...to bring you a post about my birthday, which is, in fact, today. I will get back to the end of the vacation review soon, I swear.
I'm not sure how I feel about my birthday this year. Each year it seems to become subsequently less exciting. I don't know if it's simply about getting older, or the lack of exciting presents and parties compared to childhood, or just that there's more going on in my life these days. And since I wasn't really alert on the day I was born, it doesn't seem as significant...at least not compared to, say, Jacob's birthday, which celebrates a moment I was very much present for and aware of. I think in general parenthood makes you less self-centered, almost to your own detriment at times, so I suppose it's only natural that your own birthday pales in comparison to those of the ones you love. Maybe it's a little bit of all of these elements. I'm more distracted in general, and there isn't really a lot of hoopla surrounding my birthday to distract me back. Sure, we'll probably go to dinner tonight (just me and Craig....more in a bit about why that will be a treat) and have some form of cake, and I did enjoy (and am still enjoying) the overwhelming group of birthday greetings via Facebook today. I could hardly keep up with the flood of emails into my inbox notifying me of all those well-wishes. But is it the same excitement level as being a kid and having a party with gifts and cake? Not quite.
I think part of my frustration this year is that I'm getting older, yet we're stuck in this holding pattern right now. We want to have another baby, and the clock is ticking on my ideal timing season-wise. Despite the glut of May-June-July birthdays in our family, I still want to aim for that period because I want to have a baby when it's nice out and I can enjoy maternity leave in good weather. All of my maternity clothes and Jacob's clothes are sort of set on certain sizes for certain seasons, and if possible I'd like to stick with that so I can reuse as much as possible next time around. It's just sensible, if nothing else. But we are in a holding pattern because we don't have the money for another kid in daycare and our salaries are close enough that one of us quitting takes away 50% of our income, which just isn't feasible. I also have nearly daily reminders that one kid stresses me out enough, so how on earth would I deal with the exhaustion and stress and daily task list that come with TWO? And, of course, there's always the fear that even if we figure out a way to do it, something will go wrong--miscarriage, lost job, etc.--that would throw things off-kilter again. We try to plan our lives so perfectly, and when it doesn't work out that way, it's a disaster.
Now, ultimately I know that God has us covered, one way or another, and things always seem to work out. But the passage of time makes me nervous and the time where you are, in essence, waiting for Him to "do His thing" isn't the easiest. I stressed over the house situation, and in time we found the perfect one, right down to something as random as the hook hanging in Jacob's future bedroom. It's the same kind of hook I had commitment issues about hanging in his room at our old house because I wasn't sure if we'd like what was hanging from it (a mesh toy storage thing I got at IKEA) or what damage it might do to our ceiling. His future room (the bigger room he'll graduate to if/when baby #2 comes along) already has one there, pre-installed and ready to go if we decide we want to use it. Weird how stuff like that works. And I know this baby/work situation will probably be the same in the long run. It will work out better than I could possibly imagine. Will there be hardship and stress along the way? Perhaps. But all of that will play into His perfect plan--so even if it doesn't seem perfect in the short term, or involves some long-term pain--ultimately the hardships will serve a purpose for His bigger plan. Not always the way we want it, but perfect for where He wants us to go...and therefore I guess we can have a sense of peace in everything.
Still, this year's birthday finds me all caught up in MY plan, and it's a little hard to match up the two right now. I'm probably also a little down because Jacob was a beast last night. We went out to use my free birthday entree coupon at Moe's. We went on Monday because it was Kids Eat Free Night, but it turned out we could only use one discount or another...so annoying. Regardless, Jacob was brutal. He wouldn't sit in a high chair at all, so we decided to try the booster seat, which he's done before with mixed success. He spent most of the meal contorting himself out of it, refusing to eat his food, complaining because he wanted the cookie that came with his meal, and eventually screaming and hitting. It was horrible. Add in a rough bedtime (as usually happens when he falls asleep in the car shortly before bedtime and wakes up when we get home), and it made for a rough night. I blame myself for at least some of Jacob's tantrum issues, because I admit I don't always keep my cool very well when he acts up. I try, but past a certain point it's hard. He does get spanked, probably more often than we'd like, but we do try to keep it to safety concerns (when he attempts to run into the street or reach up toward the stove, for example) or direct defiance (when we tell him not to do something and he knowingly does it anyway). I'm starting to think that it's probably not the way to get through to him, as it hasn't worked too fantastically thus far, but we're at a loss because nothing else seems to work either. No matter how we try to encourage and reward good behavior or take away priviledges or make him sit (not an official timeout yet--but, for example, back in house from playing baseball outside) for bad behavior, nothing seems to sink in. But perhaps spanking has already taught him that hitting's ok (even though we constantly tell him not to hit) and it's created a whole new set of problems now that he hits back. He has no empathy yet (which is typical for the age) and has a mind of his own, so it's hard to keep him in check...and in public it can be downright embarrassing. It's extremely difficult and disheartening. And it doesn't help when most people I hear from here and there say that age three is worse. Fantastic. On a funny note, Jacob was making himself a couple girlfriends during the few minutes he was almost behaving. There were two college age girls sitting outside the restaurant on the patio, and he was making cute faces at them through the window. They thought he was so cute, and of course then he turned into shy boy. Silly kid.
And finally, the fact that I sat at my desk all day with all of the other people in my department on vacation was a little sad. I did get a call at the end of the day from my big boss in Toronto who found out it was my birthday, so that was nice. But it was a quiet and fairly frustrating day at work with a full day's worth of projects I wasn't planning on. Spoiled as it sounds, I'm not used to having to be functional on my birthday. I didn't have school on my birthday until my senior year of college, and even in the years that have followed I've managed to snag a decent number of weekend birthdays, most recently my 30th--also the day of Jacob's Christening. It's a little culture shock, I guess :)
Long story short, it's kind of an odd birthday. I'm hoping it gets better into this evening...we shall see!