Posts Tagged ‘motherhood’

Don’t Forget

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Evan is 5 years and 3 months old.

He refuses to let me cut his hair, even though it is getting long and shaggy and gets stuck in his goggles when he tries to swim. Swimming is the only sport or activity he wants to be signed up for, although he said in the fall he’d like to try football.

Evan loves cereal more than any other food. He would rather eat cereal than ice cream or candy or soda or anything else. Sometimes it’s understandable (who doesn’t love Lucky Charms?) but sometimes it’s something really random, like Honey Bunches of Oats. This week it was Cinnamon Toast Crunch, which he had never actually eaten before but INSISTED I buy at the grocery store. He ate 4 bowls between noon and bedtime.

He is a really good helper and will try to do anything you ask, even if he’s not physically capable of doing it. But he is willing to TRY and then ask for help if he needs it. It’s such an amazing grown up skill that even a lot of real grown ups struggle with.

If you ask him to describe himself, he’ll say he’s a ginger and he’s brave.

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Caroline is 3 years and 7 months old.

She thinks all “3″s and “C”s belong to her personally, so when she sees them on signs or in stores she wants to take them home.

All of her toys have basically the same name. Her toy horse is called Horse. Her zebra is named Zebra-Zeeb. A stuffed duck is named Ducky Duck Duck. The only exceptions are her two baby dolls, who are named Baby Memba and Baby Jesus. Obviously.

Caroline calls herself a “curly girl” because people are always commenting on her beautiful hair. Then she finger-twirls her curls because she’s in an invisible contest for the cutest child ever.

Today she told me that “duplicate” is when there is more than one of you, like when you look in the mirror.

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Both children have no fear or strangers or people. They will ask to be friends with anyone and get sad when their “new friends” (aka the girl they met in the waiting room, the bagger at the grocery store, a random guy who held the door at the mall) leave.

They ate 3/4 of a watermelon today. A real full size watermelon.

They are best friends. They often try to kill each other. I hope nothing changes.

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I Am A Better Parent When No One Is Watching

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Caroline doesn’t know how to walk. She skips or runs or jumps or hops or flings herself forward in space with no concern for where she will land. Right now she mostly gallops, which often ends in tripping over her own feet while shouting “Mommy I’m galloping like a horse!”

Yesterday on the way to the car for school she galloped herself right onto her face, slamming into our brick walkway hard enough that she reacted with stunned silence instead of immediate tears. I reacted exactly the way you are supposed to, calmly and tenderly, scooping her up to quickly assess the damage without scaring her or focusing on her pain. I collected the things she had dropped and got her into her car seat before I grabbed my well-stocked first aid kit from my purse. I told her I was going to clean off her knee (which luckily was the only injury bad enough to need attention) and wiped it with an antibacterial wipe without ever mentioning that “it might sting a little”. Since I didn’t TELL her it might hurt, she didn’t even notice. I let her pick a bandage (big or little?) and help me unwrap it and stick it over the scrape. Then I suggested maybe her baby doll had gotten a scrape too, so we put a band-aid on Baby’s knee.

The whole thing took maybe 90 extra seconds and no one cried. When we got to preschool, she flung herself out of the car and galloped inside, having completely forgotten her booboo. I looked around my empty car and thought “Man, I wish someone had been recording that. I am an AWESOME parent right now.”

After school we had doctor’s appointments. Two for me – non-stress test and ultrasound – and Evan’s 5 year well-child visit. Both kids were fine through my visits (due 1% to my stern talking-to about how they needed to be quiet and calm and due 99% to the fact that I brought both iPads and the hospital has public wifi) but they were D O N E by the time we got to Evan’s check-up.

When the nurse asked Evan to take off his clothes and put on the paper gown he stomped his foot and said “I DON’T WANT TO”. I bent down to his level and simultaneously bribed and threatened him: “If you can be a good listener during your check-up we will go get ice cream AND cheeseburgers. If you are naughty you will go home and sit in your room with NO iPad.” He glared at me with his arms crossed while the nurse waiting and I wondered what good parents do in this situation.

It went down hill from there.

I lied about his finger poke, saying it didn’t hurt at all (it does and I used to freak out even more than he did when I was little). When he flailed and screamed I held him down and said “KNOCK IT OFF YOU ARE FINE!” instead of being calm and understanding. I did a lot of clenched-teeth hiss-whispering after the nurse left, but none of it worked. When the doctor came in he wouldn’t cooperate, wouldn’t hold still, wouldn’t be quiet. I alternated between standing back and helplessly doing nothing and getting right in his face to threaten/bribe as he cringed.

The whole time I was acutely aware of how I looked, how I came across as a mother, what the whole office staff was thinking about me. What they said when they left the room or after I had dragged the kids out to the car. I am sure none of it was good.

I think it’s that self-conscious awareness that makes me a better mother when I am alone. It’s the opposite of the stereotypical dysfunctional family – we appear to be a mess in public but at home, behind closed doors, I am calm and understanding and loving.

(Don’t get me wrong, we are a yell-y kind of family. There is often yelling. especially when my children have occasional bouts of deafness after being asked to pick up the Legos or go put on their jammies or to PLEASE JUST STOP TOUCHING EACH OTHER.)

But without the scrutiny of strangers to judge my behavior (or more accurately, my children’s behavior) I am more confident in my parenting. When I lose my temper or get to the end of my rope I can regroup and reassess without anyone watching. Of course, it also means I can just IGNORE them when they are horrible, instead of dealing with it. But that also gives me more time to think about what I am doing, instead of reacting with something, ANYTHING to just make them stop.

I’m about ready to move to that commune my friends and I joke about, where we raise goats and co-parent everyone’s kids and no one judges you if your 3 year old throws herself on the ground screaming because you wouldn’t let her bring SEVEN different stuffed animals/dolls to the store. Again.

Although even commune-living would require trips to Target, so I don’t think parenting entirely unjudged is ever possible. I can only dream.

 

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Baby #3 – 30 Week Update

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

I am sitting on the couch eating the last of the giant marshmallows I bought “for s’mores”…even though I didn’t bother to buy chocolate or graham crackers. Today was my 30 week appointment for this pregnancy and – pardon my french – but shit is about to get real.

I was at Mom 2.0 Summit last weekend. It was really, really fun. Because you probably don’t blog and probably weren’t there I am not going to write a super long, super inspirational post about everything I learned and name drop all the fancy people I met.

Although excuse me if I freak out just ONE more time over my photo with Jessica Shyba. Even my mom watches The Today Show and probably knows about Jessica and her adorable kid-dog-sleeping pictures

Besides eating way too much and drinking nowhere near enough water and standing and walking and DANCING like a crazy person and only getting 3 hours of sleep on Saturday night, it also took a couple of long flights to Atlanta and back. After E picked me up on Sunday afternoon I was so swollen and sore I briefly considered calling the OB just to make sure I hadn’t somehow given myself pre-eclampsia.

Instead I drank a TON of water (and some Diet Coke because caffeine is a diuretic and that makes it legit) and lay on my left side and took a nap. By Monday morning I was only half as swollen and by Tuesday I could wear my shoes again. We even went for a family walk and I didn’t think I was going to die on the way home.

But today was that OB appointment and they broke some news: despite the fact that my sugars are normal (no gestational diabetes to see here folks!) and my blood pressure is still excellent and I’ve had no signs of labor and both my previous pregnancies went to at least 39 weeks and my water has never broken on its own…they Have Concerns. Concerns that mean I am going to be at the hospital a lot from now on.

Don’t get me wrong, I am VERY VERY glad my doctor is on top of things. I am glad the midwives at the practice reassured me everything looks fine. I am glad no one is freaking out and we are “just being cautious”. But I’m also not looking forward to bi-weekly non-stress tests or weekly ultrasounds to watch my fluid levels.

I’ve also lost the ability to totally block out the fact that a) I’m having a baby soonish and b) there’s always a chance something IS wrong and they just haven’t seen it on the scans or tests. The phrase “as long as it’s healthy” has never felt so much like a threat instead of just something people say because it’s something people say.

There’s obviously nothing I can do about it now. I’m in third-trimester limbo until either something happens on its own or we decide the baby would be safer out than in.

To be clear, as of right now, there is NO REASON to think the baby isn’t perfect. Well, no reason besides the unexplained high fluid levels that makes it hard for the nurse to keep the baby on the monitor for my NST and makes me look and feel ENORMOUS. But as far as anyone can tell with the baby on the inside, we’re still good.

I’d be more annoyed with the whole thing if there wasn’t any reason at all for the monitoring. But my doctor explained that in some cases – very rare cases – so rare he has never seen one in person – high fluid levels can compress the umbilical cord so baby doesn’t get enough oxygen. That is enough of a reason for me to keep my eye-rolling down to a “OK, I guess I can bring the kids and the iPad in twice a week for checks” instead of elevating it to “UGH. WHY DO I HAVE TO BE HERE???” There’s also the chance that it’s something in baby’s digestive tract or kidneys that isn’t working correctly. Or that it’s a facial or mouth deformity that can’t be detected via ultrasound.

But we DON’T KNOW, so thinking about it – or Googling it – is pointless. I say that to myself at least 20 times a minute while I’m on the internet. So basically 24,000 times a day.

I don’t want to be the person who freaks out over a healthy pregnancy, a third baby when many people struggle to have even one, someone who is ungrateful and annoying and everyone dreads running into. But I also miss my first pregnancy, when everything felt new and exciting and was so, so, SO very average and I had no idea how fragile pregnancy could be or how many things could go wrong. What To Expect might be terrifying for first time moms but it’s got NOTHING on almost 6 years of the internet.

So for approximately 10 more weeks I am going to live at the hospital being assured that no one really knows anything but they’re trying.

I will spend about 50% of that time pretending I’m not even pregnant so why would I need to buy a crib and the other 50% staring at cribs on the internet to find the perfect one for the nursery we haven’t started yet.

And also 100% of that time being punched in the lungs and/or cervix by a baby who has made so much amniotic fluid I basically have an olympic-sized swimming pool inside me.

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Five Is Not My Favorite

Thursday, May 1st, 2014
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His hair looks lopsided because his hair is lopsided. He trimmed it himself.

Someone at Evan’s school taught him a good way to annoy people is to repeat everything they say. So now he can take anyone in the house from calm to BLIND MURDEROUS RAGE in approximately 6 sentences.

Me: Evan can you please put your shoes on?
Evan: Evan can you please put your shoes on?
Me: Ha ha very funny. Knock it off.
Evan: Ha ha very funny knock it off.
Me: STOP DOING THAT RIGHT NOW.
Evan: Stop doing that right now.
Me: I SWEAR TO GOD I WILL THROW EVERY ONE OF YOUR TOYS IN THE TRASH AND YOU WON’T EVEN SEE AN IPAD FOR A MONTH IF YOU DO THAT EVEN ONE MORE TIME YOUNG MAN.
Evan: I…ok Mommy!
*Skips off oblivious to how close he was to being left at a the fire house*

At least once a week when his bus driver pulls up she has The Look on her face and I mentally add $5 to her end-of-the-year Dunkin Donut gift card. This week he was mad he had to sit next to someone and spent the whole ride home trying to push him out of the seat. They were buckled together, which made the pushing useless, but lead to a fair amount of screaming. “Pre-k bus driver” might be the worst job in the world, but being the parent who is constantly apologizing for their kid’s horrible behavior sucks too.

The other day I asked Evan if he wanted a turkey sandwich for lunch. He said “No thank you”. I made one for Caroline and put everything away. Less than 5 minutes later he was practically climbing the walls, wailing about how he would DIE if he didn’t get a turkey sandwich right now. I’m not even sure what I’m SUPPOSED to do in that situation. It was lunch time, he was definitely hungry. A turkey sandwich is a reasonable lunch request. But he said no! And I told him if he said no he didn’t get another chance! So which is the more important part of parenting here: following through with what I said or feeding my hungry child?

I made him a turkey sandwich.

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Five is basically the same as a teenager, but with way less impulse control and emotional maturity. He has SO MANY FEELINGS and deals with a lot of complicated social situations – friends and best friends and who can sit with who at school and whether or not they wear pink on Wednesdays – but for the very first time. It’s hard to even watch, it must be super hard to try to navigate as a little tiny person.

In the mornings, before he gets on the bus, we sit together on the front steps. Most mornings he still wants to sit on my quickly-disappearing-lap and snuggle a little, which is TOTALLY FINE with me. But it only takes one wrong question (Do you think you’ll have fruit for snack? Isn’t that flower a pretty color? Would you like your very own pony??) for him to go from cute and cuddly to the mayor of Grumpypants Town. I don’t even like driving through Grumpypants Town, let along socializing with its elected officials.

Luckily the times he’s not being impossible he’s amazing and super fun and likes me to play the radio loud in the car so we can both sing along badly. But five is not my favorite.

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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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