Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I Will Be Here

I will be here.  Two parts of this.  One is, I will be here for my husband.  The second, I will be here for my children.

I read a post that I've linked here that brought me to tears, and all I could say when I finished reading was “Yes.”  Yes, that is the mother I want to be for my children.  That’s where I'm aiming.  Attachment parenting or not, when my baby girl wakes up shrieking, I will be here, and I will make sure she’s okay and give her back her teddy bear and doggie, and cover her up with a blanket, and straighten out her legs so they won't fall asleep. 

Sometimes she'll need to learn a lesson.  That may mean I practice cry-it-out.  That may mean if she forgets her homework, she’ll just have to explain to her teacher that she wasn't responsible enough to remember to bring it and that she'll have it the next day, even if that means a letter grade lower.  But when she comes home from school and tells me that was just the start of her bad awful day, I will be here.  I will sit down with her, give her a “nana” or cookie or whatever her favorite snack is at that time, maybe even a “big girl” cup of hot tea, and I will listen.  If that means supper will be a little late, so be it.  If that means the house doesn't get dusted that day, so be it.  My little girl is more important.  If the shrieking from the room doesn't subside in a few minutes, I will be here.  I will go in and calm her down, let her know I love her, replace the lost paci, turn the seahorse and ladybug on for the 3rd time. 

Some of you know my situation.  Some of you know my heart, even if you don’t know my current situation.  Some of you were there through my tears in college.  Some of you loaned cell phones and watched me pace the road and fields, and watched me return the phone trying to hold back tears.  You were first-hand witnesses to my broken heart.

Through that broken heart, I now seek to give love to two tiny baby girls.  I now attempt to let them know, every day, just how much I love them.  I try to teach them, to imprint on their hearts and minds, that no matter what they do, I will always love them.  I try even harder as they get older.  It’s a challenge, sometimes, to love a newborn who needs fed every 2 hours around the clock for 6 straight weeks.  But there are lots of easy moments too, when they're snuggled up on you sleeping.  When they become toddlers, though… those snuggle moments are few and far between.  They're messy.  They're stinky.  They're into everything.  Even their diapers are gross.  Even my 9 month old gets told “oh what a cute little turd!”  My 20 month old… yeah, she doesn't get told that.  I said yesterday while changing her and wrinkling my nose that I needed to figure out what she’s eating that makes her smell like a nursing home bathroom.  Phew.   And that’s before the defiant moments.  The “come here” and she runs the other way.  Sometimes that’s cute.  When you have a twisted ankle that’s shooting pain up your leg, it won't dry up for 24 hours straight so your knees are throbbing, and you haven't finished your coffee and it’s noon, it’s not cute.  At all.  

Especially when she spills your now cold coffee. 

But, it’s at those not-cute moments, those trying moments, that I really want to impress upon her that I love her.  That I will always love her.  Even when she does something wrong.  Even when I'm not happy with her, I still love her. 

When she fails classes.  When she’s in drama up to her ears.  When she and her roommates just can’t see eye-to-eye.  When it seems like she’s never going to find a man who wants to marry her.  When it seems like her body is falling apart and she doesn't know why. 

I will be here.  I will drive to her if she wants me to and take her to doctors.  I will tell her I understand what it’s like go through the dark night of not knowing.  When she’s in the hospital, I will be there.  If she tells me to give her space, then fine, I will, but I will be here.  I will show up and get her ice and pain meds and her pillow from her dorm room.  I will not judge.  I will not accuse.  I will help her get better.  If we need to talk, we will, but I will love her first. 

I pray this is the mother I become.   I beg God to form my heart into this kind of mother’s heart.   

Sunday, July 7, 2013

And so it begins again

And so it begins again...

I've lost count of the number of  "he/she's crawling!" posts I've seen on Facebook in the last couple of weeks.  I had over 30 Facebook friends all pregnant at the same time I was expecting Turkey, and since they're all between 7 and 10 months, the mobility posts have taken over.

And once again, I calculate how much younger they are than my child.  Who is not crawling.  Who is not rocking on her hands and knees.  Who can't even stay on her hands and knees if you put her there.  Who can't get from lying to sitting.  But who will let you know very loudly if she wants to be sitting and is stuck on her tummy.

The pulling up posts are also starting to pile up.  Me?  Well, I haven't even dropped the crib down yet.  She's able to reach over her head and pull, and she's working towards being able to pull onto her knees, but we're not there yet.

It is natural for parents to brag about their baby, share their accomplishments, post adorable pictures of the newly developed skills.  And I enjoy seeing them.  I really do.  I rejoice with them.  It is exciting to watch your child go from stuck in one place to being on the move.

But once again, I find myself identifying more with special needs parents.  I find myself going to the blogs of special needs moms for encouragement.

In a way, I feel like this is demeaning to those who truly have special needs kids.  What my family has is nothing compared to them.  We have no feeding tubes, no list of surgeries to perform, no wheelchairs or walkers or braces.  No ventilators.  Yet I find myself drawn to them.  They understand the worry, the fear, the "is she ever going to get this?"  They understand the looks you get when you tell someone your child can't do something their child has been doing for 4 months.  They understand the feeling of failure you get when you reach the developmental milestones portion of the well child exam.  They understand the self-doubt, the "what did I do or not do to cause this?"  The "should I not have eaten that cold cut sandwich at Subway in my 4th month?"

Thankfully, Turkey is so little that for the most part, I'm still being asked in the nursery "can she sit up?"  They think of her as ~6 months.  With Ladybug, she was chunky enough that she looked her age or older, which made the questions start sooner.  And no one means anything by the questions.  It's just usual conversation material for baby mamas.  But when you constantly feel like you're behind the curve, it can get uncomfortable.  I logged onto babycenter to update a few people on the status of Ladybug's ultrasound, and I saw a ton of posts on potty training.  We have a child's potty.  Somewhere.  I have no idea where.  And I haven't even thought to look for it because we don't need it.  I know some would say it's early to potty train, and that may be, but there sure are a lot of folks doing it.

Ah well... this is part of motherhood I never thought I'd encounter.  I suppose I thought my children would be perfect, and I would be perfect, and we would have this beautiful, right on schedule or a little early family.  Complete with the white picket fence.  With cookies cooling on the stove and everything put away but a few classic toys.  With clean faces and nice clothes, mom included.  And the perfect dog and cat who never climbed the screens or deposited dead birds on the porch, who never chew up a cloth diaper and eat the poop that was on it.

Yeah, right. I guess I'm getting my reality check.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Five Minute Friday!


This word conjures up so many thoughts in my mind.  As someone who has struggled with eating disorders, I have battled with this word.

Now, what do I consider beautiful?  If I'm really honest?

Pudgy knees with scabs.  Pudgy cheeks with dried sweet potato mush on them.

The first "nigh nigh" I received from my oldest daughter this evening as I left her room for the evening.

The joyous "mama!" I hear when I enter her room in the morning.

The sound of jabbering between sisters, neither of whom can talk, but who seem to be making sense to each other.

This is beauty.

The mournful sounds of nature are full of beauty.  The cry of the wolf, the hoot of the owl, that cooing of the mourning dove.  Beautiful.

The quiet sounds of rain on the roof and window.  The rhythm of the windshield wipers as I drive sleeping babies home.

The wildflower picked and brought to me by a grubby toddler.

The first crayon marks.  The grin when she realizes she did it.

What am I leaving out?  What is noticeably absent?


After children come, I fade into the background.  My imperfections, many that they are, no longer matter to me as much.  Because my life is filled with beauty in so many other, different ways.


This is written as part of community of bloggers who spend five minutes simply writing, with no editing, no pondering, just writing what pops into their heads given a certain word.  It's a challenge to myself, to get a coherant thought out in five minutes and to stop when I promise I will.  And it's fun to read what others have written.  Come join us at Lisa-Jo's blog. 

A Rainy Pedde 4th of July

It may be a holiday in most people's books, but for us it was shaping up to be just another rainy dreary stuck inside day, like any other rainy dreary stuck inside day.  DaDa (the Mechanic) was in another state working, Grandma was in another state vacationing with the aunts and uncles and cousins.  So this is what we did to make the day just a little different from every other day of the week.

We started out splashing in puddles. 

Then we needed to document Turkey's first 4th in her patriotic outfit. 

Then it was time for sister pictures. 

Which quickly dissolved into giggles. 

And proof that even sisters wrestle, or whatever this is.

Then we had watermelon.  I think Turkey was shocked by
the size of what I was offering her. 

Of course we have to touch it. 

Finally giving it a try...

Not initially impressed. 

Ladybug was more than happy to put
both forks to use.

Turkey: "Eeeww"
Ladybug: "Mmmmm"



More balls!


Because the fireworks were rained out, and both children
and both dogs were all fighting over Cheerios,
we went to Grandma's empty house to find fireworks on TV.

"Mom, I'm tired, why are we sitting here?" 

Ladybug figured out why we were there! 

"Oh hey, this is pretty neat!"

Not quite the same as being in DC,
but we had a better view.

Fireworks with credits... oh well.
Did the best we could!


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Cheerio Years

I am in the midst of the Cheerio years.  

The years of crunching Cheerios beneath my feet, finding them stuck between my toes, discovering them in my bed, having them fall out of my shirt, cleaning them out of my car.  

I've found them in the diaper bag.  I've found them in my purse.  I've found their crumbs in my wallet.  

And the couch.  Oh my.  It's no longer a couch.  It's a Cheerio refuge.  Protected from being smashed by either feet or gums, they take up residence under the cushions and multiply. 

I vaguely remember hearing a young mother say, years before I had children, "they're everywhere!"  I didn't understand.  Now, I do. 

They're everywhere.  

They should make a Cheerio doll series.  Dress them up as ninjas, undercover agents, army men.  Market them with the slogan "they're coming to get you."

I wanted these years.  I dreamed of these years.  I longed for the years of crayons and cheerios and cartoons.  

And now that I'm ankle deep in Cheerios, I find myself gripping my hair singing "lalalala I'm going crazy!"  

I love my life.  I love my children.  I love the Cheerio years.  Yet at the same time, I'm going nuts.  Messes accumulate faster than I can clean them up.  Do you have any idea how long it takes to clean up a bowl of dropped Cheerios?  The fastest way I've discovered is to go out the front door, untie the dogs, and tell them "go eat."  And they dash towards the high chairs.  

In the midst of these Cheerio years, I'm also being squeezed by every other part of life.  And pulled in many directions.  

I'm supposed to be packing so that we can go to Michigan.  15+ hours.  Over 600 miles.  With two Cheerio eaters and two furry Cheerio cleaners.  If we go.  We may not go.  We may be leaving this Friday.  We may leave next Friday.  We may not leave at all.  

I'm supposed to be packing to move.  When we move.  Which is in question.  We may move next week.  We may move the following week.  It may be next month.  We may move just up the road a few hours.  We may move out of state.  We may move to the other side of the country.  

I'm supposed to be unpacking.  Sort of.  I'm supposed to clean the house to a liveable condition.  To access the printer cords, the jumperoo seat, the half a dozen other things that would be really nice to have available.  I'm supposed to be unpacking and getting rid of and organizing and repacking.  

And I'm supposed to hand out Cheerios.  And clean up Cheerios.  And feed my children and dogs something besides Cheerios.  

Anyone else understanding why I'm a bit stressed right now?  And don't even let me start on finances... wow. 

Somehow I thought the Cheerio years would be monotonous.  This is not monotonous at all.  Oh what I wouldn't give for some monotony.  Being able to look ahead and think "this is never going to end.  I'm stuck with this for the foreseeable future."  The only way my life can be considered monotonous is in the chaos, or in the tiny little details like changing diapers.  (Oh yes, Cheerios are found in diapers too.  How they miss the mouth and still end up in the diaper, when the child is wearing a onesie, still baffles me.)

These are more than the Cheerio years.  These are the Chaotic Cheerio years.  Not only am I herding cats, I'm attempting to herd them through a maze that keeps changing.  

What am I to do?  How does one cope with Chaotic Cheerio years?  I find myself laughing at other moms and their problems.  And I chastise myself for doing so.  But then I laugh again.  Just today, I was belly laughing over a woman who posted "Two kids under 2.5?!?!?!?!"  Especially when she wondered how she would survive, if she would ever sleep again, how she'd give them both enough attention.  I see that and think, wow, her kids are kind of far apart!  I read about the crisis other moms go through, "oh, little one hit her head on the bookshelf today!"  Whoopdefreakindo.  In the last 3 months... well never mind.  I do know of a few other children who have been through far more than my kids.  

But it does cause me to get cynical.  Because I have the idea that what I go through is so much worse than what others go through.  That my children have so many more problems than most others.  

But, in all honesty, so what?  Even if it's true, which it's not, does that give me the right to laugh at others in a mean way?  Does it give me license to get really irritated with people who park in the space reserved for those with young children when they don't even have a car seat in their fancy SUV?  

No.  It doesn't.  

How should I be coping with the Chaotic Cheerio years?  With grace.  With humility.  With a gentle and quiet spirit. 


I clearly can't do that alone.  But the song playing right now says "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble and mild, and you will find rest for your soul."

We're not promised rest for our bodies. I'm not promised that my toddler won't wake me shrieking at the top of her lungs three times again tonight.  I'm not promised that my bank account will suddenly be filled with funds tomorrow.  I'm not promised the perfect, allergen free home near campus along with a job offer for the Mechanic that not only pays $30 an hour and has great health insurance but that will also provide us with $2000 for the move.  I'm not promised that my child's eczema and allergy to mosquito bites will disappear tomorrow.  

What I am promised, is rest for my soul.  What I am promised, is peace.  What I am promised, is that I will be led by the peaceful and quiet waters.  Not in my physical body.  But in my spirit.  And if I allow my spirit to rest by those peaceful and quiet waters, that will nourish, refresh, and calm my mind and body.  

My challenge, then, to myself more than anyone, is to allow myself to be still and calm, for a few minutes a day, to be near those peaceful and quiet waters.  

And this post went an entirely different direction than I intended it to go.  Oh well... this was better anyway.