Saturday, April 27, 2013

Remember, Remember!

Adding a child to your family changes the dynamics quite a bit. I thought the change from having one kid to having two was a bit of a shock. I thought I could handle anything after that. Ha!

Having added another cute little bundle to our family almost seven months ago has thrown me for another loop. It took me almost a year to get used to a new routine and to feel like I had my head above water and not fighting to stay afloat. I think it's going to be that way with this one as well, but now instead of having one child bouncing here and there and everywhere while I try to take care of the baby, I'll have two very active children running pell-mell every which way, while fighting about everything and trying to blame it all on the new baby. Kids are so funny in what they say.

After putting my boys to bed tonight, I sat and watched them sleep. It was a very busy and trying day, but it was also full of fun, laughs and potty training successes. Sometimes it's best to sit back and enjoy each child's unique disposition, his/her strengths and what makes him/her tick. I don't know how I used to live without each of my boy's smiling faces, amazing senses of humor (even at 7 months), and awe for the world and how it all works.

I got my moment to reflect on how each of my boys is special, and on how much I love and truly need each and every one. J, my oldest, is so stinkin' smart! He keeps me on my toes and makes sure I give him accurate information. (He spouts all my answers to his questions to anyone who will listen.) N, my monkey in the middle, is a bundle of good humor. He is an imp who loves to play games and sing along with any song. And he quotes movies at random times throughout the day. It's pretty fun having him around. A, our newest angel, is the kind of third child I'd wish on anyone. He has the sweetest, most calm disposition EVER. He only cries if he's hungry, tired and or poopy...or if his brothers have been too rough with him, of course. He's saved me in many ways, and I'll ever be in his debt.

Love your children. Give them hugs. Remember what makes you love them. Don't beat yourself up about your failings or short-comings. You are a mom. You're doing your best. You're giving it your all. YOU ARE AMAZING! Take time to remember that.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Don't Carpe Diem

I was at play group the other day, dreading the fact that in four hours I was going to be hauling a screaming little boy out of a pool after swimming lessons. All those moms were going to stare at me and pity me. All those well behaved kids were going to watch Seth and thank their lucky stars they didn't share their juice boxes with him. (Metaphorically speaking, of course.) Why can't he just be grateful I'm doing something fun with him? Why can't he just know I'm trying to be a good mom?! I didn't want to do those fun mom things if he was going to act like this. I was totally, completely and utterly mortified by my son's behavior. And it made me feel kinda guilty.

Then one of the other moms mentioned an article. I looked it up and decided all good moms need to hear this. So here it is. I got the original article here.

Every time I'm out with my kids -- this seems to happen:

An older woman stops us, puts her hand over her heart and says something like, "Oh, Enjoy every moment. This time goes by so fast."

Everywhere I go, someone is telling me to seize the moment, raise my awareness, be happy, enjoy every second, etc, etc, etc.

I know that this message is right and good. But, I have finally allowed myself to admit that it just doesn't work for me. It bugs me. This CARPE DIEM message makes me paranoid and panicky. Especially during this phase of my life - while I'm raising young kids. Being told, in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I'm not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I'm doing something wrong.
I think parenting young children (and old ones, I've heard) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they've heard there's magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb are impressive accomplishments. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it's hard, there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they literally cried most of the way up.
And so I think that if there were people stationed, say, every thirty feet along Mount Everest yelling to the climbers -- "ARE YOU ENJOYING YOURSELF!? IF NOT, YOU SHOULD BE! ONE DAY YOU'LL BE SORRY YOU DIDN'T!" TRUST US!! IT'LL BE OVER TOO SOON! CARPE DIEM!" -- those well-meaning, nostalgic cheerleaders might be physically thrown from the mountain.

Now. I'm not suggesting that the sweet old ladies who tell me to ENJOY MYSELF be thrown from a mountain. These are wonderful ladies. Monkees, probably. But last week, a woman approached me in the Target line and said the following: "Sugar, I hope you are enjoying this. I loved every single second of parenting my two girls. Every single moment. These days go by so fast."

At that particular moment, Amma had arranged one of the new bras I was buying on top of her sweater and was sucking a lollipop that she must have found on the ground. She also had three shop-lifted clip-on neon feathers stuck in her hair. She looked exactly like a contestant from Toddlers and Tiaras. I couldn't find Chase anywhere, and Tish was grabbing the pen on the credit card swiper thing WHILE the woman in front of me was trying to use it. And so I just looked at the woman, smiled and said, "Thank you. Yes. Me too. I am enjoying every single moment. Especially this one. Yes. Thank you."
That's not exactly what I wanted to say, though.

There was a famous writer who, when asked if he loved writing, replied, "No. but I love having written." What I wanted to say to this sweet woman was, "Are you sure? Are you sure you don't mean you love having parented?"

I love having written. And I love having parented. My favorite part of each day is when the kids are put to sleep (to bed) and Craig and I sink into the couch to watch some quality TV, like Celebrity Wife Swap, and congratulate each other on a job well done. Or a job done, at least.

Every time I write a post like this, I get emails suggesting that I'm being negative. I have received this particular message four or five times -- G, if you can't handle the three you have, why do you want a fourth?

That one always stings, and I don't think it's quite fair. Parenting is hard. Just like lots of important jobs are hard. Why is it that the second a mother admits that it's hard, people feel the need to suggest that maybe she's not doing it right? Or that she certainly shouldn't add more to her load. Maybe the fact that it's so hard means she IS doing it her own way...and she happens to be honest.

Craig is a software salesman. It's a hard job in this economy. And he comes home each day and talks a little bit about how hard it is. And I don't ever feel the need to suggest that he's not doing it right, or that he's negative for noticing that it's hard, or that maybe he shouldn't even consider taking on more responsibility. And I doubt anybody comes by his office to make sure he's ENJOYING HIMSELF. I doubt his boss peeks in his office and says: "This career goes by so fast...ARE YOU ENJOYING EVERY MOMENT IN THERE, CRAIG???? CARPE DIEM, CRAIG!"

My point is this. I used to worry that not only was I failing to do a good enough job at parenting, but that I wasn't enjoying it enough. Double failure. I felt guilty because I wasn't in parental ecstasy every hour of every day and I wasn't MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY MOMENT like the mamas in the parenting magazines seemed to be doing. I felt guilty because honestly, I was tired and cranky and ready for the day to be over quite often. And because I knew that one day, I'd wake up and the kids would be gone, and I'd be the old lady in the grocery store with my hand over my heart. Would I be able to say I enjoyed every moment? No.

But the fact remains that I will be that nostalgic lady. I just hope to be one with a clear memory. And here's what I hope to say to the younger mama gritting her teeth in line:

"It's helluva hard, isn't it? You're a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She's my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime." And hopefully, every once in a while, I'll add -- "Let me pick up that grocery bill for ya, sister. Go put those kids in the van and pull on up -- I'll have them bring your groceries out."

Anyway. Clearly, Carpe Diem doesn't work for me. I can't even carpe fifteen minutes in a row, so a whole diem is out of the question.

Here's what does work for me:

There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It's regular time, it's one minute at a time, it's staring down the clock till bedtime time, it's ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it's four screaming minutes in time out time, it's two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.
Then there's Kairos time. Kairos is God's time. It's time outside of time. It's metaphysical time. It's those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day. And I cherish them.

Like when I actually stop what I'm doing and really look at Tish. I notice how perfectly smooth and brownish her skin is. I notice the perfect curves of her teeny elf mouth and her asianish brown eyes, and I breathe in her soft Tishy smell. In these moments, I see that her mouth is moving but I can't hear her because all I can think is -- This is the first time I've really seen Tish all day, and my God -- she is so beautiful. Kairos.

Like when I'm stuck in chronos time in the grocery line and I'm haggard and annoyed and angry at the slow check-out clerk. And then I look at my cart and I'm transported out of chronos. And suddenly I notice the piles and piles of healthy food I'll feed my children to grow their bodies and minds and I remember that most of the world's mamas would kill for this opportunity. This chance to stand in a grocery line with enough money to pay. And I just stare at my cart. At the abundance. The bounty. Thank you, God. Kairos.

Or when I curl up in my cozy bed with Theo asleep at my feet and Craig asleep by my side and I listen to them both breathing. And for a moment, I think- how did a girl like me get so lucky? To go to bed each night surrounded by this breath, this love, this peace, this warmth? Kairos.

These kairos moments leave as fast as they come- but I mark them. I say the word kairos in my head each time I leave chronos. And at the end of the day, I don't remember exactly what my kairos moments were, but I remember I had them. And that makes the pain of the daily parenting climb worth it.

If I had a couple Kairos moments during the day, I call it a success.

Carpe a couple of Kairoses a day.

Good enough for me.


Amen, sister. Amen.

Thanks Bethany for telling me about this article. It's probably just changed the way I view myself as a mother.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sheltering Children

Having watched a few friends and some family (yes, even me) go through some very difficult times in their marriage that could have or did result in divorce or separation, I find myself wondering at the best ways you all know of to shelter your children from potential emotional damage that arise from such situations.

Do you "ignore" the situation and act as normal as possible? Kids usually see through a lot of "acts" that parents put on, so I don't think that would work very well. But kids are so vulnerable while very young (like 3 years old).

So, dear, wise sister-mothers, how do you shelter your kids from potential emotional damage?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

5 Words Babies Say

My little sister sent this link to me. I thought, "Wow! That's amazing! Where was this information when my boys were that small?!"

So for those of you with infants from 0-3 months, here you go!

Friday, July 1, 2011

When to Say When?

I'm having a dilemma...again. :) This last week I've been away at a state training for teachers. I had to leave my boys in the care of my amazingly wonderful mom (who did a great job of caring for them).

All week I missed my babies and just wanted to be home. Because I'm nursing, I brought along my trusty pump and used it every chance I got. I wanted to make sure my milk didn't run out, which it seems to be heading that way anyway.

So, last night when I got home, I took N in to nurse him, cause I was sure ready to relieve some pressure. He wouldn't nurse. He fought it and cried. He would only take a bottle. Part of me doesn't really know how to feel at being trumped by a bottle. This morning, he still prefers the bottle over me.

N is 6 1/2 months old, which is how old J was when my milk ran out and we had to feed him other things instead of my milk. My milk is starting to look blue (a sign that your milk is drying up/going away/biting the dust/etc.) and I've been wondering how long it'll last this time.

Bottom line of my dilemma: Do I stop nursing and feed him the breast milk that I have frozen? Do I try to "force" him to nurse? Am I a bad mom for even considering stopping?

Friday, June 24, 2011

A question

Hello fellow mommies.

I have a quick question to ask you all:

My daughter (26 months) has been throwing up quite a bit, lately.  And she's not sick.  I have noticed that she tends to throw up if she hasn't pooped the day before (she's usually VERY regular, but has her 'off' days).  It seems to me that her tummy can either handle pushing out the poop or throwing up the food she recently ate.  Poor little thing, today she started to cry, told me, "I don't want to throw up!"  then threw up on the couch.  She feels better afterwards, eats just fine...and usually poops within the next 3 hours or so.

I guess my question is, is this something I should be concerned enough about to consult a GI or her pediatrician (we happen to have a fabulous pediatric GI that my son goes to....)?

Thanks for any help or advice!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Downs of Pregnancy.....

Everyone talks about the glow, the thicker shinier hair and the smell something a mile away.....but they never really get into the nitty-gritty...the downs of pregnancy. The achy back, the swelling ankles, the constant peeing! but what I would like to talk about today is the dreaded morning sickness....from the constant motion sickness to the hug the toilet for four hours feelings. I didn't have this with my last one, but this one killed me and frankly is still giving me issues.

So I'm looking for remedies, from old family 'secrets' to new age things you read in an article last week....lay it on me. Help me and my fellow mothers out with this horrid morning (all day) sickness!!

Also anyone have funny/unusual dizziness that they also had to deal with and if so what did you do to help you out with those things as well!

Thanks so much. I can't wait to hear from everyone!

ps. please don't think I don't absolutely love being pregnant! I do, I just want to be able to get past the morning sickness. ;)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Making the change

There are a lot of milestones in a child's life. Rolling over, sleeping through the night, taking their first steps, saying their first word, potting training, and so on.

The one I want advice on today is: moving to a toddler bed.

When did you move your child into a big boy/big girl bed? Were they still able to take naps after they weren't caged anymore? How was the transition to sleeping in a bed? Any advice or special tricks that worked for you?

S is coming up on his 2nd birthday, so we want to start moving that way soon. I just want to be very prepared! :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Play groups

Now that summer is (almost) here, a lot of us are finding our way to the park to outside to enjoy the sun. In my little neighborhood, a few of us like to take our kids and walk to the park. We do a few laps around the park, then we let the kids play for a while. That's what we do for social interaction and exercise.

Some moms have successful play groups and play dates. I'd like to know all about those.

Do you have them scheduled weekly? Do you call and set them up whenever you want to play? Do you have snacks and games or just let the kids play? Do you rotate houses?

Come on. Give me the goods.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Binkies - When do you take them away?

I've never had to deal with this issue before. J never took a binky...that is until he saw N sucking like mad on one. Then we'd find him trying to sneak the binkies from N, usually when J was having a bad or extremely emotional day. He knows he doesn't need one.

But N is most definitely a BINKY BABY! And it's not just any binky that he wants. It's this one:

My sister got him one of these babies. It's called a Wubbanub. They have several other kinds of them with various colors of binkies attached.

N cannot live without this monkey binky. An example of this happened just today. He was crying and acting hungry, so I tried to nurse him. He latched on for a second, then started wailing at maximum volume. I put in his binky and let him hug the monkey and he quieted right down and fell asleep. I'm being passed up for a monkey!

Anyway, because he's so attached to this monkey binky, I'm a little worried about what will happen when we "get" to take it away and be done with the whole binky thing.

When do you usually take away a binky? (I've heard of some experts who say to take it away at 6 months or so, so they don't have cognitive memories of having it.) How have you done it so you have success (and little whining/crying/fighting)?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Baby Food

Baby food is insanely expensive! We bought all of the baby food we fed to J when he was eating the stuff. With N, I've decided to take a different approach. I'm trying my hand at making the food.

I had my reservations about doing this, because I thought it'd be hard to do, time consuming and messy. My sister bought a Baby Bullet, and it came with an extra one, so I split the cost with her and now we both have a Baby Bullet set. Way cute and way easy to use.

It came with a recipe book that not only has recipes in it, but it's organized by what foods you should start during what months, etc. I LOVE it! It's made baby food making really easy.

But I have to say that if I'd thought about it, I could have gotten away with doing the same thing in my regular blender. It just wouldn't have the nifty serving/refrigerating cups, the freezer cups and the flat blade...maybe your blenders came with one of those, but mine doesn't have one, so I'm assuming they don't.

What have I noticed about making my own baby food? I know exactly what goes into my baby's mouth. I can make and store a week's worth of food in less than 30 minutes. It costs WAY less than store bought baby food. It tastes better than the nasty stuff you buy. And I think it's just easier.

How do I make it?

Well, with soft things, like avocados, you just blend one up with 1/4 cup of water (more or less if you want it runnier or thicker) and there you have baby avocado food.

With harder things, like sweet potatoes, you boil, microwave or bake them, however you'd like to cook them, then you put them in the blender with about 1/4 cup of water. Very, very easy.

These things keep in the fridge for about 3 days, and in the freezer for about 3 weeks as per the instructions in the Baby Bullet cookbook. An easy way to freeze them is to put the puree into an ice cube tray. Then, when it's frozen, you take them out of the tray and put them into a freezer safe bag, label it and then just toss it back into the freezer. Simple as that. Depending on the size of your cubes, you'll usually have 1-1 1/2 of those as a serving size.

You can even make your own rice, oatmeal, millet cereal.

For cereals, grind 1/2 cup of brown rice, oatmeal or millet into a fine powder. Put it in a pot with 4 cups of water; cover until it boils. Turn down the heat to low and cook with the cover on for 20 minutes. Test the consistency of the cereal. If you want it thinner, add more water. This mixes well with fruit purees and, later on, with chicken or beef dinners.

I've tried both homemade foods and store bought foods with N. He definitely prefers the homemade.

For more recipes, go here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Breastfeeding Whatnots and Wherefores

Most people (at least most that I know) aren't all that comfortable talking about their boobs, so it comes as no surprise that people don't like talking about what comes out of their boobs either. I'm going to be fairly candid in this post. Please don't take offense or anything like that. I'm just sharing what would have been nice to know before some of this happened.

When I had J (almost 3 years ago now) I had no idea what to do to get the little guy to breastfeed. I mean, I'd seen my sisters with their numerous kids feeding their babies and had even talked with them (much more than I was comfortable with) about stuff that happens to your boobs. But until you go through the process for yourself and your baby, it's still something akin to rocket science.

I managed to keep the little guy alive, thank goodness, and to feel fairly comfortable with my breastfeeding abilities. He was a great nurser and just loved to eat.

N, on the other hand, likes to - shall we say - "play" with his food. He is so very observant of the world around him, and likes to look EVERYWHERE. He also hates to stop eating or let go as he does so. Who knew a boob could stretch in so many different ways? Not me! I know, I know. Cover him with a nursing corner/blanket and sit in a dark quiet room. But that's not always readily available when you have multiple children.

Another thing I've learned this time around (here's another candid moment) is that ducts get clogged and that stuff builds up in the nipple at times. I had clogged ducts with J, and so I knew basically how to ease the pain and help them unclog. Hot showers and the like. But I'd never, NEVER seen or heard of stuff building up in the nipple.

Things got so painful that it would feel like knives stabbing me whenever N would eat off that side, tears streaking down my face and all that good stuff. I finally had enough of it and squeezed (yes it was extremely painful) until I got the stuff out. Then, as per one of my sisters' advice, I let N latch on to that side with his tongue on the side of the nipple where the stuff had been. Apparently the suction is greater on the tongue side of a baby's mouth.

I share this, not so you'll gross out, but so that if you ever experience something like that, you'll know you're not a freak (I'm assuming that I'm not one) and that you'll know that there is a remedy for it, painful though it may be.

I'm sure there are other "gems" of info on the subject that could be shared, but that's all I'll put you through at the moment.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Help needed for Bath Time Woes

I recieved this plea for help quite a while ago, but I did not get it until recently. My deepest apologies Annie!

Here is her dilemma:

I have a 2 year old who loves taking baths...up until we wash her hair! We have tried every trick in the book to make this easier: having her lay back with her head tilited back, having a cloth over her eyes, she refuses to close her eyes! It is a battle to the death (almost) each time She SCREAMS super loud, yelling things like "STOP! IT HURTS!" I'm expecting the neighbors to call CPS any second. We try and sooth her, tell her it's just water! We wipe her eyes constantly, we use tear free shampoo...give her rewards...

As her mom and the main bather to her I'm pretty much at wits end with the SCREECHING and death cries! Do any of you moms have some advice on how to make hair washing less painful for both of us?!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Developing Imagination

My almost 3 year old (can he really be that old already?) has quite the imagination. It makes me laugh out loud quite often. Like it did today when he picked up a plastic Easter egg, opened it, held it up to his chest and said, "Look, Mommy! I got boobs!" Yes, he's my son. No, he didn't get that from me. :)

Imagination is something I think a lot of kids today are without because they sit in front of the TV or video games and are endlessly entertained, leaving imagination unneeded.

Reading is a great solution to that. My sis-in-law uses making up stories with her kids as an imagination development tool. I love both of those things.

What are some things you have done/do/plan to do to promote the use of imagination in your children?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sleepless in Nevada

This is my cry for help!

Our 4 year old daughter has never slept through the night. Sure, there's been small periods of time (mostly when she was tiny) that she would sleep great. But the last, oh, year, has been a nightmare. She will fight us to go to bed. Screaming, crying, yelling, etc. She usually falls asleep, but only after making a hundred demands. ("I want COLDER water! With ICE in it!") We try not to give in to these demands...but we have an almost 2 year old who is already asleep at this point. Daughter #2 is the most incredible little sleeper. She has slept through the night since she was brand new...

Anyway, big sister finally falls asleep and just a few short hours later, she is in our room crying and making demands again. She was up from 12-1 last night. My husband works at 5 in the morning, so fun for him. Does anyone have any advice? We have tried literally everything we can think of. She has a sleeping bag on our floor because I won't let her sleep in our bed anymore. I can only imagine what it will be like when she starts preschool with no sleep at night...:(

Thank you!

Sleepless in Nevada