Monday, October 22, 2012

My Naughty Ballerina

When I had my T Bear I didn't know if she would ever truly be able to do all of the things that other kids do because of her hip dysplasia.  Thankfully she can.  I remember my hubby and I talking to Dr. D (her ortho guy) and telling him that we wanted T Bear to dance like Mommy. We finally got the green light and signed her up!!  Of course her teacher is one of our closest friends, whom we love dearly, otherwise this helicopter mommy probably would not have gone for an independent class!!

I had visions of my bear pirouetting across the floor looking angelic. Leaping, gliding, twirling her way to become a prima ballerina. The night before her first class I was wrought with anxiety. Would she manage to make it through the whole class without a potty accident?  (She was newly potty trained.)  Would she be shy?  (She is rarely around other children - since I stay at home.) Would she volunteer to try new things?  I was so excited for her and so nervous.  This was the first thing she was doing by herself.  All of the other classes she had done were with me.  Now she was venturing out into the world alone.  I was so proud.

She looked the epitome of a little angel with her pink tutu, pink tights, pink ballet shoes, and two adorable buns. She was very excited.  Hubby and I brought her to class.  I walked her in.  She showed no trepidation and joined the other little ballerinas in a circle.  She sat in perfect first position on the floor watching the other girls and taking it all in.  Some little ones were crying, some were clinging to their mommies.  Not my T Bear, she was perfectly content to be on her own.  I was surprised and a bit taken back thinking that she would have needed her mommy a little bit more.  I snapped a few shots, choked back my tears, waved to my mini me and headed to the waiting room.  Hubby, Mad Man and I waited for the door to close and headed out. As we headed down the long staircase my stomach was in knots, and tears were streaming down my face. My baby was out on her own.  Really she wasn't a baby anymore - that much became clear that morning.  It was a little too much to take in.  Luckily hubby was with me and was able to comfort me as visions of kindergarten, high school graduation, and college dance through my scattered brain.

When we came to pick up our little love she was so excited to see us.  She wanted to fill us in on her new adventure.  We were elated.  She used the potty and had a blast.  Although she did inform us later that she was told to shush because she kept asking when the music would play!!  That seemed innocuous enough. Then came the next class.  With much less trepidation we dropped her off.  This time when we picked her up I asked how she did and my dear friend informed me that T Bear and three others did get spoken to. Basically they didn't want to listen and really only wanted to do their own thing.  Uh oh.  I was a bit surprised, although anyone I tell this story to is not shocked at all by my strong willed little angel.  I ensured my friend that I would be talking to the bear about her behavior.  Boy did I.  Through our lengthy discussions (probably too lengthy for a three year old) she informed me that she hit a girl after the girl hit her.  What??!!  I was enraged.  As the day progressed the story became more elaborate involving several incidents of preschool violence and retaliation.  That was when I had an inkling that I was being taken on an extensive imaginary ride!!  It turns out none of that happened and the incident was not a very big deal.  Still I was convinced that I would not allow this poor behavior to happen again.

The next week came (and we are still unclear of what went down) and it seems that the bear was put in time out.  Ugh.  More chats about behavior and expectations.  The next week seemed to go well - no bad reports, no intricate stories, just a few trips to the potty (okay we are working on it!).  Maybe our naughty girl has learned her lesson.

I never thought dance class for a three year old would cause me to lose sleep.  I now have to worry about whether or not she will have a potty accident, be a good listener, be kind and courteous to others, stay out of time out, and have fun.  Wow.  The hardest part is not actually knowing what goes on in the class.  The realization that she is on her own is staggering.  This is the new phase in our lives - T Bear=Miss Independent.  Gone are the days of needing Mommy for every little thing.  I am not going to lie I already miss those days, although I am learning to embrace her growing up, simply because I have to.  We have parent observation week coming in a few weeks which will allow me a window into the class (I have already asked my hubby repeatedly to borrow his binoculars so that I may spy into the studio - but he will not comply).  I hope that my naughty ballerina will at least be on her best behavior that day!!

High = Knowing the sheer joy that dance will bring to my T Bear
Low = Realizing that I cannot control everything in the world (although I will continue to try!!)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Oh the places I've nursed

A mommy does what she has to do.  Looking back on my nursing experiences I am amazed (and a bit appalled) to realize all of the places I have nursed.  I do not claim to be modest.  I grew up as a dancer and was quite accustomed to wearing tights and a leotard.  Bikinis never bothered me.  I have even been known to walk around the house nude (pre-baby mostly!)  However, at my baby shower when I received a "hooter hider" I was a bit mortified.  I wasn't even sure how to wear it (to be honest I never quite got the hang of it).  Then I had my first baby:  a daughter, T Bear!  In the hospital, I was not reticent at all about displaying the boobs.  My sister-in-law even had to manhandle them to help me through those first few PAINFUL nursing sessions.  Thus began my nursing adventure.

T Bear did not like to be covered up while nursing.   So I went with it.  Week one: several friends were oh so traumatized by my uncovered chest, and my hubby's uncle was completely embarrassed by my nursing out in the open.  It didn't phase me.  Acquaintances would stop by and I would be hanging out boobs exposed trying to feed my munchkin.  Our first real public outing included a nursing session at an A&W, with several witnesses (especially an older gentleman who kept peeping).  Flash forward several months to vacation:  Virginia Beach.  This is perhaps the most gregarious sample of my nursing (that is until I had my son!).  While on vacay I had to nurse my screaming six month old on the public trolley, on the beach, and on the boardwalk.  Let me examine the evening nursing on the beach.  While attempting to calm my munchkin I quickly jot down to the beach and find a somewhat covered place to sit.  I plop down on the sand and begin nursing:  finally quiet.  As I catch my breath and look around I see that I am sitting in a public ashtray with my sundress (and therefore my partially exposed rear).  Oh well, at least the baby is getting what she needs.  The next night finds me in the same predicament:  screaming baby at 8:30 (normal parents would have been back at the hotel putting their little one to bed, not us - we are out walking back from dinner).  This time I think back to the disgusting episode of the previous evening and head farther down the beach toward the water.  I find stacks of lounge chairs and place myself comfortably on one of the stacks.  Aah quiet!  As I look around my eyes meet the eyes of a homeless and/or intoxicated man who was sleeping on those lovely lounge chairs.  He seems unaware of what I am doing, or that I am completely exposed and wobbles away.  After that incident nursing was fairly routine:  at home, in the car, on a know the usual, and this went on for fifteen months!

Three years later my son was born - the Mad Man.  Once again I began my nursing experiences exposing myself to anyone who dared enter the hospital room.  Not only did I have to contend with nursing an infant (and all the glory that goes hand in hand with that), but now I had to explain the nursing process to my T Bear who was less than thrilled; in fact she was disgusted and enraged that this new baby was latching on to her mommy like that.  She came around eventually.  In the process of nourishing this new life I nursed all over the place once again.  In fact, I was much more brazen with my nursing. The car became one of the most popular spots, out of sheer necessity (mostly due to the fact that the Mad Man screamed incessantly in the car).  Mind you I did not pull into private areas - wherever I parked was where I nursed.  A particular gas station seemed to become "our spot" for quite some time.  I can add several locations at this juncture:  in front of my sister's new boyfriend, the National Zoo, a bench in the Metro station, in the car surrounded by hubby's high school softball team, and a Target dressing room.  Then came vacation:  Wildwood, New Jersey.  Now we venture to nursing once again on the boardwalk (surrounded by people), under the boardwalk (this experience did not live up to the song!), on the beach, and outside a restaurant on a bench.  This is when I had to add public pumping to my repertoire!  At this point I was pumping once a day (thank God only once a day) to make rice cereal for the Mad Man.  I happened to choose around dinner time to do so.  I pumped on a bench, under the boardwalk, and in a restaurant - at the table, covering up with a receiving blanket.  Insane and honestly a bit gross.

As my nursing days seem to be dwindling I will miss all of the adventures I have had.  To me nursing is a profound bonding experience - one that I would not have missed for anything, even ogling eyes, gaping mouths, and disgusted sighs.

High:  bonding with my babies
Low:  embarrassment (obviously not on my part!!)