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Grateful

It’s 10:30 p.m. and you’re exhausted.  You lay down in bed and melt into your bedsheets.  You have to be up at 6 a.m., because that’s when your little one wakes up.  Just as you are about to fall asleep the baby monitor makes that crying noise, oh wait, that’s your son making the crying noise.  Your eyes burn as you open them to push the button on the monitor.  Your son is sitting up, oh no he’s sitting up, this isn’t a good sign.  He’s sick, he has a bad cold and you feel for him but you just want to go to sleep.  You spent all day comforting him, trying to get him to eat something even though his stuffy nose makes it hard for him to breathe, telling him no about a million times for hitting you, etc. etc. etc.  He doesn’t feel well but in a way, neither do you.

Go back to sleep, baby.  It’s okay.  You’re okay.  Go back to sleep.

You stare at the monitor, feeling guilty for wishing him back to sleep instead of wanting to go comfort him.  You DO want to comfort him.  You wish you could go hold him and fall asleep together peacefully, how nice that would be.  That would create a different set of problems though, so you don’t.  Instead you hold your breath and hope he finds his own peace.  Just go to sleep baby.

5 minutes later his head touches the sheet and you know you’re in the clear.  Awwhhh, thank you.

You wake up at 5:50…come on kid I’m supposed to get 10 more minutes.  Oh well.  5:50 it is.  He whines for you.  Your day has begun.

You pick up that little ball of jammies holding his 3 blankies and take him downstairs where you set him on the couch, turn on some cartoons and fetch his milk.

As the day goes on, you look at him in two different ways.  You look at him and see a beautiful little creature.  You made him.  He’s yours.  He’s amazing and wonderful and your heart can’t even love him any more than it already does, it’s so full.  As you’re thinking this he comes over and slaps you across your face.  What just happened?

You put him in time-out because nothing else seems to work.  Time-out doesn’t seem to work either.  You leave him there for a few minutes.  You sit down in silence and breathe.  Just breathe.  He loves you.  He loves you but he’s a toddler.  He isn’t mean, he’s just going through a phase.  How do you stop this though?  Why is he hitting?

These two feelings continue to challenge you throughout the day; two feelings of gratitude and sadness, mostly gratitude.

You love your son more than anything but you haven’t quite figured out how to discipline him yet.  This too shall pass.

Tomorrow’s a new day.  Tonight is a new night.  Tonight you will sink into your bedsheets and hope to get a goodnight’s sleep so you can wake up in the morning with a positive and fresh attitude.  You’re doing great, momma.  Sometimes being a parent is hard, but it’s still the most magical gift.  You’re grateful.  You’re so grateful.  Your son is amazing and learning from you in every moment, and he’s grateful, too.

Goodnight!

Talk to you soon

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“Broken Things” by Kathleen Fleming

When I read Kathleen’s blog post about her son’s anger leading to a broken mirror, I cried.  It’s just so beautiful and a completely different reaction than I would imagine myself having.  I get so frustrated with Andrew sometimes and like Kathleen, I sometimes break down.  I find myself feeling alone and often feeling like a bad mother.  Why is my child feeling so angry?  In my case, he throws things and just recently started hitting.  How do I stop this?  I get mad.  I get really mad.  I never spank him but I yell.  I’m firm and I’m angry right back at him.  Is this what I’m teaching him?  Is it my fault that he doesn’t understand how to control his anger?  I thought that if he knew I was angry at him for behaving this way and he cried because of it, then I was teaching him that this behavior is not okay.  But maybe I’m teaching him the exact opposite.  Maybe I’m actually teaching him about anger itself.  I never looked at it this way.  I still don’t know what is right and what is wrong.  I don’t know which reaction will truly teach your child good and positive behavior, but after reading this I have a new understanding of how your child learns from YOU as a mother or as a parent for that matter.

I will try to control my own anger from now on.  I will try to show Andrew that it’s okay not to understand what happens to your mind and to your body when you feel angry but eventually he will need to express these feelings in a healthy manner.  Maybe he will learn to use his words in a positive way to express these feelings.  Maybe he will hold me the way I hope to hold him.  Maybe he will feel safe and guarded when anger starts to overtake because that is what I have taught him.  This is what I hope for.

I wanted to share Kathleen’s “Broken Things” because it’s interesting, it’s beautiful and in my opinion, powerful.

“Broken Things” by Kathleen Fleming

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“This was my hallway last Wednesday.

Broken.  Sharp.  Treacherous.

This was my hallway.

It was my son who did this.

Sometimes, often really, things break – irreparably.  And it takes your breath away … straight away.

It took my breath away when my son stormed into the bathroom, frustrated, angry, fed-up for his very own, very significant to him, reasons.  And when he chose to SLAM the bathroom door, causing the heavy mirror mounted to the front to slip out of the hardware holding it in place and crash onto the floor – a million, BROKEN pieces were left reflecting the afternoon light.

I was quiet.  I surveyed the damage and took a deep breath.  Put the dog outside so he wouldn’t cut his feet, put the cat in the basement for the same reason.

I walked into the backyard and felt the hot tears streaming down my face.  It’s amazing how alone you can feel as a single parent in moments like these.  I realized how scared and disappointed I felt.  Did this really just happen?  Yes.  This was real.

And as I stood and considered whether or not this was an indication of his developing character, I heard his tears through the window above me, coming from inside the bathroom.

His soul hurt.  This was not what he expected either.  Hello, Anger – I don’t remember inviting you into my house.

Scary.

Terrified.

Ashamed.

Worried.

Scared.

Deep breath, #MamaWarrior.  Deep breath.  That small, fragile soul needs you right now.  He needs your very best.  Your biggest compassion.  Your most gentle and firm mama love and reassurance.  More deep breaths.  Go Mama.

Go.  Go now.  Go open the front door, tiptoe through the broken glass, hear him hearing you coming, watch the bathroom door crack open, see the face you love most in the world red with worry and wet with tears, his voice is suddenly so small: “Mama, I’ll never do it again, I am SO sorry.”  More tears.  More weeping.  Such uncertainty on his sweet face.

Go Mama.  Get him.  Go now.  Scoop him into your lap.  Yup, you’re crying too.  Damn this was big.  Hold him tight.  Watch how he curls into a ball in your arms so quickly.  See how eager he is to be loved by you.  To be reassured by you.  See how small he still is.  See how fragile that spirit is.

I love you.

You are safe.

I am right here.

The worst part is over now.

I’ve got you.

I’m here.

I love you.

Go Mama.  Tell him about Anger.  Tell him now.  Anger is a really powerful feeling.  You have a right to your Anger.  Anger burns hot.  It can purify.  It can also destroy.  He nods.  He feels it.  He’s met Anger now.

There’s a better way to show your big feelings.

We’ll work on it together …. tomorrow.

I’m here to help you.

You are safe.

You are never alone in your anger.

You are never alone in your fears.

I’m here.  We’re here together.

Now we will clean together.

And we cleaned up the broken pieces.  We swept and we vacuumed.  It was quiet work.  It was careful work.  It was thoughtful work.

Sometimes things break.  Sometimes we break them.  It’s not the breaking that matters, the how or why.  What matters is how we choose to respond to the broken-ness.  Does it kill us?  Does it throw us into a downward spiral of blame and punishment?

OR

Does it help us remember how to love deepest?  Does it push us towards compassion and over the hurdle of “rightness” and “wrongness” into LOVENESS?

Yes.  LOVENESS.

Go Mama.  Go now.  Get that baby of yours.  Teach that.  Show that.  Live that.  It’s called LOVENESS.  Go.  Now.”

 

I was given permission by Kathleen to repost her story titled “Broken Things”.  Check out her blog at http://www.majesticunicorn.biz/#happy

 

Talk to you soon

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Nurses – an amazing breed of people

Yesterday I was telling someone about my experience at the hospital when I delivered Andrew.  Not about the labor and pushing and all that, but about the experience at the actual hospital.  Overall it was a great experience.  I remember we got a good parking spot, close to the main entrance.  That was nice!  When we walked into the lobby there were like a million people there and I remember the volunteers at the information counter were like 100 years old.  Oh man, God bless them but word of advice to hospitals:  Make sure your volunteers actually know something about hospitals, especially for women in labor.  That was my only complaint.  Once we were in our room and things were rolling, the journey began.

I’ve told numerous people how much I loved the nurses at the hospital.  I think I had 5 or 6 different nurses throughout our 2 day stay and I’m embarrassed to say that I only remember one of their names.  Pat.  Oh, sweet Pat.  She was older.  Not old old, but like 50’s probably.  My other nurses were younger.  We’ll come back to Pat later as she was my last nurse before we left the hospital.

My first nurse was in our delivery room.  I’m ashamed to say I don’t remember her much but it’s only because I was so out of it.  You know, the whole “trying to get a baby out of me” sort of got in the way of our friendship.  I do remember she was extremely calm.  I was not calm.  I was a mess, but she was nice and dealt with my irrational behavior quite well.  After delivery we were supposed to move into the recovery room but I was very dehydrated and they were worried about me even standing so we stayed put for awhile.  Another nurse took over and she was the one who helped me to the bathroom.  I almost fainted by the time we got there so she walked me back to the bed and told me to rest awhile before trying to go to the bathroom again.  They make you go to the bathroom after you deliver a baby; like, pretty soon after.  It’s not as bad as people make it out to be though.  Random:  I had to force myself to pee for like a week after delivery.  How weird is that?  No one told me this could happen.  I seriously had to remind myself to go because I never felt like I needed to pee, it was so weird.  Anyway…

We eventually moved into the recovery room and another nurse took over once again.  This is the nurse who helped me the most and I’m so sad that I don’t remember her name.  It may have been Sarah… She had a very matter-of-fact personality but she was sweet as well.  She was the one who began the breastfeeding journey with me.  That first night, she stayed in our room for 2 hours helping me try to nurse Andrew and when it STILL didn’t work, she showed me how to use a pump.  God I don’t miss that pump.  I also remember her pushing on my tummy A LOT!  No one told me about that either.  A nurse pushes on your tummy every few hours to make sure they get all of the leftover baby junk out.  Good description I know.  I’m not sure what else to call it though.  It doesn’t necessarily hurt when they do this, it’s just a little uncomfortable.  Do you know that nurses also clean up all of the leftover baby junk once it comes out?  How do people do this job?  I laid there while she squished my tummy and literally changed my diaper.  I’m a grown woman and I was so thankful for this.  Again, so weird!

My next nurse came the next morning, I don’t really remember her too much.  Then I think there was another nurse later that day and then Sarah came back that second night (let’s just call her Sarah even though I’m not sure that was indeed her name).  The next day we met Pat.  Pat was so sweet!  We had a beautiful heart to heart and I remember it like it was yesterday.  I was sitting in the hospital bed and I could feel myself start to lose it.  I was so tired, so stressed out and my hormones were a mess.  Pat walked in and simply asked how I was doing.  I started sobbing.  I couldn’t control myself.  I was so embarrassed because I just couldn’t stop crying but Pat sat on the bed with me and talked me through it.  I told her I was just overwhelmed with everything.  We talked for a little while and the sweetest thing happened.  Pat started crying, too.  I was so surprised by this and I felt so horrible for making her sad.  She said she was just happy to see me care so much.  She told me she always knows when a woman is going home a good mom, and I was one of them.  I’ll never forget that.  Those words made me feel confident that I could go home and be a mom without the help of a nurse.

When we were leaving the hospital Pat came back into our room and handed me the tiniest and sweetest little baby hat.  She said some of the women at the hospital crochet little hats to give to babies when they leave the hospital.  It was teal and blue and Andrew wore it for a couple months.  I thought that was the nicest little gift and I’ll keep it forever.

Our stay at that hospital was wonderful and I owe that wonderful experience to those nurses.  I could never do what they do.  I have no idea how they put up with hormonal new mommas, help them pee, change their diapers (okay it’s a pad but diaper sounds funny), help them nurse their newborn, deliver their meals, teach them how to burp the baby, teach them how to swaddle their baby…I could go on.  They’re amazing and absolutely special, and I thank each one of them!

Talk to you soon

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Epidural or not?

When I got pregnant with Andrew I had already decided that I wasn’t going to get an epidural.  I wanted to give birth all natural.  However, I did try to convince myself that if the day came and I reallllyyy wanted one then it was okay to get one but I just really wanted to do it on my own.  I guess it just comes down to pride.  I figured, if women 50 years ago didn’t use an epidural then I didn’t need one.  I also wanted that satisfaction; an achievement really.  I was a little worried about how safe it was, too.  I know I know, women use epidurals like 80% of the time these days and everything turns out okay, but I don’t know, I was a little scared.  The idea of basically being paralyzed gave me the creeps.  I honestly felt ashamed for even thinking about getting an epidural.  It’s totally ridiculous but that’s how I felt!  I swear when I talked about it with older women, they treated an epidural like it was this horrible drug.  “Oh come on, you don’t need one!  I didn’t use one!”   Then they would talk about how horrible the pain was.  I would sit there and listen to their stories and feel my anxiety start to build.  I never understood why they did that.  Can’t you just lie a little?  Are you TRYING to scare me?  This was my first baby!  I knew it was going to be painful but I had never experienced this before and didn’t really know what to expect.  Why would someone want to make the experience even scarier for a first time mom?  I’m glad they talked like that though.  Now I know what NOT to talk about with a first time preggo woman, or even women without kids but planning on having them.  Yes it sucks and yes it’s painful, but you get through it.  You can do it!  How about we talk about how wonderful it is to hold your baby for the first time?  Or how quickly the pain goes away right when that baby leaves your body?  How about that?

Sorry.  I went on a little rant there.

I’ve been thinking a lot about our next baby (no I’m not preggo).  We know we want 2 kids so I’m proooobably going to be pregnant again in the near future.  This sounds terrible but I’m really not looking forward to being pregnant again.  I love Andrew so much and I can’t wait to have another child.  Having a baby is the best decision we’ve ever made and I wouldn’t change it for anything.  BUT, I definitely prefer my not-pregnant self.  That being said, it’s going to happen (or at least I hope) and that is such a blessing.

So then there’s the second birth.  I’m back to this epidural debate.  Do I have an answer this time around?  Why thank you for asking, and yes I do.  I’m saying YES to the epidural!  Ha!  I’ve done it once without one and that’s all the accomplishment I need in my life.  There is something available to me to make the labor and delivery experience virtually enjoyable.  One friend even told me she had a nice conversation with her nurse while she was pushing…what?!  How is that possible?

Now, again, I would never want to scare any future mommas out there who want to do it all natural.  You can absolutely do it.  The pain only lasts for like 24 hours of your life, that’s a very small amount of time in your long life!

With our next kid though, I’m getting one.  Is it weird that I’m a little worried about being embarrassed about giving birth using one though?  I keep thinking about actually being coherent for the delivery and, you know, hearing everything and seeing everyone’s reaction to certain bodily fluids escaping my body.  I keep picturing the look on Kyle’s face if and when he looks at the head.  With Andrew’s birth, I remember Kyle looking but seriously didn’t care.  I was so out of it for the entire process.  I didn’t care about anything, I just wanted that baby out of me.  With our next one, if I do get an epidural, I’m worried I’ll be TOO aware.  I’d almost rather not hear or see or remember anything haha, you know what I mean?  Ugh, whatever.  That’s silly I know.  Regardless of all that, I still want to get one.  I just hope I’m able to!

So there’s my story.  I’m not giving advice and I’m not trying to sway people one way or the other.  I’m just sharing my decision.  Now I’m starting to worry about other things like a new kind of exhaustion with a baby AND a toddler…and I’m not even pregnant!  My mind is crazy sometimes.

Talk to you soon

 

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Shout out to the Hubs!

Today I’m feeling very thankful for my husband.  That’s a good feeling!  Not that I don’t usually feel thankful for him, but it’s just more powerful today for some reason.  I’ve said this before but Kyle and I are very different and sometimes it can be hard to relate to each other.  There are things about him I just don’t understand and I’m SURE he feels the same about me.  Sometimes I feel like we are too different, like what the heck are we doing here?  It’s easy to give up on things nowadays and after being with someone for 10 years, you might not have that spark you had in the beginning.  What’s important is that we try to understand each other and even when that doesn’t work, we still love each other regardless.  No matter how bad it’s ever been between my husband and I and no matter what kinds of things we say to each other (well, things I say to him really), at the end of the day I just can’t picture my life without him.  That’s not really where I want this post to go though, I want it to be about me appreciating him today and hopefully every single day from this point forward.

My husband works very hard and often doesn’t get enough credit for it, even from me.  I was raised with a VERY hardworking father and I find myself comparing my husband to my dad in a lot of areas.  My dad has always worked very long hours and it’s a “manly man” kind of work.  He’s a farmer and farmers have always been the hardest working people I know, but that doesn’t mean that a guy in a suit doesn’t work long hours and doesn’t work just as hard.  I never really understood this until I married Kyle.  He works 10-11 hour days every single day and never complains.  He comes home with a smile on his face and rarely says he had a bad day.  He works hard so that I can stay home 5 out of the 7 days a week with our son.  For that, I owe him so much, and I’m so very thankful.

A lot of people complain about working too much or they flat out hate their jobs.  I’m sorry to you if you’re one of those people.  I hear people complain about working 10 hour days.  I hear others brag about how much money they make.  I hear people talk talk and talk some more about how hard they work and they feel under-appreciated.  Again, I’m sorry to you.  What I really love about my husband (and yes sometimes I find it annoying, too), is that he never complains, brags or even talks about how hard he works.  A lot of the time I feel like I need give him a “shout out” because he really does deserve a pat on the back.  So that’s what I’m doing.

My husband won’t read this.  Most of his friends won’t read this.  That’s okay.  Maybe I’ll show this to him someday if he ever is feeling unappreciated, but I really hope he never feels that way.  I hope he knows that I can never thank him enough for allowing me to stay home with Andrew so much.  That is the greatest gift anyone has EVER given me.  I hope he knows that his long hours and positive attitude don’t go unnoticed.  I hope he knows that he’s a great husband and a fantastic father.  He’s always been one of the best people I know.  Now he’s one of the hardest working people I know, too.

Talk to you soon

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A day off

I haven’t had a day to myself in over a year.  I get a couple of hours here and there, typically on the weekends when Kyle watches A.  That’s not really the same as having a full day off to just do your thing.  Sure, I’ve had girl outings and fun times since having Andrew but I rarely get a day off, by myself, for myself.

Today is New Year’s Eve and our office at work is closed.  However, it’s Thursday, a day I normally take A to daycare, and daycare is open.

As I was pulling out of the driveway, I felt a little guilty leaving Andrew with Phyllis.  I don’t ever do this!  I normally take any chance I get to be with my little guy but I had a gift card burning a hole in my wallet.  My guilt quickly turned into excitement.  Andrew will be fine!  He loves daycare and it’s just ONE day!  First, I went to my favorite coffee shop (no it’s not Starbucks, sorry).  I ordered my favorite almond milk latte and an egg & cheese frittata sandwich.  I sat inside and seriously smiled the whole time.  Don’t get me wrong, I love hanging out with Andrew and I always miss him when he’s not with me but I was already loving this day.

Next, I walked around a beautiful outdoor shopping mall in our area, this is where I had my gift card.  This shopping mall is pretty upscale so naturally, I went to the cheapest store there – Ross!  I bought a new purse that I just love!  It was fuh-reeeeezing outside but I walked the long road to my other favorite store and bought a few presents for some friends.  I also got Andrew a “Thomas the train” Christmas ornament that was 1/2 off.  Okay, by this time it’s only 11 am…hmmm…

I texted Kyle to see if he wanted to meet for lunch but this is his busiest day of the year so he said he couldn’t.  I decided I would just take myself out to lunch!  Before lunch though, I ran to Old Navy and Marshalls.  I bought some new pajama bottoms and a cute little shirt for Andrew with a bow tie.  Gah, I’m a sucker for bow ties.  Welp, money’s gone which means shopping is over!  Off to lunch I go!

It’s a little weird going to lunch by yourself.  I mean, Taco Bell or one of those places is fine, but a sit down restaurant is a little awkward. Today I didn’t care.  Today I was enjoying every second.  I ate at a terrific eatery called Crepevine.  Man do I love their food!  I got a Greek style crepe with a side salad and a vanilla italian soda, yum!  I know, who cares what I ate?  It was good though!

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I had to run to the grocery store to pick up some stuff for tonight.  We’re making appetizers for the holiday and staying in of course.  Then I came home, showered and got ready.  After that I prepped some of the food for tonight and now I’m sitting here writing this.  It’s almost 4, almost time to go get A.

I know you all could probably care less what I did today but it’s rare that I get a day to myself.  It was so wonderful.  I love love love being home and having a family, it’s my greatest blessing, but feeling like a 28 year old young woman today was pretty spectacular.  I think we all have to remember to take some “me” time every now and then.  I feel like it revitalized me.  I sound like a broken record but I just feel so lucky, especially today, when I’m free and alive.

Talk to you soon

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He chose me today

Andrew loves daycare and he loves the daycare Owner, let’s call her P.  For the last 6 months or so he loves it so much that he doesn’t want to leave.  I walk in the door after working all day and he doesn’t want to come to me, he wants to stay with P.  Sometimes he will even cry when he sees me walk in, probably because he knows he has to leave.  When I drop him off in the morning he runs to P with open arms and smiles like he’s been dying to get there.  When I leave for work and wave goodbye to him, he acts like I don’t exist.  It’s like he’s thinking, “Yeah, yeah, go away”.  I know he’s just over a year old and this means nothing, he’s just a baby.  But I’ve mentioned before how much it hurts my feelings.  It’s crazy when I really think about it.  I’m his momma and of course he loves me, but my heart sinks when he doesn’t want to come home with me.  I’m not a bad mother, Andrew.  I love you and I’m fun, too.  Wahhhh, poor me!

Today I dropped him off at P’s and when I was walking to the door to leave, he ran to me.  He was whining like he didn’t want me to go.  I looked at P and we were both confused.  It had only been a week, what was going on?  I picked him up and gave him a big hug.  I found a toy and tried distracting him.  As he was playing with the toy I snuck out of the living room and began walking to the door again.  He noticed that I was leaving and again ran to me whining.  This time P picked him up and I waved goodbye to him.  I could hear him start to cry as I walked out the door.

Is this what I wanted?  I won’t lie, it felt great to be wanted but this might actually be worse.  I’m leaving my baby crying for me.  Ugh, maybe I do want him to love it there after all.  I just want him to be happy.  I guess this is what I asked for but I also realized what really matters.  He can love me and he can love P at the same time, both are positives.  Maybe he was trying to reassure me :).  The point is this:  he can love daycare and I can still be a good mommy.

Talk to you soon