Take A Walk With Jan #3

I know it’s not really their fault. They are just flying around their home (which is the whole of the outdoors, by the way), minding their own business, when a giant walks into their living room and starts swatting at them. I’d bust out a baseball bat if someone did that!

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I dislike bugs. I really do. Well, some bugs. There are some that I rather enjoy. I’m not afraid of these tiny critters, per se, but I hate when they fly into my face, or get stuck in my hair, or sting me, or fly around my son. They are assholes. I generally don’t bother or kill the bugs, unless they are really bothering me or the baby, or if Kyle demands it because he is terrified of most things with more than two or four legs.

I know it’s not really their fault. They are just flying around their home (which is the whole of the outdoors, by the way), minding their own business, when a giant walks into their living room and starts swatting at them. I’d bust out a baseball bat if someone did that! Hell, I’ve actually gone out of my way to rescue certain critters from imminent death (moths, caterpillars, large spiders, praying mantis mostly).
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This is Jim the Praying Mantis. I saved him from the middle of the street a few weeks ago, and put him on the tree outside of our apartment. Tell your friends, Jim! Tell them to leave me alooone! I leave them alone, and even save them, but do they show me the same kindness and courtesy? No. No, they certainly do not.

This whole week is supposed to be in the 70’s and sunny, so I decided that we would try to get in as many walks as we can before the cold weather comes. Seconds after we left our apartment, as I was strapping Liam into his stroller, a ladybug landed on his cheek. He reached his hand up to touch it, and it crawled onto his hand, then up his arm, before flying away. For a brief moment, I thought, “Aww, that was cute!” But, no, it wasn’t. Because out here in the cornfields, ladybugs are tiny, spotted demons. And I despise them.

The walk to the park wasn’t too bad. It was warm and breezy, and we avoided the sidewalks where the majority of the evil ladybugs seemed to be hovering about. The park, however, was a different story. I had stopped at Subway to grab a veggie sub, and planned to sit under one of the gazebos to eat once we got to the park.

Nope. NOPE.

I forgot that today was Sunday, and there were dozens of teenagers roaming the park, hogging all of the gazebos and picnic tables. I walked all the way to the other end of the park and sat under one of the empty gazebos, but Liam and I were relentlessly attacked by both spiders and ladybugs, and ended up sitting on a bench out in the open to eat. The bench was right next to one of the playgrounds, where there were three teen/pre-teen kids goofing around on the swings, including messing with the baby swing, so we couldn’t use it. Teenagers are such dickbags. Then, I overheard the following conversation:

Girl #1: I hate how young I look, it’s so stupid.
Boy: Why? That doesn’t make sense.
Girl #1: I look really young. I hate it.
Boy: You are young…
Girl #2: Madison, you are, like, 10. Stop.
Girl #1: But I look 10.
Boy: You ARE 10.
Girl #2: But you look, like, at least 15. So it’s okay!
Boy: Why don’t you want to look 10? You are 10.
Girl #1: I don’t expect you to get it. Just shut up.
Boy: Wow. Whatever.

The boy then grabbed his skateboard and went over to the playground, but stopped when he saw us, and walked over.

Boy: Hi. Cute baby, is he yours?
Me: Thanks. Yeah, he is.
Boy: Cool. How old are you?
Me: I’m 25.
Boy: Oh.
Me: …
Boy: …
Boy: Nevermind, I just thought you were young.
Me: … *awkward smile*

Then he waved to Liam and walked back over to the girls.

Wait. Wait a minute. What? Was he saying I looked young? But then called me old? I’m confused. Either way, I now feel old. Thanks, kid.

Then, it happened.

On the walk back, there was a bug hovering around my head. I knew it wasn’t a ladybug, but swatted it anyway. Then it flew out in front of me, and ducked beneath the hood of the stroller. I saw it. Black and yellow. In a moment of panic, I pulled the hood back, and saw a yellow jacket, floating right in front of Liam’s face. He saw it as well, and I was terrified that he would reach for it and get stung. My mama bear instincts set in, and I smacked the yellow jacked out of the air. He flew around me, and I hit him again. He got me back, though, stinging the top of my wrist. No allergies, so I’m fine, but it hurt. Bastard.

We then tried to rush home, but ended up getting stopped a few blocks away by a young couple, who wanted to ask me questions about our stroller, because they really liked it (we have a Graco Aire3 Click Connect Travel System, Gotham by the way, it is amazing). The walk back was much less eventful, thankfully. I had to give myself, Liam, and the stroller a look over once we got inside to make sure we didn’t bring home and stowaways.

I am ready for the cold weather. I thought I wanted it to stay away, but I now realize how foolish and naive I was.

BRING. ON. THE. SNOW.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Take A Walk With Jan #2

Along with him destroying his stash of Cheerios, I also shared a bit of my apple with him, because who can say no to those eyes? My goodness.

Daisies

Daisies in front of the high school.

Today was absolutely gorgeous. This is my favorite time of year, when summer is coming to an end, and autumn is just on the horizon. When the weather is no longer miserably hot, but you can still comfortably wear a t-shirt outdoors. Since the temperature has been dropping over the last week or so, I’ve been trying to take advantage of it by going for as many walks as possible. I also managed to get in a mini workout this afternoon while the baby was taking a nap.

I’m trying, guys! I will be healthy! Eventually.

Anyway, we went on another walk today, and it was fantastic. Of course, no walk that I’m on is ever 100% perfect (I honestly attract the rudest people, I swear), but it was pretty damn close.

We left the apartment a little after 3:00, so most of the high school kids had already vacated the area around the school. The park was completely empty, and peacefully quiet. I brought a large blanket to sit on, and we sat right in the middle of the park, beneath the trees. I bought an apple and some water for myself, some Cheerios for Li, and we had a little photo shoot to celebrate him turning 8 months old in a few days. We stayed at the park for about an hour before heading home to eat dinner. It was so much fun!

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Along with him destroying his stash of Cheerios, I also shared a bit of my apple with him, because who can say no to those eyes? My goodness.

So that was fun. But as we were leaving, some random women had to try and ruin it for us. Now, I know I shouldn’t let random, rude strangers affect my mood… but I’m only human. I did pretty good this time though, it was only irritating for a moment. We got up from the spot we were sitting in, I strapped the baby into his stroller, packed up our little picnic, and headed back toward the main road in the park. I was passing by one of the gazebos, where two middle-aged women had been sitting and watching us, when I heard this:

Lady 1: [loudly] Look at the baby! He’s so little! I miss when Sarah and Emily were that small.
Lady 2: [loudly] Huh, should be wearing a sweater or something though, right? Don’t you think? Hope he doesn’t catch a cold.
Lady 1: [loudly] Oh, no, that wouldn’t be good. She really should put a sweater or something on him…

I should point out that Li was wearing long pants, socks and shoes, and a long-sleeve shirt. He also had a thin blanket on his lap. Not to mention it was 76 freaking degrees outside, and really sunny. Hell, I was wearing a t-shirt and capri yoga pants, and was sweating in the sun. He’s also not a newborn, he’s 8 months old. He can regulate heat better than a newborn. Trust me, I live with him. He was fine. He wasn’t cold at all. Both of these women were wearing heavy sweater cardigans, which they clung onto as they spoke ill of my parenting. I don’t know what temperature they thought it was, but it definitely wasn’t cool enough for my furnace of a son to be wearing a coat of any sort.

This exact same thing happened when Li was around three or four months old, I believe it was back in April. We were walking home from the park, when a woman who was walking her dog approached us and scolded me. Sort of. It was around 68 degrees out at the time, and Li was dressed in layers, since he was still so small. He had a heavy blanket over him, fleece pants, thick socks, a long-sleeve shirt, and a heavy, fleece sweatshirt with the hood up. He was not wearing a hat, because he was so tiny, and we couldn’t find any that fit him without constantly falling over his face. But the sun was shining, and his hood was up. It was not freezing out. Honestly, I was actually worried that he would be too warm!

Lady: Oh, what a sweetheart! He’s so cute.
Me: [smiling] Thank you!
Lady: How old is he?
Me: Almost 4 months!
Lady: Oh. A bit cold out today, isn’t it?
Me: It’s not bad! We’re having a nice walk, we don’t get to go outside much.
Lady: [leaning down to talk to the baby directly] You should tell your mommy to put a hat on you! Yes, you should! Poor baby, you’re going to get an ear infection!
Me: [frowning] Oh. He’ll be fine. It’s not too cold, and we’re almost home…
Lady: [still talking to him] I always put my babies in hats in the spring, don’t want a sick baby. No, we do not!
Me: … Okay, well it was nice to meet you.
Lady: [looks at me finally] Bundle him up next time. Babies don’t like getting sick.

Then she walked away. I was stunned. I was pissed. I almost cried. And then I worried that my son was actually freezing to death in silence and that I was the worst mother ever.

Of course, I was not a terrible mother, and he was perfectly fine.

Not only should she have minded her own damn business, but the fact that she was addressing my baby, talking about me, instead of addressing me, was really… weird. Also, as I mentioned before, she was walking a dog, who was trying to jump up onto the stroller the ENTIRE time that she was harassing me about what my son was wearing. And she did nothing about it.

I came home and bitched about it to Kyle, who was just as annoyed with this random stranger as I was, and had a nice little rant about it on Twitter. I was really angry, haha. I’ve always been a bit self-conscious when it comes to my parenting, being a first-time mom and doing it all pretty much by myself, but I’ve gotten a lot more confident in my parenting abilities (and my insane Googling skills).

If I felt as insecure today as I did just four or five months ago, those rude old women would have gotten under my skin. But I didn’t let them. Because despite the hand I’ve been dealt in life, I do the best I can with what I have, and I’m an awesome mom.

The rude, old ladies of the world can suck it.

Thanks for reading!

Jan