In four months….she’ll be TWO

I have a really awesome friend named Heather. She’s very modest: but her mom will tell you stories about how awesome she is all day long. Heather has four children…and all four of them are pretty awesome, too. Violet spent some time at Heather’s house on Friday. She loved her time there so much that when it was time for me to pick her up she had her very first “terrible two” total meltdown. I would say this was a meltdown of epic proportions, but I don’t want to be dramatic.

I’ve been noticing for the past few weeks how Violet is developing a very strong will. She knows what she wants and when she wants it. I don’t want to discourage this, but I’m getting a little nervous that I’m not ready to have a two year old. I’ve decided that I will peacefully parent my child…up until now that has been a pretty easy task. I’m pretty sure this is about to get real. I’m writing this entry so that my future self can come back and read it for a few reminders from time to time.

Tori, please remember that toddlers are selfish because they are not capable of being anything but selfish. When Violet throws a fit because things are not going her way, it is because she needs to be heard. It’s very frustrating for anyone to be told that they cannot do something that they want to do, or have something that they want to have. She is a human being. Let her melt down, be there in the moment and teach her how to deal with her emotions.

Also, when Violet acts like a two year old in public, she is not trying to deliberately disrespect you. This type of strong will is the only way a two year old knows how to communicate her needs. Please tell her that you hear her and validate her feelings.

Sometimes, Tori, you may loose your cool. When this happens you will feel guilty. Guilt is your body’s way of telling you that you went against your own moral compass. Apologize to Violet just like you would apologize to anyone you loose your cool with. You are only human. It’s about having respect for the people you love. Remember, Violet is a person…even if she is tiny.

A crying kid does not mean you are a bad mom, how you handle your crying kid will better determine what kind of mom you are. Always remember that your goal is for Violet to know that she can *always* trust you and that you support her in discovering who she is.

Remember momma, you’ve got this. You know what’s best for your child and you will survive these very challenging toddler years. It could be worse….she could be a teenager! And just think, if you take the time to work through this now, maybe the teenage years will be a breeze. One can hope, at least.

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It all goes so fast…

We had a very eventful day today in Violet’s world. She used the potty for the very first time. I’d love to say that we celebrated together and talked about how proud she must be of herself….but no, I missed it.

My mom was there, and so was my sister. My dad was there too, but I’m sure he had no idea that it was happening. I was in a meeting for work. The phone vibrated to signify that I had received a new text so I *very secretively* pulled out my phone and read: “WooHoo!!! Violet peepeed on the potty!!!!”. So many things were going through my head like ‘I’m going to save a boat-load on diapers soon!’ and ‘oh wow, I missed it :-(‘ and ‘maybe she’ll stop pooping in the tub soon too?’.

I’m very lucky to be able to take Violet to my mom. Of course I’d love to be present for all of her milestones, up until now I have been. Some days it seems like she loves her MeeMa more than she loves me. Just when I feel like being sad about that I remind myself how horrible it would be if she cried every day when I leave for work.

Other than the exciting potty news, I had another inspiring chat with my mom. Here’s how it went:

Me: “Mom, I have my first official blog follower.”
Mom: “Oh, and what does that mean? Is a blog follower kind of like a stalker?”
Me: “No, mom. People actually want blog followers.”
Mom: “You should talk to my pastor, he loves technology, too.”
Me: ::::::heavy sigh:::::::

And last, but not least. I learned a really great lesson today from Benjamin. (Benjamin is my housemate’s very intelligent three-year-old son). We had an intellectual type conversation this morning about the meeting I was heading off too. It was fun. And then he stopped and said, “Tori, when a group of people get together and hug… It’s called a *Group Hug*.” I was kind of rushing out the door so that I would be on time, but when he said that I stopped in my tracks. Once again this little guy reminded me to live for the moment and enjoy every second. We had ourselves a great little group hug. <3.

Introductions and such…

My name is Tori…and I’m new to this blogging thing. I like to write and I like to use the dot dot dot thing a lot. …

Anyway, I told my mom that I am starting a blog and she said “what for?”. Thanks for the support, Mom. In her defense, she is super worried about me because she thinks that I am addicted to technology (read: I spend too much time reading other people’s blogs and connecting with like-minded adults on social media).

To answer your question, Mom, I am starting a blog because I love to write. I’ve had a pretty interesting life so far. I’ve learned a lot and want to keep learning more. Just maybe another single mom who likes to scroll through new stuff on her iPhone will stumble upon my blog and feel better about life. Or maybe not–but either way its good for the soul to cleanse through a creative outlet.

Here are the basics: I am full-time working single mom. I have a daughter who lights up my life all of the time. My daughter has a brother, who is still technically my step-son, and who will always hold a special place in my heart. I love him as if he were my own. I don’t hate my Ex, because I don’t hate anyone…hate is only harmful to the hater. I am, however, still pretty angry with the whole situation…I’m working on it. Anger isn’t healthy either. With that being said, I strive to always keep the peace. To always show the important people in my life that I love them, and to enjoy every second I have with my Violet.

I’m a believer in peaceful parenting and will probably write about that a lot. I’m struggling to find the line between “live and let live” and “go give that parent your research-based opinion”. I *know* for a fact that I don’t know everything. I’m pretty sure I’m not doing this right a lot of the time. But I do know that my children will always know that I love them and support them, no matter what.

I have a crazy family….but who doesn’t? I’m sure I’ll be posting about those shenanigans…for cleansing purposes, of course. I love sports, (mostly hockey and baseball). Right now my dream is to be able to spend a full day making old-school scrapbook pages. I know, I dream big. It’s just that I really love to scrapbook and I haven’t made a single page since Violet was born.

I live in a pretty cool apartment with my awesome “crunchy mom” friend Suzy. She is an amazing cook and her kiddo is full of spirit. We have lots of fun adventures that I’ll be sure to share.

That’s about it for now.

Mean Girls

Women make the world go ’round. It’s true. Point a news camera on a crowd of sports fans and I guarantee that at least one rowdy crowd member will say “Hi Mom!”. Nobody brings up Dad. Some women really get that—usually the ones who have had real life experiences. I will never underestimate the importance of *Girlfriends*, but I didn’t always know that.

Tonight I sat in a room full of women and I was reminded that women are awful…to other women. For what reason? Why do we continue to support this cultural norm? Ten years ago, I would have told you, “Most of my friends are guys. I don’t really get along with girls.” I heard that sentiment a lot tonight.

A year ago today, my life was so very different. I was seemingly happily married. My daughter was seven months old. I was really wrapped up in being a step-mom to my husband’s son, nursing my baby, working full time, running a house. When the only reality I knew came crashing down around me I found myself all alone. I called my friend Suzy, a single momma who I’ve always respected and got along with. I turned to a girlfriend (that I really hadn’t talked to in years). Luckily she was up for the challenge and my friend Suzy is now my housemate Suzy.

Ten months, countless therapy sessions and a few self help books later, I’ve come to recognize this “mean girl phenomenon”. Think about this ladies—if we would all get out of our own heads and support one another, this world would be much less terrifying. Take for example, the woman who my Ex is in a relationship with. That relationship began when I was about five months pregnant. Here is what I just can’t wrap my mind around: What faulty connection in her brain told her that it was okay to enter into a relationship of any kind with a man whose wife is expecting a baby? She is a momma too, so she gets how vulnerable a fist time momma is while they are growing that little bundle of life-changing joy. Even if he fed her with all sorts of made-up stories about what an awful person I was in my elevated state of hormone production, this just makes no sense to me. If she were a supporter of women as a whole, perhaps her actions would have been a little different. This is how I imagine it:

“I’m sorry mister work-friend. We really do get along extremely well and seemingly have everything in common. But you are married to another woman. A woman who is carrying your baby. You need to support her, and love her, and repair the relationship that is so obviously damaged. That woman is a superhero, even if you don’t recognize it. What kind of scum are you anyway? Is this how you would treat me if I were your wife? And by the way I have respect for myself. Only the lowest of the low would welcome this kind of relationship into their life. I guess we don’t have as much in common as I thought. It’s been real. I’m out.”

I’m not going to get on an “all men are jerks” soapbox. There are good ones out there, I wholeheartedly believe that. But there are also a lot of bad ones. We’ve got to look out for each other ladies. It’s really easy to get discouraged when we see other women who weigh less than us, have natural beauty, a better eye for fashion, a really hot spouse/boyfriend, seem happier, have a super successful career…the list goes on and on… I read a quote somewhere that said to encourage others when you feel discouraged. Maybe this is a starting point. Each and every one of us needs a support system—without discrimination. Let’s teach our daughters how to love themselves, just the way they are. Let’s teach them to celebrate the accomplishments of their girlfriends and to show kindness to people they don’t understand. You can’t change the world if you don’t even try. I’m going to try.