear John letter I drafted to him. I really need to keep things friendly if I'm going to see this guy all over town.

My finances are in the toilet. I freaked out about it an hour ago but have decided there is nothing I can do about it so I'd better not let it get to me. Life is expensive with two little kids, period, a lot more than I thought. I may need to go into debt to stretch my money but that's ok - I did it last year and got by, this year I'll actually have less debt. And hopefully after Feb 1 I won't have to play this game anymore. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Feelings, wo wo wo feeeeelings...

When I was growing up, my mother, a jazz pianist, had a New Yorker cartoon on display that depicted a cocktail pianist with a sign on his piano that said "requests - $1. "Feelings" - $500". This dates me a bit as I'm sure anyone born after 1975 probably doesn't remember the saccharine dirge that was the hit song "Feelings". But as the toddler emotions, and my own, ramp up around here, I feel a kinship with this musician - I wish I could get paid $500 every time I have to deal with my son's intense emotions.

Every day I ask myself and anyone who will listen, is this normal? Is it just a two-year-old thing? Is it finally, six months later, a reaction to the baby? Or is there something "wrong" with him (anything from hyperactive to just especially sensitive). So far I've gotten 100% normal - and my observations of kids around me tells me this is true. But still - wow.

I told myself I'd never be the kind of mother that dismissed her child's feelings as my mother did mine - and I think I do a pretty damned good job of indulging his toddler conceits (I don't want that shirt, I want the other tooth brush, etc etc) within reason. And yet everyone has their breaking point, especially when the slightest transgression on your part - moving a sippy cup a half inch to the left, touching a toy when he held it out to you to take - results in a tsunami of ear-splitting screaming and tears that can go on and on. We had a very unpleasant incident here a couple of days ago. Bumpus wasn't hit or anything but the intensity of my own rage scared the crap out of me. I'm still shaken by it. I promised myself I would do better, I would not lose control with him like that again...but I've said that before, and here we are. It's just that perfect cocktail of sleep deprivation, physical exhaustion, disappointment and resentment that gets you there, and that can happen at any point in these kids' lives. I want to be always patient and gentle and rational, but I'm human, too. If he can throw a fit every two minutes over the stupidest bullshit imaginable and after days (or weeks, or months) of just putting up with it, redirecting, ignoring, hugging, discussing, whatever the fuck, I finally snap - well, I guess that makes us both human, doesn't it?

He's taken on a slew of new habits that drive me nuts. Now he constantly goes into the refrigerator and drags all the food out wanting to direct what he can eat - yogurt, applesauce and ice cream, of course - and freaks out when I put things away and try to direct him back to real food. He absolutely refuses to brush his teeth. For a while I got him to sit on my lap and let me do it, but now he won't even do that. Getting in and out of the car is absolute torture - up or down the three treacherous flights of slanting cement stairs takes a million years as he has to stop on every step and pick things up or try to go in the wrong direction; now he has the maddening habit of running around and around the car, which scares the shit out of me because we live on a very busy, dangerous street and it would take a millisecond for him to step into the street and get killed while I'm trapped between the car door and garage wall trying to grab him so he'll stop running. Once in the car he now screams his head off until he can pull his shoulders free of the top harness of his car seat (no matter how high or tight I put it he still wrestles his way out), then flails around throwing books and blankets all over (he was putting down the window and trying to open the door on the freeway until I figured out the child safety door and window locks). No amount of pulling over or threatening stops this. 

And yet when we get together with other kids his age, I hear stories of far worse. And my main babysitter insists he is so much better than the other kids his age she sits for. So...what the hell is going on in other houses, I wonder??? And how on earth does anyone survive this???

Believe it or not we actually had a nice time at a friend's kid's birthday party today - no pushing, no fights over toys - other than my OCD freak out when he ate a chocolate cup cake over their carpet (the other parents were unperturbed; I was mortified). He started the day at home just as emotional and irrational as on the day of the incident but I did do better this time - administered hugs instead. But it's only a matter of minutes before the next freak out. I gave him the wrong colored spoon. I put his shoes on the correct feet and he wanted them on the wrong feet. It goes on and on.

I appreciate those who tell me how this time, with a two-year-old and baby, is the hardest, and it gets easier. But I disagree. I think it's going to get a lot harder before it gets easier, years and years from now. Right now Theo is so easy, but I know from experience that this will all come to a crashing halt once he's mobile and enters that dreaded one to two year phase. When I can no longer confine him to a carrier when we go places is when I feel like the shit is really going to hit the fan - when B is still so little at only three and T is one and whatever - oh, it's going to be so frigging hard. When they can fight over things, over me, when they both want different things or want to run off in different directions at the same time...just thinking about it, I want to cry.

I wish I could get help - and I don't mean help with Bobby, but psychological help for myself. But as you know I have no money, and wouldn't even know where to begin to find someone who would be willing to hear me whine about how much I hate the toddler age, which is kind of a given for a lot of (most?) parents. But I think I can safely admit at this point that yes, I am depressed. And all my old methods of training my brain to be happy simply aren't working when so much of the basic mechanics of every day are so awful, and when I am so tired I simply don't have the energy to try to cheer the fuck up. I find myself looking at the childless people on Facebook and all the awesome stuff they're doing - vacations, dinners, hobbies - and yes, I envy them. There, I said it. A single friend of mine recently came back from Hawaii and went on and on about how relaxing it was and how much she just loved swimming in the ocean...and I wanted to punch her in the face. Compare that with my nightmare trip, plus the fact that I will probably be well into my sixties before I have anything resembling a relaxing vacation again, and I feel myself tumbling into a pit of despair that I don't know if I'll find my way out of. 

Well, relief may come in the form of three day preschool which starts tomorrow. So many times today I would have a flash of trying to line up things to occupy him tomorrow, only to remember with glee that he has school! Will not having that miserable slog of Friday-Saturday-Sunday-Monday all alone together start to break this ugly pattern we've fallen into? Will this be the thing that makes things bearable? Can I recover from this and get some enjoyment out of life again? Is it really as simple as just a few more hours' preschool a week? 

I don't know, but fingers crossed!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Just hang on, man!

Being an avid podcast listener, one of my favorite ones involves an interview with Marc Maron in which he describes a bad acid trip at a concert, from which he is talked down by a fellow tripper who tells him to "just hang on, man!" He said this had become somewhat of a life mantra for him. It has become for me, too (when I'm not chanting ihatethisihatethisihatethis...hare Rama).

A couple of pleasant days and all of a sudden the world looks brighter. Had a nice beach day with a friend (everything is so much easier with another set of hands...and I fucking hate admitting that). Bobby starts Monday- Wednesday-Friday preschool next week. I finally made a dent in my post-event boxes and gathered up a room full of baby stuff to donate to a children's hospital next week. So things are looking up.

Thanks for all your helpful potty training comments. I ordered a couple of potties, training underwear, and some accident cleanup stuff on amazon. I'm not sure what kind of tactic I'm going to take, but I'm leaning towards slow and chill - hey, let's sit on the potty! No? Ok, later then. I'm in no hurry. But I do feel I should at least try.

Bobby is talking more and more and reading together, singing songs and sharing jokes have become a daily high point for us. Theo is grabbing and pushing off and is minutes from sitting up and crawling. I want to squeeze them both until they morph back into my body.

Here's another rare shot of the three of us:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Beware the potty

Sooooo...the elephant in the room is, now that the baby has been around for six months and my event is over...the next step is potty training. I am terrified. And I know that people say being terrified is probably going to doom you to failure, just like being stressed out is supposed to make it so you don't get pregnant. But the whole concept scares me.

I think I screwed myself by reading this article on Facebook last night that I kind of agreed with on a philosophical level - it was a woman talking about the very popular boot camp-y, go for it, potty trained in days method. She feels like modern parents are just plain lazy and not willing to endure the mess/inconvenience of staying at home with naked toddlers while they piss and shit all over your house for days until they "get it". And just reading this I felt profoundly ashamed. Yes, I am too lazy to stay a prisoner at home for days and weeks while my son turns our carpeted house into his personal toilet. So now what?

The idea alone of not leaving the house for even one day, much less days on end, makes me want to drive off a cliff. Is that necessary? You can be honest.

B has not shown any "signs" of interest in the potty - but his language is good enough now, and he is 2 1/2, so I'm thinking any old time now may be a good time to start. I feel like I should at least try even if now is a failure. I know I don't want to give the poor kid a complex. He must never know how anxious I am. But I feel like I should start. 

Any good methods? Books we can read together? Potties good for boys? And how can I make this fun for both of us and not torturous?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Let's try this new thing

Today was another in a series of "let's try this new thing" only to have it be a total miserable screaming disaster. One of the pay indoor play places was offering a waterslide to beat the blistering 107 degree heat, so I took us over there. Of course like everything right now it was too advanced for B but he wanted to do it anyway - but he couldn't climb it by himself and kept falling, and I couldn't help him because I was holding the baby because it was unbearably hot with him in the carrier. So after a lot of crying and kids clambering over him I finally had to drag him away kicking and screaming, figuring we could at least use the nice cool indoor area. After getting everyone changed it looked like things were going to be okay - he had a blast playing on scooters and I got to feed the baby and cool down. But then of course he had to get in a screaming, pushing fight with some kid over some toy, and again I had to drag him away kicking and screaming along with my giant diaper bag, the big bag full of wet clothes, and a baby on my chest, then get all of our shoes on, then drag his tantrumming mess three blocks in the triple degree heat to our scary hot car, all the while thinking my mantra of ihatethisihatethisihatethis.

When does this get better? I'm positively drowning right now. Every day is utterly emotionally draining, exhausting, and kind of awful. And we have four more days of temperatures nearing 110. 

I want to scoop out my eyeballs with a grapefruit spoon.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Six months and a glimpse of the future

Today I went to a craft fair at my sons' future elementary school in hopes of getting a little preview of the place, which I've hiked by a million times but never actually entered. It was bizarre to be at this place that will one day factor hugely into all of our lives - if things go the way I want, we'll still be in this neighborhood in ten-fifteen years and both boys will attend this highly rated public school. With all my free time (and afore-mentioned predilection towards getting involved in things and taking over) it's highly likely that I'll get involved in the PTA and whatever else needs volunteers. So to say that today was the first of many times I will enter that school's grounds is an understatement.

Typical of my hipster east LA enclave, there were many booths set up selling things that involved the words "sourced", "local", "organic", "urban", etc, which always makes me chuckle. Yet at the same time whenever I start to think things like that are so pretentious and stupid, I have to ask myself - where would you rather go eat, one of these hipster places with organic, locally sourced awesome clean food, or frickin' TGI Friday's? I'll take the hipster place. So who's pretentious now?

I saw lots of glowy new parents with their ironic mustaches and jump suits and ankle boots and knit caps on this blistering triple degree day doing the same thing I was doing - checking the place out and sussing out the other parents of similar-aged kids. Yes, strangers, our fates may soon entwine. It's true.

I joined some kind of booster society for the school and also a neighborhood organization that I really should have joined ages ago. I'm hoping all of these things will a) give me more to do in my lengthy down time and b) help me get more involved in my neighborhood. I bet there's tons of cool stuff out there I know nothing about. So, bring it on!

Went to the 10th anniversary party of the Pasadena Smc group. It was great to see people from my group with their new babies and pregnancies. Our little thinker/trier group is moving on to being a mommy group. Kind of cool.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Not a toddler person

I've been trying to figure out how to write this post. It's nothing you haven't heard before. And I feel lame after writing my last very positive, upbeat post to then follow it with this downer. But if this blog is to be an honest recounting of my day-to-day experiences, well, here it is.

I read a Washington Post article yesterday about it being ok to admit you're not a baby person/kid person/toddler person, etc, and although I know this is true that it's ok to admit, I still feel like a monster admitting it, while still admitting it nearly all the time. It felt good to read that, and especially some of the solutions to "not being a toddler person" which consisted of "upping hours at preschool" or "having someone come in to help". For some reason I thought I was the only person doing this - basically shoving my kid off on someone else a few hours a week just so I don't lose my mind. As you know B is on the wait list for the three day afternoon program...but for just a moment I had the thought, imagine if he went all five days??? And I became so utterly delighted at the very thought of this, and how excellent my life would be, that I then had to ask myself...jeez, how miserable are you that the very idea of this makes you so happy?

Now, not that five days of preschool is even a possibility for us. I could never afford it and it's not like he could just get in any old time. But man...the very idea of not having to come up with tons of exhausting activities all day five days a week! To have him just in the morning and evenings! To have weekends that I look forward to instead of dread! It would be so awesome!

And then comes the guilt. All I see all day long is women desperately looking for work-at-home jobs so they can stay home with their kids; women bemoaning having to return to work after maternity leave; women trying to figure out their home lives so they can quit their jobs. Apparently I have what every woman wants. So why do I hate it so much?

Had another exhausting play date in a park today. B screamed his head off every time someone even looked at one of his toys. I got so fed up with the endless screeching that I found myself doing really unpleasant things like rolling my eyes in disgust. He definitely has an issue with possessiveness, and I hate to say it but it might branch back to now having to share his only parent with a sibling. With Theo reaching and grabbing things now, Bobby is none too pleased - and I can see a lifetime ahead of me of breaking up fights and negotiating rights over toys/books/clothes/stuff. And the very thought of that makes me want to crawl under the covers and never come out. Remember that memory I have of my aunt laying her head down on the kitchen table and sobbing because we kids just wouldn't stop squabbling? Is this my future? Don't say no because you know it is. And I walked right into it, willingly.

Right now I just feel like I suck. All I live for is bed time and the days B goes to school - ie, the times I get to myself. I enjoy little to none of the rest of my day at all. Everything - bathing, feeding, playing - all just feels like something to get through. And yet I try. I try so very hard. I look him in the eye. I keep my voice light and pleasant. I always consider things from his point of view. I respect his rights as a human being. I never tease, punish, or humiliate him. I sing songs. I ask questions about his toys. I let him have choices. I administer hugs. I tell him I love him every day. When he cries I comfort him and tell him I understand why he feels that way. And I am exhausted and fed up.

Where does the baby factor into all of this, you ask? Apart from consistently robbing me of a decent night's sleep, not at all - he's just a squishy, leaky little love muffin. Babies are so frigging easy. I think I can consider myself a baby person. How can you not love a baby? But toddlers - aghhhhhh!

When the littlest of my kids is seven, I'm going to rock this shit. We can have conversations, we can do interesting cultural things around town, I can teach them about good music and movies, we can go places. I'm going to be the best school-age mom ever. But right now? Not a toddler person. Not one bit.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Mommy's Little Dividend

We survived a birthday party in Santa Barbara today, and actually had a nice time. Bumpus experienced his first piƱata and behaved pretty well, probably because there were no toys to fight over! The only downside was it was wicked hot. I used to love summers, the hotter the better. Now I hate them - it just makes life with little kids that much harder (as does extreme cold which thankfully we don't have here). Theo was roasting in his carrier but wouldn't be put down, either - so I had my usual juggling act of holding baby and chasing toddler. I complain about this now but I live in dread of the day I'm chasing two toddlers. Ahhhhh!

Asked a friend of mine with two boys and about to have a third baby if they wanted to know the sex in advance - she said with much disappointment that it was going to be a third boy! Agh! Reason number 8,547 to not have a third baby! You know I'd make a third boy. That's just how this donor's sperm seems to meet my eggs. 

In attendance at the party was my friend's giant Latino family and only a handful of old dance friends. It bums me out that people make so little effort to get together anymore...and also makes me feel a little bit of a loser that I jump at any invite we get while everyone else seems to have better things to do. But that's the life of a single gal with no family around - my only social interactions come from friends. So the onus is on me to maintain those friendships and not just let them slip away.

I am not so upset about the money thing as you'd think. I'm a little bummed I got my hopes up, but oh well! This problem has a solution thankfully - it's not like this is my fixed income and I have to cut back just to get by. No, I only have to get by until February. I will have to defer one of my property tax payments but this is something I absolutely can do - it's not delinquent until after April 1st. And hopefully Theo will get me an awesome tax refund and I may get a break on health insurance come January. I also want for nothing, have a good comfortable home and a car that runs. 

One of my djs during my event was asking how I liked motherhood and I said it was great, and he said, "look at you - two beautiful kids, this great event - you've got a great life." He's right!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Today wasn't my day

Lots of bad vibes today. Just trying to shake it off. It culminated in leaving Theo screaming in his crib for a half hour while I fed B dinner, subsequently throwing said dinner down the sink because B was too wound up/distracted to eat and kept demanding yogurt (which he'd already had for breakfast), then plunking both kids in bed a half hour early because I was utterly fed up. It was that kind of day.

We went to the park for a play date and B behaved horribly. Again with the pushing littler kids when they approached him when he's got some coveted toy (never his, I might point out), and he full on ran right into the street for the first time ever and could have gotten killed. The cars were honking. It was frightening and horrifying. This could have been the worst day of my life. Now I can no longer trust him to wander a little. I'm going to have to be right on top of him from now on. 

He tantrummed all day until I gave up and hauled him kicking and screaming to the car. Wanted to slap him so badly but thankfully did not. I know he's tired and fed up and discombobulated from the weekend, I get it. The problem is, so am I. I have zero patience and am hating every minute of this full time mom crap. I need a fucking vacation. 

The old floor guy has not returned my calls for two days. Oh great. I'm sitting by my phone like a school girl.

Then tonight I foolishly decided to do the complicated math to try and figure out how I did financially over the weekend - sadly, the news is not good. It's horrible, actually. I factored in all the payments I still owe, my outstanding credit cad debt, all the uncashed checks (most of them are not cashed yet), and yes, despite having celebrated that I was up in the money department going into the event, somehow I came out broke again. How is this possible? Well, things are expensive, that's how. And when you hardly sell any merchandise or tickets because everyone buys them in advance now, well, you don't make anywhere near the money you used to during the actual event. 

Thank god there is relief in the form of raised prices come February. Unless that plan backfires and a ton of people don't show up because of the price hike. Then what?

Well, it's going to be another hell of a tight year. Right now I have just enough money to get by if I don't pay my property taxes or sales tax. Ugh. 

Nobody ever said you could do what you love and make a decent living off it, did they? 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

If I were a man...

So one of the things I didn't mention in yesterday's post was the big technical problem which was the new floor guy. As some of you may recall I was given the opportunity to rent-to-own a new dance floor by a friend in the dance world who had been lobbying hard to get me to sever my decade-plus relationship with my current dance floor rental company. Well, the opportunity to possibly own a floor - saving some $13,000 plus a year - and have the added benefit of renting it out on my own - was too good to pass up. 

Over time however we mutually agreed to just keep it a rental agreement since he was concerned the plywood might break down and he didn't want me purchasing a floor that wasn't going to last. Ok, fine.

The upshot was the installed floor was very sticky. Like, twist your ankle, I think I'll sit this one out kind of sticky. Which begged the question - did he even put one foot on the floor before putting it in? Obviously not. One toe on the thing and you knew it was all wrong. This may not sound like a big deal to non-dancers - but let me tell you: dance floor is everything. People complained incessantly all weekend and quite a few people got hurt. It was the biggest technical problem I've ever had in seventeen years.

Was this guy falling all over himself to apologize to me? Nope. He pulled me aside on the second day after talking to my main door person saying he needed to speak to me. He was all shaking and wound up and I thought for sure he was going to say how sorry he was that he screwed up so royally. Guess what the first words out of his mouth were? "First of all, I don't like that bitch." Yup. He was pissed that my door person had the gall to pass on people's complaints and tell him one of the students had twisted her ankle in class. Then he went on. No sorry, no let me give you a discount. Just that he's not enjoying his weekend, he doesn't like how people are treating him, his friends all say the floor is fine, etc. I felt such intense rage against him that I swear if I were a man I would have hauled off and decked him - but I told myself to just keep quiet and let him dig his own grave. Eventually he did come around to talking about solutions and saying he hoped I'd be willing to work with him again. But man oh man. What a disaster!

I wasn't planning on kicking him to the curb...but as the days have gone by I have to say that despite the fact that I'm sure this floor will be fixed by next year and we'll never have this issue again, I just don't want to be in business with this person. He's a Vietnam Vet with major PTSD issues, is quick to anger, and has always made me feel like I owe him for his doing me this big "favor" of making me this floor. I find myself always feeling like I should be profusely thanking him, and I hate it. And he called my staff member a bitch. 

I called for my sister's opinion. It was short and sweet. "Does he make you uncomfortable?" "Yes." "Get rid of him." Done and done!

Once again I have to ask myself, if I were a man, what would I do? Fire his ass, end of story. I wouldn't give him a break because of his emotional issues or back story; I probably would have smacked him. It's just that stupid people pleasing want everyone to like me always see their side-chick thing that gets in the way when it comes to business. There's no place for that here. He didn't deliver a quality product and reacted badly when confronted about it. The end.

So I left a message with my old floor guy and drafted a letter to this guy, telling him I am severing our business relationship because I was offended by his language and attitude towards me. Hopefully he'll learn something from it. Hopefully he won't have grounds to sue me.

I had a bad feeling about him when he first approached me. Once again not trusting my gut. Ugh. If I were a man...

How did it go?

So many things to say about the weekend. Suffice it to say it went well. Tons of accolades on Facebook. We are on a roll with really smooth, well-attended years. I have zero idea how I made out financially - it may be a while before all the dust settles - but hopefully it's enough to somehow get by.

Boy, does parenthood ever prepare you for this kind of work! Instead of my life ramping up to this event and then feeling a huge crash after, now it's just back to life as usual; being in "mom mode" means I'm always living at this level of high activity, so I'm used to it. I'm also used to doing things that are painstaking, boring, unpleasant, or awkward. I'm used to having to push through those feelings and get things done. This is a very useful skill in event planning.

How was it with the kids? Well, we got by, but my poor babysitter had them nearly all day every day, which was not what either of us had planned, and which was made especially unpleasant when the first morning at the hotel I found her crying in her room and she confided in me that she thought she was losing a very early pregnancy. She said she was two weeks late, had all the symptoms, but never tested, but now was cramping and bleeding heavily. I cried and hugged her and told her my story and encouraged her that this is very common for the first time trying and it shows she can be pregnant, etc etc. But the poor woman was devastated and having all those awful thoughts of "what if that was my one chance" - you know those thoughts! So she stuck around but I felt horribly guilty about it - especially when the weekend was full of babies and pregnancy announcements. I felt for her. Hell, I've been her (minus the loving husband)!

As expected the sleep was horrible. I got maybe three hours a night, and B tearing the hotel room apart drove me utterly bonkers. Still, I was running on such adrenaline that I can't say I felt dangerously tired - I was afraid I might pass out or get sick or something, but I really did ok. The night sitter worked out great and I even got to take home a lot of the milk. Huzzah!

There were a lot of little, and some big, glitches. But I did not internalize any of them and instead spent the weekend feverishly making notes on how to improve things next year - everything from what denomination to order staff food vouchers in to who to have judge the collegiate shag division. 

Mainly I have accepted that I frigging need help and have decided to bring on people to handle all of the food for the weekend (I really don't need to spend the day before my event at Costco), arrange the djs, and run the vendor room. Every other event has a whole team of people doing these types of things; mine has always been a one woman show, but can no longer be. It's time to admit some other people may actually be better at this stuff than me.

It dawned on me halfway through the weekend that without the breast feeding issue next year, I can easily have both kids spend the day at the baby kennel on Saturday and Sunday, freeing up whoever the sitter is to actually enjoy the event. I would just need someone to drop them off and pick up at night. They would probably prefer it, and I would worry less. If only they could stay there overnight-!

So I sang, I wore ridiculous costumes, I ran contests, I made speeches, I greeted hundreds of people from around the world. I even actually danced. Not bad. Here are some shots from the event:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014