Posted in Uncategorized

Dear first time parents: Just you wait

Yes, this.
I love parenting perspectives that aren’t cynical or devoid of the truly amazing thing it is to be someone’s parent.

This Heart...

When it comes to parenting, there may be nothing more painful than child-birth. 

Actually, that’s not true.

Not long after feeling fully recovered from delivering my son, I realized something slightly disturbing: labor and delivery might just be the easiest part of parenting. 

That first year felt like both the longest year in the history of everything, and also the quickest. There were dozens of reasons why.

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Adjusting to breast-feeding, a lack of sleep, dealing with a sick infant for the very first time, bumps on their head when they became mobile, guilt for not enjoying every moment. 

I felt both lonely and overwhelmed, which I never thought was possible. 

Sometimes, when I tried to verbalize those feelings, I would get this in return, the three words perhaps no new parent wants to hear: just you wait. 

Just you wait until they’re walking. 

Just you wait until they’re RUNNING

Just…

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Posted in Uncategorized

When Motherhood Feels Big

Spot on

This Heart...

It was one of those kinds of days.

The kind of day where you spend what feels like half of it stuck in traffic, banging your face against the steering wheel and the other half of it bowing to the whims of a toddler in what amounts to a futile effort to keep your sanity.

It’s the kind of day where you don’t care if the person sitting in the car in front of you with the license plate from Virginia sees you crinkle your face while you try to hold back tears of frustration.

I don’t have an answer for why the other day seemed so wrong, except:

It seems obnoxiously huge, this motherhood thing.

I knew that I was supposed to celebrate being a mom on mother’s day, and as much as I couldn’t wait to seen my children’s chicken scratch on the inside of a card, and see…

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Posted in Toddler

36 Things I’ve Learned in 36 Months of Parenting

Please read this with the caveat that I only know how to parent the child I currently have. But in general I’ve learned….

1. All the words to “Goodnight Moon”. Literally, all the words- by heart. I can ( and have) recite the entire book as a performance piece.

2. TV isn’t the devil. Be selective about what and when, and TV can actually be a spark for creativity ( and sanity).

3. Some kids don’t like typical kid things. By some kids, I mean my kid. By typical kid things, I mean large birthday parties, playing in the snow, bath time, and … You get my point. It’s fine. Your kid is fine. 

4. You will survive the first hospital trip and subsequent stay, the first shots, the first high fever, the first bout of flu. It won’t be fun or easy ; you’ll feel raw the entire time, but the next time won’t be as bad.

5. Finger painting and crafty activities should ALWAYS coincide with bath day.

6. If the child pukes ON the dog, fight your natural instinct and clean the dog first. The dog is going to shake that puke all over your walls; your child will be okay waiting till you put (throw) the dog outside.

7. You can never have too many dinosaurs or too much play dough.

8. Pediatricians run late 80% of the time- prepare accordingly because kids get sick A LOT.

9. Your toddler is going to act out in public. And someone with an infant will look at you and say, ” My child will NEVER behave that way.” Resist the urge to physically attack this person, smile and sweetly say, ” Wow, I hope you’re right.” And then just wait….

10. If your infant/baby doesn’t like to be passed around, it’s fine to say so. People will roll their eyes at you and criticize you for your parenting, but -AND HERE’S THE REAL LESSON- they are going to do that anyway. At least you’ll have stood up for your baby and you won’t have to deal with an overstimulated, screaming baby for the rest of your evening.

11. Take pictures of the whole family. Often, I’m the one behind the camera (phone), so I’m not in the picture. I rely on other people to take pictures of me with my son and husband (and future baby). Please take pictures with the mom included.

12. The play area at any mall is actually a toddler version of The Hunger Games.

13. Always over-prepare. Bring extra everything (especially snacks), have a car bag full of more, and pray it all goes well.

14. Kids are going to pick their own nose. No one needs to teach them. Same with burping and farting.

15. Pick your battles in terms of grandparents and their grandparent privilege. Some extra sugar is no big deal, teaching the kid to “pull my finger” or burp on cue are much bigger deals (in my opinion). Decide what matters and only speak up when it does.

16. If you don’t want your child to learn a behavior- don’t show them the behavior. If you want your toddler to speak to adults with respect, show him how ,everyday. If you want your toddler to whine and complain, show him how, everyday. It’s all the same lesson and same methodology.

17. Comparing kids, even your own, is a no win game. You are going to lose. I promise (Same rule applies to husbands, houses, waistlines, and bank accounts).

18. Your child will absolutely sleep thru the night when you have insomnia.

19. Don’t apologize when your kid acts like a KID. Children are not small adults. They are young people who are still learning how to socialize and BE in our world. They are going to yell, cry, grab things, hit, puke, poop, say ridiculous things, and generally not cooperate with our adult world. It’s developmental- if they don’t do those things, you need to worry.

20. Everyone is going to give you advice. Repeat after me, “Hmm, I hadn’t considered that. I’ll have to give that some thought.” THE END.

21. If Grandma says the baby needs to go to the doctor- go to the doctor. She’s done this before. You won’t regret the copay.

22. Don’t make your bed. Because even when you do, the toddler (and Daddy) will destroy it playing “tent”. As my son says, “That’s his job”.

23. Write down the cute things, record the way they say zebra- find some way to file those idiosyncrasies in your memory. You swear you will remember everything, and you’ll try – but it’s impossible.

24. Give your child opportunities for other people to love them. And while other people are loving on your kid, love on your husband.

25. You are not right all the time. No one is. It’s okay. Use the times you are wrong to teach your child HOW to be wrong.

26. You need friends who are moms (and dads). These people will become your support staff and fun night out. I didn’t realize this for so long because I felt guilty leaving my son to go out to dinner with friends. But I need these people.

27. You know that thing you hate? The one that grates your very last nerve- your kid is going to do it (your husband probably taught him).

28. Outfits don’t have to match. They just have to be seasonally appropriate and on the child’s body.

29. Get over your poop issues. It’s going to be a major part of your life (Why do kids need to announce they are pooping?!)

30. Sharing is not a natural trait. It is a learned skill. Adults don’t share the prized possessions we ask kids to share. I’ve had a lot of luck teaching my son to take turns. The other day he asked for a turn with my glasses and my wedding ring…

31. Don’t be mad at your husband because he doesn’t act like you. He’s not supposed to. Together you make the perfect team for your child.

32. Hold them while they sleep. Let them sit on your lap. Hold their hand. Look at them when they talk to you. You aren’t babying them. You cannot ever give too much love. 

33. Whether you work or stay home, it’s all hard. It’s just a different hard. Respect the sacrifices that are made.

34. Keep chocolate in the house.

35. You will despise your pets for the first few weeks after you bring your newborn home. That’ll go away.

36. Be kind. Kind to yourself. Kind to your husband. Kind to your child. Kindness is an under-appreciated approach to life. No one cares if your floors are clean if you are kind. Kind does not mean soft. Kind does not mean weak. Kind is the only way to approach the hard life we all live. Kind is the only way to raise a child to be a successful adult. You will never regret kindness. 

Happy third birthday to my funny, wonderful boy (who insists he’s a baby elephant). You made me a mother and changed the course of Daddy and I’s lives forever. We love you and love learning along side of you! wpid-10203137249017258.jpg

Posted in Baby Stuff

Remember…

Important Post-delivery Lessons I Learned Last Time ( and want to remember next time)

1. During labor and after delivery, you need to speak up. People ready do want to help, but ” baby fever”
renders the typical person helpless. The obsession to hold the baby overtakes reason- eventually people begin to believe they ARE helping by holding your new born for hours. Instead of feeling full breasts and resentment, ask these people to help in specific ways while you bond with your baby. For me, having help w laundry, food, running essential errands too the store, and yes- occasionally holding the baby so I could shower were all very helpful. The next time around, I will need help with my toddler so I plan on asking.

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2. Cute baby clothes are a moot point when your child has reflux. In hindsight, I should have exclusively dressed my son in yellow to match his spit up.

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3. Your world is not over if one of the following happens: the baby pukes on you, the baby poops on you, you don’t vacuum the dirty floor, you don’t get a daily shower, you fight with your spouse for the first month. These are typical transitional occurrences. Next time, I hope I can roll with things a little easier; maybe even laugh a little.

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4. Producing breast milk is a natural occurrence . Breastfeeding is a learned skill, and it’s a challenging one. If nursing is important to you, spend the time and energy learning how-get help and support.

5. Those “What to Expect” books are really interesting, but I wish I had spent less time wondering when my baby could hear in utero and more time learning how to take care of my son after he was born. A typical pregnancy is the easiest part of parenting- you always know where they are, they are constantly fed, they don’t cry, and you don’t have to worry about entertaining them. Parenting is far harder after they are out- I wish I had spent more time learning what to do once we got him home.

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Leaves!

6. Baby shoes are pointless. They are cute, but useless things you will lose .

7. The people around you need to know the signs of postpartum depression and anxiety. Ask them to keep an eye on you. Often, others have a more accurate perception of how you are doing. Allow people to look out for you.
Postpartum depression and anxiety are not indicators of your ability to parent. They are indicators of your hormonal, chemical, or emotional needs and balances. Getting help is not only necessary- it is an act of love and responsibility to yourself and your child.

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8. A mother’s instinct is a gift from God. You will feel certainties about your baby, not immediately- but eventually, for me it took a few weeks. These certainties are nudges to care the best way for your child. Listen to your heart. Each time you listen to your intuition- you hone that skill. You are the perfect parent for your child.

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9. Go outside. A new baby is so life changing it is overwhelming. My life got very small which freaked me out. But taking a walk reminded me that life continued beyond my crying son. It was refreshing to see daily life go on.

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10. You will be more tired than you ever imagined possible. You will not like it. You will survive.
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11. As hard as this time is, as put out and empty as you feel, see your spouse as your team member and friend. Remember to actively love each other, especially on the hardest days.

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Posted in Toddler

The Toddler Instructions for Dressing

1. Tags make clothing poisonous. If you see a tag scream, run away, kick and thrash like the cat does when you hug it. It helps to scream, ” No tag!” while completing the above actions.

2. Tags cannot be removed while you are wearing the item of clothing. How many times have we been lectured that scissors are sharp?! All clothing must be removed before tags are cut off.

3. Repeat step 1.

4. Blue may be your favorite color, but you must refuse to wear it every third day. Same with stripes, yellow, and white. In fact, the only shirt you agree to wear is the one you dumped yogurt on yesterday.

5. Pants with buttons, zippers, and visible seams are HARD ( SHARP is also an acceptable adjective). Refuse these pants. Negotiate for SOFT pants – these will typically be pajamas which means your mom won’t want to take you out ( this also means you don’t have to wear shoes).

6. If there are witnesses present, any anti-clothing protests must escalate from non- violent to extremely spastic ( double toddler points if the witness is a grandmother).

7. If you are successfully dressed before lunch, you are required to destroy your clothing so it must be replaced. Follow instructions 1-5 for replacement clothing.

8. All socks feel “bad”. They must be adjusted regularly ( with loud commentary).

9. Socks and shoes are totally optional once you get in the car. Take them off regularly, but wait until the driver is actually driving .

10. Nothing feels as good as naked; strip regularly.

Upon successful competion of steps 1-10, you must follow thru to
Step 11: total, devastating cuteness coupled with affection. Steps 1-10 have potential to break your parent, in order to convince them to continue as your personal slave, you must appeal to their weakest trait- love and devotion. Now is the time to give voluntary hugs and ” I love you”.

Failure to follow these rules, may result in parents believing they are in “charge” or “have a good idea” what they are doing. As toddlers, we must fight against parental mastery and superiority at all opportunities.

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Toddlers unite against the constricting bonds of hem lines and buttons!

Posted in Uncategorized

Finally

Well, now that we have finally announced out, I can come back and explain my absence: I am 13 weeks pregnant!
I couldn’t write because I couldn’t talk about the pregnancy until now, so I’m back-and I have so much to say!!!
My upcoming posts:
* 1st trimester torture
* All the ways I’ll do this labor and delivery differently
* Second pregnancy, second thoughts, second wind
* Understanding the actual meaning of “tired”
And whatever else I need to unload on you wonderful people!