There is no perfect

Now let’s be honest, ok? Truly honest right now. And no judging. Who has yelled at one or more of their children today? *raises hand* Who is at their wits end with the whining and the crying and the general hissy fits? *raises hand* Who would like nothing more than to sleep 8 hours uninterrupted?? *raises both hands*

I would never trade my children for anything. I would never wish to go back to the days before them. I wouldn’t trade the sleepless nights or the permanent eye twitch that has set in due to the incessant whining or the little tummy pouch that sits right above my double c-section scar. Because even though those things aren’t my favorite parts of being a mom, they are made worth it by the two little people who depend on me.

But just for #tbt sake (and that’s “Throw Back Thursday” for you not up with social media hashtag lingo) let’s look back upon a time before children. Let’s just reminisce what it was like before the whining and the crying. Just for a moment, shall we?

Before kids I could watch TV without rewinding it 47 times in a 10 minute span because no one was asking for their cup that is 3 feet from their small person. Before kids I could take a leisurely shower whenever I chose to instead of waiting for the 15-minute span when both kids are asleep. Before kids I could talk on the phone without sounding like I have some sort of personality disorder. I could try on clothes or go to the bathroom without someone opening the door. Before kids I didn’t have to repeat myself 15 times or worry about yelling at someone because I got too frustrated and hurting their delicate feelings. Then feeling like crap about it after. Before kids I didn’t worry everyday if I was doing it right. Or if I was messing them up. I didn’t feel time slipping by at a lightning speed rate. I also didn’t always seem to be covered in barf or baby poop.

But before kids I didn’t know such love. I didn’t get to see every day the wonder and excitement and genuine love in the eyes of someone I helped create. I didn’t know such gut-wrenching terror at the thought of losing them. Yes, I probably slept more, but I didn’t get to feel little hands on my face or have sweet hugs from little arms. Holidays are so much sweeter with children. My days are busier, my nights aren’t as filled with blissful sleep, but my heart is full. Children, for me, complete something in my life. I know this isn’t the case for everyone. Some people do not want to have children and that’s ok. Some desperately want them and can’t have them. My heart aches for them.

I sit here and feel so bad for yelling at Brother Bear earlier. I’m trying so hard to be patient but some days I just lose the ability to do so. Especially when he is trying my resolve at every turn. I need to respond with hugs instead of a raised voice. I need to remember he’s just a little boy who wants his mom’s attention and is still struggling with that attention being split. A little boy who might be tired or hungry or doesn’t understand why I’m asking him to stop talking or even really have the ability to do that. I hate the feeling I have after I have hurt his feelings by yelling. And I can’t take it back or even fix it. I can apologize and try not to yell the next time. I’m working on it but some days it’s hard. And I will fail again. I will yell again. And I will feel bad, again.

I suppose, like children, I am still a work in progress. As a mom I am still learning too. Just like my little ones I will have good days and bad days. I will struggle with my role just as they will. I will try my best to be patient and understanding and respond with grace. And sometimes, probably more often than I’d like, I will fail. But even with those struggles, even with the barf (and the poop) and the insane amount of laundry they create, I would never trade a day with my babies. I would love for more days. Longer days. Days I could have over again because they just went by too quickly. I will continue to try every day to be a better mother. To appreciate every second I have with them. To learn to apologize when I ‘m not sweet just as I expect Brother Bear to apologize when he’s not. And one day I hope to learn to forgive myself when I make mistakes just as I forgive my sweet ones when they make them.

For better or worse

There are days as a parent that sometimes you just wish everyone would shut up. “We don’t say ‘shut up’!” No whining, no crying, no asking for a drink 47 times when it’s directly in front of them, no tv playing “The Hot Dog Dance” in the background. No one saying “mommy” 112 times in the span of 13 minutes. It’s normal to feel this way, dear friends. Perfectly normal. Heck, if you told me you never had days like this I wouldn’t believe you, you magical parenting unicorn. It takes a lot to make sure small people are bathed, fed, clothed, and pottied (<—- pretty sure that’s not a word, but you get the gist). Whether you stay home all day, work outside the home, or a combo of the 2, some days you just feel fried. Some days I swear it feels like you’re going backwards instead of forwards. Not only did the house NOT get cleaned, it is, in fact, even messier than before. Or you realize that you haven’t bathed the baby in more days than are socially acceptable. Some days you might even contemplate selling all the small people to the gypsies, changing your name, and running off to Tahiti without a forwarding address. But you would never really do that. Right? RIGHT??

No, you wouldn’t. Wanna know why? Because after one of those days, your 2 year old comes up to you and hugs your leg while telling you “Mommy, uh cute.” Which, of course translates to “Mommy, you’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever met and I love you with all my heart and I’m sorry for being a tiny terror for the last 4 1/2 months. Oh, and you’re my favorite parent.” And you hug that little person back with all your might and know THIS is why you do what you do. This is why you wipe boogers with your fingers. YOUR FINGERS. It’s why you eat cold food that’s supposed to be hot and room temperature food that’s supposed to be cold. It’s why at any point in the day you probably have spit-up, food, or boogers on your person. It’s the reason you share your last cookie with your precious child just for said child to spit the cookie back into your hand.

Children are a mess. Children are a full-time job. A lifetime job. Even when they are grown they are still yours to worry over and love. So that day, or those days, or that week that you feel like you just don’t know how you will manage one more minute without losing your mind? Just know that’s normal. It’s expected. And it will pass. You’ll sit down to your cold, no longer medium-rare steak, after refilling a cup with pink juice instead of blue juice, changing a diaper, and then your shirt because you were barfed on, and smile because your baby girl just looked at you and cooed so sweetly. Then your toddler asks to come sit next to you to cuddle. Those moments make all the other moments fade away and not seem so loud or smelly or crazy. Then, just for a moment, you think “Hey, I could have another one!” Until the baby blows out a diaper and the toddler runs into the table and everyone is screaming. Then you’re back to Tahiti.

 

 

 

Time flies

Dear Little One,

You are  11 months old today. I can hardly believe that in a month you will have been mine for a year. The time has flown by and there hasn’t been enough time spent with you. I know that for your first 6 months I was with you every day but the last 5 months while I’ve been working have been so hard on me. I feel like I miss so much. There is so much to be done and life that has to be lived when I wish I could just slow down time in order to get more time with you. You are such a big boy now with places to go and toys to play with; I miss the days where you would just be content to sit with me and sleep on me for hours at a time. I know you have to grow and to learn, but each day you become more independent and need me less. I’m not ready for that.

Last night you had a hard time going to bed (which is not unusual these days). So I held you and sung to you and cuddled you as you laid on my shoulder. And my heart was breaking knowing that this time with you is so precious but so limited. And I can’t get enough of it. Working takes me away from your precious face and your sweet cuddles and kisses and I feel those slipping away from me every day I’m away from you. I’m jealous of your Auntie who gets to spend her days with you. I worry sometimes you prefer her because she is with you more. This isn’t what I envisioned growing up when I imagined myself as a mommy. Even through college I always said I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I want to raise you. I want to be the one to kiss your boo-boos and see your milestones first.

I pray one day I will be able to stay home with you more. I’m so blessed I was able to spend so much time with you when you came home from the hospital. I missed out so much that being able to be with you then was a dream.

So, little one, try to not do so much growing and changing while I’m away. Save those first words and events for when I’m with you. Save your kisses and snuggles for me. Look for me and continue to be excited for me when I get home. Prefer me over everyone else sometimes (and not just when it comes to milks). And as you get older, remember I love you with all my heart and mommies need their babies for much longer than babies need their mommies.

I love you my sweet one. I will never stop loving you. I just wish you didn’t have to grow so fast.

Why does it matter?

Now that Baby G is approaching a year old, the question of when I’m going to stop nursing him is becoming more and more prevalent. Sometimes it’s casually inserted into conversation like the answer is no big deal and other times it’s pointed and almost bordering on concern.

There are multiple “camps” concerning breastfeeding. There are the moms who have zero intention of breastfeeding at all ever (and some can’t fathom why anyone would want to), there are moms who feel guilted into it so they attempt it and then make excuses why it didn’t work, there are moms who plan to do the obligatory 6 weeks and then quit, others who put a date, age, or milestone expiration date on it, the actually small group of women who cannot physically breastfeed due to medical or physiological issues (and if you research nursing at all this percentage is actually very small) and then there are others (like myself) who actually enjoy BFing and plan to let our child wean when they are good and ready. Obviously there are variations within any group so don’t get your panties in a twist if you didn’t see your particular situation. This is about me anyway, not you.

Then you have the observers. Those who don’t have children or weren’t breastfed or are men or who are part of some of the alternate camps of breastfeeding thought. A lot of who think they can determine when and where and for how long it’s “okay” to breastfeed.

When did it become “weird” to nurse a toddler? Who decided that once a kid can say milk or boob or whatever then the child is too old? When did babies stop being babies at one year of age? When I think of a toddler I think 2. Not 12 months. And why does it matter if you’re nursing a toddler? Basically, what’s it to ya?

Why are people so obsessed with this subject. I can think of a LOT of things parents do that are WAY more distressing and detrimental to a child than nursing them when they are 3. Or even 4. Recently the Time Magazine cover with the toddler standing on a chair nursing freaked everyone out. The Pro-camp thought it groundbreaking and affirming and the Anti-camp called it vulgar and freaked out about it. Personally I thought the cover itself was intentionally inflammatory and a little distastful. But it caused a lot of strong feelings both ways. And honestly, the best reaction to it I’ve read so far is this one. Well said. Read some of his other stuff too. He’s pretty funny.

So back to my situation. I love breastfeeding. It’s not sexual, it’s not selfish, it’s just a wonderful time I get to spend with my son. It’s nutrition and comfort. It’s time spent just with momma and during that time everything is alright in the world. Plus I’m providing him the BEST nutrition out there. Believe what you will but even formula companies recommend breastfeeding first. I’m not saying if you give your kid formula he or she will grow up stunted, undernourished, and socially inept. Quit reading into things! I have strong opinions about breastfeeding and this is my blog, dang it!

Ok, sorry. This subject makes *people* get a little heated. I choose to breastfeed Baby G because I believe that is what is best for the both of us. It fits our lifestyle and his needs. And I will breastfeed him as long as he chooses. And if he’s 3 when he weans completely, well, so be it. But that’s my business. No one else’s.

House Beautiful

Have I told you I’m practically Martha Stewart? Except younger and without the criminal record? I mean, my house always looks like it’s straight out of a magazine. It’s amazing. You should be jealous.

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Hoo! That was a good one! Whew, I think I just laughed until I peed. Ok, I didn’t actually pee. That really doesn’t happen too often to me. One of the silver linings of having a baby at 7 months (by C) is you have slightly more bladder control as someone who went all the way. I mean, when you miss out on so much you have to find some silver linings.

Anyway, back to my house. My house is a disaster area. It was clean and shiny and pretty for approximately 47 seconds at some point near Christmas and then it immediately went back to looking like a hobo camp. A hobo camp with wood floors and a pretty Christmas tree. The point is, I have never (and will never) be one of those people with the shiny spic-and-span house. I can get it cleaned up if someone is coming over but it never manages to stay that way. Now, having a baby, I at least feel slightly more justified in having a crazy house. Also, because my house does not look like it could belong on an episode of hoarders. Win for me.

What prompted this was the fact that Baby G got to play in my big bathtub the other night. Which he thought was super awesome by the way. But anyway, the next morning I walked through my (cluttered) bathroom and smiled at the bath toys hanging out on the edge of my tub. Don’t get me wrong, I love to look at magazines and wish my house looked like they do. I drool and dream and sigh over the beautiful tile bathrooms, the exquisitely decorated living rooms, and the fabulous master bedrooms. But while my house may not be perfectly vacuumed or have un-scuffed paint or have floor space to walk without stepping on a baby toy or cheerio… my house is home to a wonderful and perfect little person. He lives here. And it’s ok for my house to show that. Right now I’d rather sit on the couch with him and snuggle or play in the (crazy huge) play area we’ve set up for him in the living room than dust. He’s growing so fast and I work full time. So when I am home all I want to do is be with him. Sure I’m also a procrastinator and I hate cleaning. Those are totally valid reasons as well. But no matter what I do, I can’t, and I wouldn’t, erase the things that show he is here. And there are a lot of those things. Like the plastic butterfly I just pulled out of the couch. And the bowl of pump parts that sit on the counter waiting to be washed. We won’t mention the acre of toys scattered through the living room. Or the random socks that Baby G managed to shuck off (and then suck on). Then there are the aforementioned cheerios scattered throughout the house just waiting for Baby G to come find them before we do.

Maybe one day I’ll have a nice house that I can show off to people. Baby G will have a playroom or a toy box that he can put all his toys in each night. Or maybe my house will only be sparkly and clean at holidays and when company is coming over. And that’s fine. Because I’ll tell you what, I wouldn’t trade that precious little boy for anyone’s perfectly decorated and spotless house.

It’s midnight yet again

My little one refuses to go to bed at night. No, that’s not totally true. My little one refuses to go to bed at night in his bed. He’ll sleep just fine if we’re holding him. He’ll be calm and collected and perfectly reasonable. But as soon as you put him anywhere near his crib he turns into a flailing, rolling, crazed maniac. It’s currently 11:30pm and we’ve been trying to get him to sleep since about 10. I know that sounds late to put a baby to bed but we sleep in late. And generally I’m up late. With my erratic schedule at work (this week for example: off, 10-7, off, 12-9, 10-7, 8-5, 8-5) if we were to put him to bed early (say 8 o’clock), I’d miss most nights with him. So later works better for us.

Why is his bed lava, you ask? Well, dear friend, if you can find the answer to THAT question we will all be millionaires and get to sleep at night. Ok maybe not on the millionaire part but we might actually get to go to sleep at a reasonable hour if we chose. I’ve never been one of those who is on a specific side of the fence when it comes to “Cry It Out” tactics, but I have a hard time with both sides. I HATE letting Baby G lay in bed and cry. I hate it. It hurts my heart and makes me feel like a terrible mother. I feel like I’m abandoning my sweet child who is lying in his bed miserable and alone and terribly upset at being bereft of my presence. I feel like when I finally do go to pick him up he clings to me like I’m a life preserver and I’m saving him from a terrible fate. But at the same time… I also don’t sleep very well sitting upright in a chair. I don’t have a recliner and for whatever reason Baby G doesn’t want to sleep on my chest if I’m laying down. So sometimes, like tonight, I let him cry. I sit downstairs and listen to him crying piteously through the monitor and I feel like my heart is going to leap out of my chest. Some nights we can bounce him or pat him to sleep and that works. Some nights if you put him anywhere near his room, much less his bed, he breaks out into hysterics. I don’t know what makes the difference but I wish I knew what the right thing was.

Sometimes I just feel selfish. Maybe that little tiny boy is scared or doesn’t feel good or is lonely and he just wants to be cuddled. I don’t know. Maybe he’s just being a toad and doesn’t want to go to bed. So what do I do? Do I hold him and let him sleep on me? Do I give up my sleep so he doesn’t cry? It took 10 minutes tonight. 10 minutes of him crying after I had been upstairs for almost 40 minutes rocking him, holding him, and trying to get him to lay down. That 10 minutes felt like 30. We are 10 1/2 months in and I still don’t know what the right thing is. There are lots of people who use the CIO method and swear by it. There are lots of others who deem it a method of torture from the devil which will result in your child becoming a homicidal maniac who will eventually kill you in your sleep. I’m not going to throw stones at either camp. I think both tactics have valid points and have different times when they are effective  My biggest concern is what is right for Baby G?

Tonight, anyway, was a combination of cuddling and soothing with a little crying at the end. It makes me want to go upstairs and hug him and give him kisses but I guess that would defeat the fact that he finally fell asleep. So I’ll take myself to bed now and hope he sleeps through the night, and plan to snuggle him in the morning when he wakes up to eat. You know how I love those morning nursings.

Little joys

Here I am, at 6:30am, nursing my sweet one before I have to work. His little forehead is imprinted with several of his tiny fingers because he insists on laying face down on his hands in the bed. I’d show you a picture but I can’t do that without showing you a little more of myself than I think we are friends for.

So the point is, I love this time. I love this sleepy little baby who cuddles up against me, softly reaching out to touch my face or chest. Whether I’m sitting and eating breakfast like today or cuddled up in bed with him, the morning nursings are some of my favorite. He isn’t trying to look over his shoulder and see what’s going on, he isn’t popping off every few minutes to see who just walked by, and he’s usually very calm and serene. And today he has perfect fingernail impressions in his forehead.

I love that this is time just for the two of us. Our morning nursings are warm and cuddly and sweet. It’s just us and I can forget for a second how big he is getting and that I have to go to work. I can revel in his tiny little body and his sweet little hands and know I am his source of comfort as well as food. I can provide what no one  else can and it’s so special to me.