Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Counting Blessings

We all know people with stories that can make you shiver. Tradgedy striking small children, pregnancies gone wrong, divorce, illness, infertility, job loss, they have affected us and or people we know. I feel like as I get older I am hearing more of these stories. Maybe it's because I know more people with children or having children, or we have aging parents now and are experiencing issues of aging. In any case it has made me take inventory of all the good we do have.

The other day I was catching up with a friend I hadn't talked to in a long time. We talked about kids, work, and just life in general. I basically got the idea that she had nothing she was over the moon excited about, but things were status quo. At the end of the update she summed it all up by saying this was pretty much the worst year of her life. I did not expect to hear that. She is a grass is always greener type, and never seems content, but she seems to be managing and I wouldn't say she is depressed either. She just always seems bored. This conversation was last week and I can't get it out of my head.

Since that call, I have talked to a few friends who shared their lives with me. A friend's close friend just found out her unborn baby has water on the brain, another just got her period after over a year of trying to conceive, my friend moved into a new house only to get robbed the next night, and my friend's mom got diagnosed with Lymphoma. That is all since that call so I can't help but be confused by what she said. Depression is another issue and if that was the case I take all this back. You could be Ms. Happy Happiness and if depression comes your way no alarm system will help you. It can make the best scenario turn into the worst year, but she says she isn't, and that she just doesn't love her life right now. Her life with a great guy she loves, two beautiful kids, and everyone is healthy. I'm not saying that being a stay at home mom to two children isn't worthy of pulling your hair out sometimes -- but the worst? If I could offer some advice, which I wouldn't dare, but if she asked I would say take a deep breath and a close look at what you have and count your blessings.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Sleepover

Saturday night we had dinner plans with our close friends. Our daughters are best friends (yes I guess there is such a thing at three) and they live just down the street. We decided it didn't make sense to get a babysitter since the girls really just want to be together and they had a sitter our daughter knows as well. We prepped them days before explaining what a sleepover was. We had planned to drop her off in pajamas, let them play, stay up late, and sleep in the same bed. When we were done with dinner we would take our daughter and transfer her to bed. She protested that idea and said she wanted to sleep next to her friend until the morning.

The whole dinner my friend and I checked in with the babysitter and the girls were having a blast. They didn't stop chatting and finally fell asleep close to ten. After they had been asleep though our daughter woke up and started asking for us. She said it was too dark and wanted to go home. She woke up her friend and together they helped each other fall back asleep. When we returned to take her home we thought it had gone successfully.

She woke in her own bed at 6 am, then again at 7 then played for a bit with my husband before saying she was tired. She fell back asleep until close to 9. The day just went down hill from there. Every single thing that upset her turned into a massive meltdown. She flat out ignored us and was a whiny mess most of the day. She wasn't up for napping since she slept in so late, but by 5 pm was fried, and my husband and I couldn't wait to put her to bed. We tried several times to reason with her throughout the day but ultimately came to the conclusion that 3 is a little too young to party out late. She was so thrown by the night that when she fell asleep last night at 7:30 she slept until 8 am today. She said to me yesterday, "Mommy, I am so glad you brought me back with you, it was too dark there."

There's no place like home!

Monday, November 21, 2011


I recently brought a bag of food and a baby gift over to a friend. I had meant to drop it off and leave but her father in law answered the door and insisted I come in. My friend and her husband had just gotten home a half hour earlier with their first born. I am sure my face wasn't what they wanted to see at that moment. They had just come from an five day stay at the hospital after an unexpected c-section. Their exhaustion was thick, and I could feel it when I walked in.

I was happy for them, don't get me wrong, but I left feeling like I had kept a huge secret from them. Of course it wasn't my job to inform them of what they were about to go through, and even if I had, there's nothing I could say to prepare the, so what's the point? I just looked at them, so new and optimistic, and wondered if they even knew what tired was. They would soon find out. I also wished them a big congratulations but left out how life as they once knew it will never be the same. Amazing, new, exciting and joyful but NEVER the same as when it was just the two of them.

I am guessing this is coming off as negative, and I don't mean it to be. I personally felt the restart button was pressed on my life when I had my daughter, and so does my husband. We also feel that a reservoir of love opened up in our hearts that we didn't even know existed. There is just no denying though that you will never quite feel the same about yourself as you once did. It comes with joy, wonder, excitement, and an amazing feeling that is beyond words, but it also comes with a new set of concerns. A list that goes on and on. I so admire people who enter parenthood and seem to be easy breezy about the whole thing, but for most the new sense of responsibility is grand. Never again are you completely and fully at peace when you are not in the same place with your child.

It is a whole new chapter of a whole new book, and nothing I could possibly tell them about the story would prepare them, so I just dropped off some food, a onsie, and said "Congratulations!"

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tantrum Tango

Yesterday we met a friend and her baby at the park. Her daughter is one and Twig really loves being the bigger kid around her. She is gentle, and caring, and loves showing the young baby around. The day was going great, we went to the library, had a picnic outside on the grass, and then played at the playground. Toward the end of the day, I told her that we were going to be leaving soon, and she should pick her "last thing" to do. She seemed to get it, but when we all got our things and said, "Let's go", she let me have it.

It started with a pout, then gradually a whine. At this point I knew I was doomed -- there was no way to turn the tide. I could see a tsunami heading right for me. Then the tears followed by a scream: "I WANT TO STAY MOMMY!" I haven't had a ton of experience with tantrums but lately I feel I have been thrown into a crash course. This was the first time in public, and I had my friend there to witness the whole thing. I couldn't help but notice her jaw on the ground when she watched. She even said she has never seen anything like this. She offered to help me hold her but I knew that might even take this to another level. There I was with a mini Linda Blair, and all I could do is try to walk as she pulled on me. I couldn't pick her up because she was kicking, I couldn't reason with her, so all I could do was walk and say, "I am sorry you are upset."

After finally getting back to the car, she calmed down enough to get her in her car seat. She was finally down to a wimper when I asked her if she was ready to talk about it. She said when she got home she would. When I got out of the car, she said, "I am sorry mommy." When I asked her what she was sorry for, she explained, "I kicked and screamed because I didn't want to leave." I explained how she could do it differently next time. That she could tell me she was upset or disappointed without the kicking, screaming, crying and whining. She told me that she will be really good at it when she gets older.

I came home and took out a big 'ol parenting book and looked up tantrums. It said they are saved for those they love the most. How sweet! It also seemed I was doing everything right. I have an individual, and a pretty amazing one when she isn't doing the angry dance. Just like all the other glorious phases of parenthood, I will try to gracefully glide in and out of this one with two left feet.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Big Mint Dress

The moment has arrived in my three year old daughters life where what she wears has become of great importance to her. Some of my friends with little girls have gone through this even earlier, so perhaps I should be grateful she has this much variety to her wardrobe to date. Now though, it's a battle. She has one dress in particular that she loves. It was given to her by my cousin whose daughter wore it thirteen years ago. It is a cotton green and white gingham dress that Twig has named "my big mint dress." If she could wear it everyday, she would.

Recently there is a debate shortly after waking up about what she will wear. Even if the dress is dirty and in the laundry hamper, she'll debate as to why it's ok for her to wear it. If it is cold, she will plead to wear it over tights and a long sleeve shirt. If she has picked out a nice outfit with pants she will demand that she wears it over the rest of her clothes. Today she wanted to wear it to gymnastics and tried to convince me that she would pick it up when she runs.

I suppose there are worse things to be concerned about. I know at four, a lot of girls refuse pants all together, saying pants aren't pretty enough. I'm glad that at the moment this issue doesn't have anything to do with how she looks. If it did she wouldn't want to wear it all the time because trust me -- when she wears it under different layers of clothes and colors, pretty isn't what comes to mind. The fact that she dressed herself now is clear for all to see and she is proud. I'm just glad she will still put on a pair of jeans from time to time. Even if they have to worn under the "big mint dress."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Not Anymore

I used to watch all different kinds of movies, and read all different kind of books. Not anymore.
I liked being brought into a story that would make me feel what the characters in the story felt. If it was a true story even better. I could live in their shoes and experience there joy or pain with them for a moment in time. Not anymore. If it was scary, I loved it even more; if it was sad, the pain I felt was real for them. Not anymore.

I didn't notice this change right away. I remember when I had my little three month old in my arms and I took her to a mommy movie of Changeling. One of my friends wouldn't go because she said she couldn't watch a movie about a boy being kidnapped. It didn't affect me that way though. First off, I thought Angelina Jolie was way too modern looking to be believable in that time period, but secondly, I was able to feel her pain and still separate myself. Lately, I can't. I am reading "Sarah's Key" right now. It is a well-written book about the French Jews, specifically children, taken to camps during the Holocaust. I am really into it, and mostly don't want to put it down, but there is a part where the children are torn apart from there parents, and suddenly I felt a little too "in it." I began to cry, and the pain of imagining my child watching me pulled from her arms forever physically hurt. My mind spun out on how screwed up this world is to let things like this happen. Today still, there is more of this madness happening.

I am not ignorant to it, and I don't turn a blind eye, but as a parent there is a certain level of selfishness that comes. I don't want to walk in everyone's shoes anymore. I don't need to feel that much pain for something I hope and pray never happens to us. I am grateful though for the amount of freedom and safety we have. I do think I often take that for granted. I will continue reading this book, but as for 20/20 specials on kidnappings, 60 minutes with Jaycee, Duggard, or following missing Baby Lisa -- not anymore!