How Toddlers and Cats are Alike: Giant Sheets of Paper

My husband’s birthday was last week. In order to kill time add to the festivities, I thought it would be fun if Babykins and I made a birthday banner. So I hauled out a long piece of banner paper, dumped out some crayons, and went to work.

I outlined the words “Happy Birthday, Daddy!” (inspired, I know) and told Babykins that we were going to color the paper. She colored for about 30 seconds and then proceeded to gleefully roll around on the paper. Then one of our cats joined her. The toddler and the cat, both enjoying a giant sheet of paper in the same unhelpful way.

babies-and-cats-birthday-banner

I never did finish that banner.

 


Babykins Turns 1

“The first baby’s first birthday party is not a party for your baby; it’s a party for you. Sure, the baby will someday appreciate that photo of them in front of the cake with the ‘1’ candle and the photo of them taking their first bite of cake, but when a baby turns twelve months old, they really have no idea that they are even at a party, or that the party is actually for them, because their entire life seems like a party. A party for them. . .You are the one that needs the party. The baby obviously has no friends yet, so the guest list is all your friends you haven’t seen for a year. And since your friends are the guests, they will obviously need good food, good drinks, and music, and suddenly you have the recipe for a raging bash and you take the pictures of your baby in front of the cake, put them to bed, and carry on like, well, like you don’t have a baby.”

-Jim Gaffigan, Dad is Fat (163-164).

Babykins turns 1 year old today, so we’re celebrating keeping her alive by having some of our family over tomorrow. Admittedly, I dropped the ball on this guise of having a party for her while it’s really for my husband and me by not buying the “1” candle. Oops! Don’t worry, I’ll still bake a cake.


The Truth About Motherhood Aging You

Most of my life I have been mistaken for being younger than I actually am. I’ve been told that I will appreciate this as I age, but it can still be awkward explaining that I’m actually an adult who lives with my husband (especially when I’m 8 months pregnant–true story).

When I found out I was pregnant with Babykins, a new concern arose. What if I starting looking older than my age? After all, motherhood can be hard on a woman’s body. Pregnancy and prolonged sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your youthful vigor.

However, I now know the issue of age and motherhood isn’t whether I look younger or older. It’s actually the fact that I’m too tired and distracted to remember my age.

age


The Age Gap

Most of my life, my age has been underestimated.  Growing up, my sister and I were often mistaken for twins (I’m two years older than she is).  I once confused one of my co-workers in college by telling her I was going to be a senior.  I meant a senior in college, she thought I meant a senior in high school.  Last year I was often mistaken for my employers’ daughter instead of their nanny.  Likewise, an older lady tried to charge me a children’s admission to a corn maze two autumns ago.  You had to be 12 or younger to get the children’s admission–I was 23.

I have found there is a correlation between how old a person is and how young they guess I am.  I was bored enough today to draw you a graph:age graphFor the most part, people in their 20’s, 30’s, or 40’s will generally place me at least in my lower 20’s.  However, as we start looking at people in their 50’s, my estimated age starts dropping.  Ask people in their 60’s or older and suddenly I’m a young teenager again.  I’m not exaggerating–when my husband and I went to visit one of our support congregations, several older women told me that they thought I was 13.

My parents always tell me that someday I’ll appreciate looking younger than my age but it can still be frustrating now to have people assume I am a child when I graduated from college and got married almost 3 years ago.  Due to this frustration, I have started devising ways of making myself look older.

1.  Wear fancier clothing.

fancy clothes

I’m supposed to be wearing a suit. . .

The problem with this plan is that either I’m a) running around after children or b) lounging around my house.  Neither option is a big motivator to try to wear nice things.  Either way, I’m prone to ruin the clothes.

2.  Grow a beard.

beard

Having a beard helps my husband look older.  When I suggested this plan to him, he just told me that it probably wouldn’t have the effect I intended.

3.  Wear clothing that announces my age.

30874_452652244837_6007522_n

When I was growing up, my mom would make my siblings and me a shirt every year that said “I am [insert age].”  However, something tells me that wearing a shirt announcing that I am 5 isn’t the same as wearing shirt that announces I am 25.

4.  Steal someone’s baby because babies always make you look older.

stealing baby

Haha, just kidding about the stealing part–I know enough people with babies that I’m sure someone would let me borrow their child (well, maybe they won’t after seeing this picture. . .).

5.  Dye my hair gray.

hair

Just to really confuse people.

Do you look young for your age?  What do you do try to make yourself look older?


Introvert Monday: The Birthday Party

birthday party

On Saturday, my husband and I attended my nanny children’s birthday party (my nanny kids and their cousins all have birthdays in the same month, so their family throws a big birthday party for them every year).  This would be the first large group, non-church event we have attended since starting vicarage and truth be told, I was dreading this party all week.  I knew that I wouldn’t know most people at the party.  There would be a lot of people at the party.  Basically, I feared that I would go into introvert/anxiety mode in front of my boss.  By Saturday morning, I was berating myself for not finding an excuse to get out of going to the party.

However, it turned out to be a pleasant party.  The usual sensation of unease and stress never arose.  I didn’t feel my shoulders tense or my heart race.  It was the most comfortable I have felt at a large group event in a long time.

As we drove home from the party, I wondered why I felt so relaxed at the birthday party while Sunday mornings still remain a stressful ordeal.  My ponderings lead me to three reasons:

1.  There was ample space.  Crowds and noise are big triggers for me–that’s part of the reason I struggle so much at church (I know that I should be thrilled that the church is crowded with happy people; it still makes me uneasy).  However, the birthday party was outdoors with plenty of space for the numerous children to run around.  Likewise, there were several picnic tables spread out, meaning that when we sat down we weren’t bombarded by other tables’ conversations.

2.  I had a surrogate.  I’ve mentioned before that having a surrogate–a non-shy person to help a shy person in social situations–can be extremely helpful.  My husband is my surrogate.  While he is an ambivert (someone who falls in the middle of the extrovert/introvert continuum), he isn’t shy.  Likewise, he is a very gifted in small talk, meaning he can navigate social encounters with much more ease than I can.  Unfortunately, on Sunday mornings (and really any church event) my husband cannot be my surrogate because he is working.  However, for this party he was able to stay with me.  He didn’t need to rush off to talk to this person or that person.  And he was able to handle the small talk.

3.  There weren’t any expectations about my behavior.  I’ve heard it all before:  Just because I’m the vicar’s wife doesn’t mean I have to do certain things.  Despite this, I still feel pressure to be gregarious at church.  And whether I like it or not, what I say and do reflects on my husband.  This adds to the stress of Sunday mornings.  However, at the birthday party I was only the nanny.  If I didn’t talk much, if I seemed “shy,” that was okay–I have never heard of anyone expecting their nanny to be outgoing.  Likewise, it’s easier to monitor my behavior in relation to how it reflects on me than how it reflects on someone else.

The party provided both comfort in concern.  On one hand, here was proof that I could still function at a social event without going catatonic.  On the other hand, the three factors that made this party easier to tolerate cannot be easily emulated on Sunday mornings.

What do strategies to you use to make awkward social situations easier?    


Life Questions

Since my husband was out of town this weekend, I decided to make the 7 hour trek south to visit my parents.  This was my first time returning home without my husband since we got married.  Consequently, I slept in my twin bed that I used in college.  The bed was placed in the same room (in fact, the exact same spot) I slept in from ages 5-11.

Returning to the place where I spent my childhood can lead to nostalgia.  Returning to my old college bed can bring back the memories of a motivated young woman who was going to change the world.  Add in the fact that I will turn 25 in a little over a month, and I had the perfect conditions to start having a mid-20s life crisis that apparently happens when you turn a quarter century old.

Many questions could have floated through my mind this past weekend.  What have I achieved in 25 years?  What do I want to do with the rest of my life?  Do I want a career?  How does the fact that I am married work with these plans?  Am I living up to my potential?  Do I even have potential?  Big questions to settle in a weekend.  Instead, I focused on the one I felt the most:  How on earth did I manage to sleep on such an uncomfortable mattress for 3 years in college?!

Okay, the mattress only cost $75 brand-new, so you can’t expect much quality.  Still,
the thing is like sleeping on cement with pebbles scattered all over it.  I must have been
insane in college.

     


Happy Birthday, Blog!

Two years ago I wrote my first post.  Admittedly, it was an odd post to start a blog.  There was no explanation of who I was or why I was writing, just my thoughts of being so very, very tired of teaching devotions.

Anyway, I could talk about how much has changed and how much has stayed the same in the last two years, but that would be boring.  I drew a picture instead.


Making My Husband’s Birthday Special. . .Or Not

My husband’s birthday is in a couple of weeks, so I was thinking about what we could do to celebrate.  Unfortunately, the youth group’s Sweetheart Dinner is on the same day as his birthday, so he has to spend the afternoon setting up and the evening attending the event.  No going out to eat that day.

I then had a brilliant idea–I would make my husband breakfast in bed!  We went to a B & B for our honeymoon and he talked for months about how great it was to have a hot breakfast delivered to our door.  He would be so excited if I made him a nice breakfast (for once) and brought it up to him.  Even better, his birthday is on a Saturday, a day of rest and relaxation.

I started to think about what I would make for his breakfast when suddenly I remembered a really important fact about my husband’s work schedule:  he works on Saturday mornings.  Not only does he work, he attends the men’s Bible study.  The men’s Bible study that starts at 7:00 a.m.  He gets up at 6:15 to go to the men’s Bible study.

Screw that, I’m not getting up that early to make him breakfast.*

*Don’t worry about my lack of motivation to make him breakfast on his birthday–he gets a good meal at the Bible study.


Now That I’m Older

Now that I’m 24, I told my mom that I hoped that I wouldn’t get mistaken for a teenager anymore.  She told me that I probably would. *Sigh* I suppose there’s always next year.  


Happy Birthday, Blog!

This is a few days early, but I started blogging a year ago as of this Wednesday.  For those of you hoping to hear something profound on this anniversary, I’m sorry to disappoint you.  I really don’t have any insights to share other than the fact that I’m surprised that anyone reads this at all.  Thanks for following me!