Dating your better half

One thing I emphasize in my childbirth classes is the use of pregnancy to strengthen the relationship between the pregnant mom and her partner. I make sure to mention that a child poses difficult times in a relationship. A child could be as much of a strengthener as a dissolver. Let me be clear, my unsolicited advice isn’t to be interpreted as either of the following:

Your relationship will fail after the baby. This is incorrect. However, it is important to be cognizant of the fact that a relationship will continue to need time, nurturing, and some good TLC to stay intact emotionally, physically, and mentally.

Your baby is a stressor. This human being is not at fault for anything. This innocent person is simply coming into a new life creating, shaping and changing relationships, including your marriage. Naturally, there will be challenges. I like to call these challenges “growing pains”.

Remember that every push has a pull. Remember that there is no light without darkness. This stands very true in marriage and parenthood.

Now that you know where I stand with relationships between partners (after children), let me share with you a snippet of my own relationship with my better half.

I’ve done much better about dating myself, and my Nuggets. Who else can I date? Oh yeah, my husband! The person that I’ve created a family with. That would be nice. I have not dated the one I call my “better half” in—what seems like—ages. Sincerely, I don’t remember the last time Josh and I went out on an actual date.

A couple of weeks ago, I (finally) made time to go on a date with my better half. A friend watched the Nuggets while Josh and I visited the Cindy Sherman exhibit at The Broad Museum in Downtown LA, which then turned into an adventure. The museum was cool, but the adventure itself was the best part. It turns out we just needed a reason to go somewhere we hadn’t been before. The night went a little like this…

We took an Uber to and from DTLA. I was hesitant of taking an Uber because we have our own car that we could drive. Why would we pay someone else to drive us there? Well, let me tell you, it was the best thing we could have done! I am so happy that Josh decided on the Uber. Having someone drive us around allowed us to talk to each other while making eye contact, and with an hour drive, I really enjoyed how we both actively participated in our conversation. (There were even some passionate tears on my part.) I also loved that neither of us was stuck driving in traffic. We were living in the moment with each other. It was the type of moment we used to have all the time, and that we rarely make time for now. (I know, I know, it’s mostly my fault, but I’m dispersing some of the blame just so I don’t tip over. Ha!)

Taking the Uber also forced us to walk around and explore our surroundings. We didn’t have to worry or think about parking. I’ve been driving for so long without a break (yes, due to children) that I forgot what it was like not to worry about fitting somewhere with a car. I loved it. I felt liberated. In the moment. Josh and I simply kept moving forward because we didn’t have to go back to get our car.

After a quick run around the museum, we ended up at the Grand Central Market to have some delicious Ramen, which we had both been craving for a long time. After our meal, we discovered and roamed around The Last Bookstore. We ended our night at a nearby Rite Aid for some scoops of ice cream where we hopped on an Uber that got us home.

I enjoyed our date more than I could have imagined. The butterflies I felt for him as a teenager were back in the pit of my stomach. Realizing how simple it was for us to have a fantastic date made the realm of dating my husband feel so attainable once again, and less intimidating. For some reason, I had this false notion that in order to go out on a date with my better half, I had to put together fancy or intricate plans. In seeing how Josh and I still truly love each other regardless of where we are at or what we are doing, I know that all we need to do in order to have a date is be with each other.

If you’ve been needing a reminder to go out and enjoy your partner, take this as a sign. Grab his/her hand and just go! (Well, after you make childcare plans.)

Cheers to love!

That time when…you spontaneously give birth to a new family tradition.

I had just finished bathing Little Nugget. I was drying him off to lotion him up and get him dressed. He asked for a hug. As he wrapped his arms around me, he randomly said, “Mom, I don’t want Halloween to come because it’s ugly.” The time was here.

For the last three years, we have not had to worry about Little Nugget’s reactions to any holidays because he did not understand them. His statement was proof that this year would be different. He has begun to understand that there are times throughout the year where the masses celebrate in certain ways.

Thank goodness for whatever little light decided to flicker in my head because it helped me respond with an idea that even I was very proud of and excited for. This was my response and his reaction…

Me: “Halloween doesn’t have to be ugly, papa. It can be a beautiful celebration. We just have to make it beautiful for ourselves. What if we make a scarecrow for Halloween?” 

LN: “Oh yes! And our scarecrow can scare all the pigeons away!” 

Me: “That will work! We can go thrift shopping for his pants and shirt. What do you think we can use for his head? What about a balloon?”

LN: “No. A balloon is too floaty and it will pop.”

Me: “You’re so right! We’ll keep thinking about that one. What about his name?” 

LN: “His name will be Justin!”

And that was the end of him mentioning that Halloween was an ugly time of year. Now, all he talks about is Justin, so over the weekend, I took him to Goodwill to look for Justin’s clothes. In seeing how much Justin’s clothes would cost and comparing it to how much I really was willing to invest into this paper-gut-man’s attire, I asked Little Nugget if Justin could be a kid? Why? It would incentivize me to go through Little Nugget’s clothes and see what doesn’t fit him anymore. (An opportunity to cross two things off my list.)

Little Nugget was totally on board! He loved the idea that Justin would be wearing his clothes. Now, Little Nugget wakes up every morning asking if I’ve found what pants and shirt of his we will be using to make Justin.

And that’s how it happened. This is how we gave birth to a Halloween tradition.

Cheers to keeping a light heart!

Trying to consciously parent

These are just some thoughts I had tonight after sitting on the couch to watch some television with Little Nugget.

Little Nugget was on his recliner chair watching tv. I had laid Z Nugg down, done some dishes, and was taking a break on the couch whilst lost in the virtual world. Bathing Little Nugget was next on the “to-do” list, but I was avoiding it. At one point, Little Nugget turned over to me and asked me if I would like to watch tv with him. Normally, I’d say no because he needs to shower before going to bed, but tonight I thought, why not? “That would be great, papa!” (I honestly can’t remember the last time I did just sit and watch tv with him.) He hastily jumped on the couch and got comfortable on me. I actively watched Doc McStuffins with him and enjoyed him in my arms. I lived in the moment, and it was glorious.

After that one episode, I informed him that I was turning off the tv to bathe him. To my surprise, he did not fight with me and simply did as he was told. On a normal night, by this point, he would have already put in a good 5 minutes of crying. Solid crying, not whimpers.

In addition to the actively watching television with him, I also tried something else out. Before his shower was over, I asked him if I could lay with him for a little bit before I came out to the living room to work, a question he asks every single night. He approved by giving me an excited “yes!” I thought of it as wanting some time and attention from him. In order to understand why I felt this would work or make a difference, I put it in terms of making him feel important and worth my time…because he is. He is extremely important to me.

In reflecting how these last ten months have gone for him, I feel like a shitty human being. I did not allow myself to feel guilty or shitty because I am now conscious of what I can do to try and help my Nugget feel loved, needed, worthy, and important. I can give him my (active) love. I always tell him I love him, but I need to incorporate that active love.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Cheers to consciously parenting!

Little Nugget – 3 years