Posts Tagged ‘children’

It’s Pregnancy Season And I’m Not Pregnant

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

I’m at Target to pick up diapers and I’m pretty sure every other woman in the store is pregnant. I pass them everywhere: in the grocery aisle, in the baby clothes, wandering home decor. It’s 87 degrees with 95% humidity outside and all the pregnant women are wearing tank tops and pushing toddlers in their carts stocked with goldfish crackers and beach buckets and ice cream. To me, they are all glowing and adorable and lucky to have so much to look forward to. But I know they probably feel enormous and uncomfortable, cursing themselves for a summer pregnancy, crossing their fingers that their toddler will take a nap later (or at least eat their goldfish for lunch while zoned out in front of Disney Jr so mama can lie on the couch under a fan).

My last baby is almost a year old now. I am far enough removed from being a pregnant woman at Target that I silently think “enjoy those moments” but still close enough that I know better than to say it out loud. A woman is not going to suddenly realize being hot and swollen and sore and tired and nauseous are all such blessings just because a stranger says “it goes so fast” or “I miss those days”. I am close enough to being a pregnant woman at Target that I know that is not entirely true. I do not miss those days. I do not miss being hot and swollen and sore and tired and nauseous and wondering how, exactly, I was ever going to manage a newborn when I couldn’t manage to put on pants every day. Not only do I not want to a pregnant woman at Target, don’t actually want to be pregnant at all.

And I’m not. I will most likely never be pregnant again. (I would say NEVER with 100% certainty but I know better than to tempt fate like that.)

What I do miss is being in that season of life. It doesn’t matter if those pregnant women at Target are technically older or younger than I am in years. They’re still at the stage where they will have a newborn. That’s a stage before the one I am in. New life is in their future, the moment when they meet a new little human they created. I don’t long to be pregnant again, but I do feel nostalgic for that particular flavor of joy. It’s not baby fever – I am thoroughly immunized against that particular strain by four children who all insisted on growing up – but it’s like a bruise. You don’t really notice it until you bump into it by accident, in the checkout at Target, and then it’s a dull ache that says “you’re not in this club anymore”.

I suspect these feelings are just biology, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling them. So this is me acknowledging it, writing it down in words, trying to explain it to you so I can explain it to me. Instead of being sad, I will let myself drift further towards the stage of life where I become the person who says “Oh it goes by so fast, treasure these moments” to pregnant women in Target. I will recount stories about my newborns in absolutes: “Oh my baby was such a good sleeper” “oh my baby loved being swaddled “oh my baby hated tummy time”. I will forget how much being pregnant sucks and only think of it fondly. And when gray-haired grandmas at Target look at my four not-babies and say “Enjoy these moments, it goes so fast”, I will smile and nod and say “It sure does.”

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Just A Mommy

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015
caroline dressed as a mommy-8

Mommy uniform: Messy bun, cardi, statement necklace, leggings, boots, phone in her purse, camera and of course, her Baby Jesus.

 

A few weeks ago, my daughter had a career day at school. When I asked her what she wanted to be, I was only half listening, since in my head I was trying to figure out what dress up we could repurpose as “Doctor” or “President” or “Nobel Peace Prize Winner”.

“A MOMMY!” she shouted.

I have been a stay-at-home-mom for 6 years now. I wipe tushies and noses and hands. I do laundry, then some more laundry, then do all the laundry again. I take kids to ballet and swim and doctor’s appointments and baby signs and birthday parties. I cut coupons and make lists and menu plans and 12 trips to the grocery store and then still end up serving tacos and spaghetti two nights a week.

I wear a lot of yoga pants.

“Oh,” I said. “A mommy,” I said. “But wouldn’t you like to be something else AND a mommy?? You don’t have to be JUST a mommy.”

I flinched when I said it. The words floated out of my mouth and hung right in front of my face where I thought about how it was a stupid thing to say. I know better.

Being a mom isn’t just keeping children alive – although some days that is all I seem to manage. We can’t just feed and clothe them, we have to raise them up and impart everything we know into their empty heads. We are turning small squishy lumps of need into tiny humans who then turn into actual real humans and grow up to be, well, everything. We teach patience because one day they’ll need it while discovering the gene that cures cancer. We teach kindness because one day they might build hospitals for villages in need. We teach the alphabet so they can write the great American novel. We clean up a zillion finger paint messes so they can become great artists. Someone right now is wiping the butt of a future president.

I want Caroline to know that she has the option to be whatever she wants when she grows up, especially right now when she’s capable of dreaming about future careers without worrying about their practicality. I remember telling my mother I was going to be a ballerina marine biologist and her saying “That is a great idea”. I want her to find a passion and explore it and love it and then change her mind. I want her to change her mind a million and one times before she actually finds a career. I want her to reach for the stars…or the bottom of the sea…or the top of a mountain…or wherever it is that super successful and happy people reach. Because as cliche as it sounds, I only want her to be happy.

I don’t want anyone to ever tell my daughter she HAS to be a mother or that she can ONLY be a mother, but if she wants to be a mother – even if she wants to be JUST a mommy – then I would be very, very proud of her.

When she came home from career day, I asked her what her friends dressed up as. “Logan was a motorcycle guy!” she explained, “And all the girls were princesses!”

So maybe Mommy is a bold choice for a 4 year old after all.

And hey, I must make being a mommy look like a lot of fun if it’s something she’s looking forward to. Although it might just be because she wants to be the boss.

caroline dressed as a mommy

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A Brief List Of Things I Have Yelled At My Children Reccently

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

1. Stop feeding your brother like he’s a dog!

2. Please stop shouting “Weasel-town! Wesselton! Weasel-town! Wesselton!”

3. Caroline, stop crying about your dinosaurs being dead. They are plastic, they cannot be dead!

4. NO you cannot use the potty in the basement because there IS NO potty in the basement!

5. Neither of you is a horse!

6. Evan, YOU are upside down! Stop telling your sister she is upside down, you’re making her cry!

7. Falling down is GRAVITY’s fault, not your sister’s!

8. No you cannot look in the toilet leave it alone!

9. Don’t eat candy you found under the couch!

10. No, you can’t eat candy you found under the couch EITHER!

Bonus thing I yelled as I was about I hit publish: Guys, I’m serious! I don’t want your boogers on me!

 

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My Children Are Making You Hate Children

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Caroline is two and a half, Evan is four and a quarter and I am going absolutely bananas. B A N A N A S.

This morning at the aquarium Evan thought it would be fun to get into a pretend-slap-fight with a little girl trying to look at the turtles. I think it maybe started as hand-holding but quickly turned into him acting like a rabid raccoon trying to catch a fish. He flailed his hands around and screeched and basically scared the poor child to death in the 4.6 seconds it took me to lunge across the aisle and grab him bodily.

“NO!” I said. “WE DO NOT HIT.” I said. “APOLOGIZE RIGHT NOW.” I said. “I’m so, so sorry,” I said to the girl’s grandmother, who looked like she might start slapping me. “I’m so, so sorry,” I said to the little girl, who was crying big scared tears. “YOU ARE IN TIME OUT.” I said to Evan, who put his hand on his hip and said “Fine. I want a marshmallow.”

I think I blacked out. I’m allergic to sass and that was just too much. Kids need a warning like at the end of a prescription drug commercial: Children may cause blurred vision, dizziness, fits of rage, a high screechy voice, hearing loss, the inability to speak coherent sentences, hallucinations, unconsciousness and wishing for a quick death.

Right now, my children are the reason so many people hate children. They are incredibly, ear-splittingly loud and my only recourse has been to becoming slightly deaf. I can be standing right next to them while they shout “MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MY BUG BITE ITCHES SO I ITCHED IT AND NOW I AM BLEEDING MY BLOOD MOMMY LOOK” and I just carry on my conversation slightly louder. Our respective volumes with raise proportionately until everyone within a 2 mile radius is checking themselves for exposed wounds to avoid contamination and I am shouting to my friend that Yes, my vacation was lovely but it would have been slightly more so without my children DO YOU THINK IT’S TOO EARLY FOR A DRINK? We’re awful.

When we are in public restrooms, Evan usually narrates everything going on in our stall while Caroline tries to climb under the partitions to join other bathroom visitors to discuss why they are there. I am the one hissing “We. Do. Not. Need. To. Talk. About. Your. Poop. Or. My. Poop. Or. Any. Poop. CAROLINE NOOOOOOO!” They like to check our the reverb in new bathrooms by shouting “ECHO ECHO ECHO” as loudly as possible. We’re horrible.

At the store, Caroline hates the shopping cart but also walking and also being carried. She is very disappointed levitation or teleportaion are not currently options and will let everyone know about her displeasure. If she sees someone she knows, she will insist on riding in THEIR shopping cart because it is blue or red or green or wet or dry or better for some other reason. When I tell her they are leaving and she needs to ride in any of the 4 available seats in my cart she will cry like I am ripping out her toenails while hitting me in the face (true, actual story that happened Tuesday). We’re the worst.

My children run away. They shout. They throw tantrums. They bump into people in public. They touch strangers. They act like I am kidnapping them. They refuse all my requests. They spill things. They insist on opening food in the grocery store before I pay for it and I give in because even though I think people who do that are on par with people who steal all the change from Children’s Charity jars or intentionally take up two parking spaces at the mall it is better to just give in than endure the disasters that refusal will bring. I AM SOMEONE I HATE.

A few short months ago I was gushing about how adorable and fun my kids were together and as siblings, and now I am one car ride away from dropping them off at the firehouse. It’s all a phase. One day I’ll look back on this age fondly. This too shall pass. I repeat all that to myself constantly, muttering like a crazy person to keep from becoming an actual crazy person. I love my children dearly because they are my children, but oh my God are there awful right now.

I apologize to everyone without children for our very presence in your general vicinity and to everyone with children for all the dirty looks the childless give you just for breathing the same air they are. That’s my bad. This too shall pass.

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An Explanation For My Children

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Dear Evan and Caroline and Future Hypothetical Offspring,

Congratulations! You have learned to read and also know about the internet! Those are two of the most important things in life, so excuse me while I pat myself on the back for a minute. I am not a complete failure as a mother! Speaking of which, I’d like to explain to you why you are here, on the website, looking at words and pictures about yourself that you did not give me permission to post, which some might say DOES make me a failure as a mother so I feel like maybe I should elaborate.

This is my blog, a web log if you will, an internet journal of your lives from the moment I knew you were coming until (enter current date and time here). I have shared many things about our lives here for anyone with an internet connection to read. I’ve told the stories of your births, my fears about motherhood, your milestones and birthdays, your favorite things, special days, normal days, good days, bad days and everything in between. Through those stories, I’ve met and connected with a community of women who have become dear friends. You have met some of them already, and probably many more by the time you read this, and even more who love you even though you have never met. I am so happy to share our lives in a way that has made them more joyful.

Some people think this is a very poor choice on my part, that I show a lack of discretion, intelligence and general self-awareness by making our lives public. I absolutely understand their point of view. There are definitely periods of my life – most of 1996 for example – I wouldn’t be thrilled to see on the internet.  When my dad threatened to show my prom date my baby bath time photos I died dead of embarrassment right there in the living room and never even got to GO to prom. Ok, that’s a lie, but I sure wished the earth would swallow me up before Dad got out the pictures. I imagine you feel like this now, seeing dozens of photos of yourself, many of which you probably think are embarrassing.

But now, as a grown up – and I assure you I will do everything in my power to make sure you are a grown-up some day – I cherish every photo, video, scrapbook, postcard, and slide of my own childhood. I check the back of faded prints to see if they are labeled with names and dates and places so I can fit them into my consciousness. I have a terrible memory, so tangible evidence of things I vaguely recall are precious puzzle pieces. I hope this blog can provide you with all that a more. You’ll have access to hundreds of different days in an instant, with places and exact dates and the names of your friends all recorded. You will have details about your childhood I have long forgotten. Someday, if you have kids of your own, you will have a totally comprehensive guidebook explaining everything you need to know about raising them to be perfect, brilliant, successful humans! Because that’s what I did! Or, depending on how you think you turned out, a very serious warning. Either way, I’m being servicey!

More selfishly, I’ve written things about myself. You’ll probably find posts detailing what we ate for dinner and my knitting projects boring now, but someday I hope you’ll read them, eager to know more about the person your mom was when she wasn’t just your mom. It’s a remarkable thing, realizing your parents and grandparents and great-grandparents had lives before you came into the world. Maybe you’ll learn where you got a love for the ocean or why yellow always makes you feel so happy or that your parents were once cool enough to drive a Mustang convertible instead of a minivan.

All that being said, if you decide you are uncomfortable with this – any of this – I will take it down. I’m sure there are posts where I shared more than I should have, told stories that belonged in a baby book instead of a website and forgot you deserve my respect as well as my love. It is just so tempting to shout from the modern-day rooftops that my kids are the cutest and the best and the smartest and the loudest and the most frustrating and the most adored ever. Even though it might be hard for you to believe, sometimes parents make mistakes too, and I apologize if you think this blog is one of mine. Although I’m assuming by now kids get Facebook pages the day they are born and people all wear cameras that record and broadcast their entire life online, Truman Show-style, so my little baby blog is barely a drop in the bucket of your Googleable life. Just please remember the internet is a public place – and I will try to do the same.

I love you,

Mommy

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