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Archive for the ‘parenthood’ Category

Recognizing Love

I am not sure how to title this post but I am definitely sure that I want to share this. 

As a parent, my highest priority is keeping my child safe, healthy, and aware of how much she is loved. These are things that I am OK with her taking for granted for now because I don’t want her to realize yet how different things are in other houses for other little children around the world.

The other night we were doing our usual which consists of hanging out watching some random cartoon after her bath and before her bedtime. Sometimes we do this on the couch in the living room. This time we were propped up smack in the middle of my king sized bed watching The Wonder Pets. Its a favorite time of day for me hanging out with my pajama-clad cutie, smelling like Johnson and Johnson Baby Shampoo. Like I sometimes do, I snuggled Sophia into me, right in between between my right arm and the right side of my body. I gave her a squeeze and leaned down to kiss the top of her head. In response, she said to me , “I love you, too, Mommy.”

:::::sigh:::::

That little girl can melt my heart faster than anything else on this earth. I never said a word. I did not tell her I loved her. She just knew by my actions that I loved her. That she recognized this blew me away.

It is my greatest wish that she always remember how much I love her. She is close to three years old now…but she will be 13 and horomonal one day! I need to save this blog for when she thinks I am trying to ruin her life just by breathing the same air she does.

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Those are Sophie’s words, not mine, and she is sticking to it.

We are DONE with diapers. A couple of weeks ago, before Easter weekend, Sophie’s teacher told me to bring plenty of clothes and Sophie in panties on Monday. I have to admit – I did not think Sophie was ready. I had tried a few times at home (and blogged about it) and had no success. To the point that Sophie regressed. Enclosed in those two sentences are some of my most frustrating moments as a parent. It wasn’t pretty. I decided to wait until Sophie gave me the indication that she was ready and apparently, her teacher thought we were there.

I swallowed my doubt and took the, “if you say so” approach. My initial plan of action was to do only what she said – bring Sophie in panties on Monday. Not work with her myself beforehand. But then I started feeling guilty. Did I want to be that mom? If the teacher can do it, so can I. More importantly, if the teacher says Sophie can do it – why should I doubt that Sophie can?

So we did it.

Saturday morning I put Sophie in panties…and she has been in panties ever since. I am still kind of in shock about it and so proud I can barely stand myself. It’s amazing to me that she can go from one extreme to the next without any kind of warning. Well, if she gave a warning, I missed the signs.

I have to admit that, at least initially, I was not so brave to try at night – all night – even though Sophie stayed dry through her nap times. I like to sleep. My weekends are my only time to really sleep. The problem was that Sophie refused to put on a pull-up before bedtime and stated to me, “Diapers are for babies, panties are for big girls.”  Who was I to fight her?  So she went to bed in panties…and about an hour after she fell asleep I snuck in and strapped a pull up over her panties. I felt so guilty about this, too, especially when she would wake up dry the next morning! But I sucked up that guilt and snuck in every night for 6 nights. On the 7th night I let her go pull-up free…and we have only had 2 nighttime accidents since.

Its been two weeks. After the first two days basically accident free, we have had a few accidents here and there. Some at daycare, a few at home, and a couple at night. And that is OKAY! Its normal. It does not frustrate me, it does not stress me out because I know my child is trying and wants to be in panties. I am doing laundry a little more often than I was 2 weeks ago but am ultimately thrilled about it. Talk about a bizarre realization.

There is nothing cuter than my Pookie’s little tush in a pair of Dora the Explorer panties.

We are officially a diaper-free household! Well, once I can figure out who to give all of our left over pull-ups to!

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Shortly after Sophia was born…and I say shortly because I cannot remember quite how long it had been…my husband and I were laying around and talking about love. How we love each other, how we love Sophie, and how interesting it is that you can love something so much and love something just as much but in such a different way. I have been thinking about this a lot lately because soon we will have another child to love and everyone tells me the same thing – the amount of love is the same but the love is still different.

Sitting here now, thinking back on that day and our deep discussion, I cannot help but smile. My husband, in his infinite wisdom, was attempting to describe to me the difference between me and Sophie. If you know my husband then you know that it usually comes down to food…and this time was not different. I think I heard the little lightbulb spark over his head before he said, “Babe, you are like Filet Mignon. But Sophie…Sophie is Filet Mignon wrapped in bacon.”

And there you have it. How I rate.

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And I already feel bad for it in strange little ways. I also feel kooky for feeling bad.

When I found out I was pregnant with Sophie, it was all about this baby growing in my belly. My world, our world, revolved around it.  What would it look like? Would it be a boy or a girl? The thought and preparation that went into this new and small life was immediate and profound. The last two and a half years with her in our life has been just about the same…its all about her. Yeah, sure – we do not let her know that. The kid enjoys being the center of attention enough without realizing that she is the center of our world. I will tell her that when she is older.

But if that was not bad enough (well, I am not entirely sure its bad) this new pregnancy is all about her, too. How will she react? Will she love the baby right away – or will she resent it? Will I be a good mommy of two? Will I be able to give each of my children the same amount of love and affection? Already…I cannot imagine loving anything the way I love Sophia. I know I will but the idea is foreign to me at the moment.

Don’t get me wrong. We are thrilled. We are so totally thrilled and excited about having another child. I am just as amazed with the changes my body is going through this time around. This pregnancy feels very different, almost as if this new baby is already trying to differentiate itself from its older sister. Just like when I was pregnant with Sophie, I am amazed at the love I can feel for a being I have never set eyes on. The movements are just starting to become familiar which is very exciting because I enjoyed that part of being pregnant so much with Sophie. The communication between me and my unborn child. Pregnancy is still an incredible experience.

I realize already that this baby will have a challenge on its hands. It will come into the world as a second child. Me, my husband, our families – we have been here before. It’s not a fresh new experience. I forget I am pregnant at times. I know my family, and friends, do too. It’s this, “ooh, yeah. Thats right” type of thing. My motherly instinct is already in protective mode over this new little person. Sophie had it easy by comparison. She had this path of pink roses before her and practically a choir of angels to greet the first child and grandchild. This baby is being born into utter chaos….a family of three who are happily waiting for it, yes….but chaos nonetheless. No choir of angels this time around. Instead our home echoes cartoons and nursery rhymes spoken at high octaves by a rambunctious (almost) 3-year-old. This baby will have a very strong-willed older sister to butt heads with – while Sophie had no competition whatsoever. As a first-born child myself, I find myself wanting to apologize to my sister.  I sorta kinda stole her thunder didn’t I?

Granted, this is all the anticipation talking. I have no idea how things will go when this baby is born. How we will all react. It could be a path of roses and choir of angels all over again, right? Who knows. It’s an experience I have yet to have. I will make a note to let you know.

In the meantime, my daughter swears that the baby now growing in my belly is a baby girl. If you ask Sophia what she wants to name the baby she replies, “Super Baby.” I think the title is apt. I am currently on a search for a teeny tiny cape.

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NO means NO…or YES!

“No” is Sophie’s favorite and most constant word besides, “Dora”. I am not kidding. With as many words and sentences coming out of my child’s mouth NO is the one I hear the most and intensely dislike. Is it so wrong for me to expect some immediate acquiescence to whatever it is I want her to do?

I thought it would be funny for me to note the many shades of “no” that Sophie has.

  • There is the shouted and firm, “NO!” that I am pretty sure she has learned from me and her father. Its usually paired with her plopping her bottom on the ground as if she is digging herself in for the long haul and nothing you (or me, apparently) can make her move. Silly Sophie…you are only 26 lbs, my dear.
  • Then there is the, “Nooo….” which is a little sing-songy and comes with a slow shake of her head.
  • One of my favorites is the, “Umm…..? No,” that almost immediately turns into a, “yeah!” Its one of my favorites because she says it so fast that she is going against what she thinks are my wishes until she realizes that, “wait a minute – that is something I like to do!” At two, her immediate instinct is to go against the grain. Lord help me.
  • As of Sunday our newest version of “no” is, “No thanks!” which sounds like, “No tanks!” This one is pretty funny. I have been trying to teach her, “No, thank you” just because its more polite than the no’s you read above. But no. She catches on to one of her father’s most favorite, sarcastic phrases, “No thanks.”

Part 2 of this blog is my reaction.

Obviously, I cannot let NO be the end of it. She responds with it when I ask her a question or when I tell her to do something. She does not seem to notice the difference. I am trying to give her choices between two items instead of asking her straight out but this is not possible with everything. 

I will be honest and say that NO drives me crazy.

Initially I was reacting with a firmness or whatever attitude kind of like, “There is no saying no, honey, its time to [change your diaper or take a bath]” whatever it is that she was saying no to. Sometimes that worked and other times it didn’t. Making it a game took too long – especially in the mornings which never seem to run on time.

Lately, I have been taking a page from my mom’s book. I tell Sophie in my sad little voice, “Oooh, Sophie. The word no makes mommy so sad when Sophie says it.” Sometimes I bow my head and cover my eyes for effect. Sophie is not the only drama queen in our house (I am talking about her father, obviously). This has been working like a charm! She comes over and pats me and says, “I sorry, mommy. It’s okay.” I secretly adore that little soothing pat on my head or shoulder. And then we go do what needed to get done. Since I started this I am getting NO from her less and less. This morning all I had to do was say it from her room into the hallway (she could only hear me, not see me) for her to run in all ready to get dressed with an, “okay, mommy!”

I am not above admitting that, “okay, mommy!” is one of my favorite phrases – if one of the most less often heard in my house.

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  1. I work outside the home.
  2. My child spends all day in daycare.
  3. I only nursed her until she was 3 months old.
  4. My husband cooks dinner most nights.
  5. I have been known to leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight.
  6. There is always, at least, one basket of unfolded laundry somewhere in my home.
  7. I hire a cleaning lady.
  8. I don’t own an a string of pearls or an apron.
  9. Sometimes, *gasp*, I don’t wear makeup all day.
  10. None of the above were listed in any special order.

I have decided that I would rather play with my child than do the dishes, fold laundry, or clean. So this means that by the time her bedtime comes around there are household chores left undone. Then, once my child goes to sleep, I like to actually spend time with my husband. Sometimes we even have sex. I much prefer that to doing the dishes, too.  Unlike June Cleaver, we do not own a matching pair of twin beds.

So, if  I appear a little disorganized or messy – if you stop by my house unannounced (or announced) and it looks a little (or a lot) upside down – oops. That just means that I was too busy raising my child or spending time with my husband and preserving my marriage to care.

Personally, I think I have my priorities in check. My drum is the only beat I bounce to.

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Mommy to the rescue??

This weekend I saved Sophia…or thought I was anyway. I am not sure if anyone other than a mom can really get what I mean because I am sure I would not have “gotten” this before I had Sophia.

Here is how it went down. We were at my family’s house for my dad’s birthday. There were about three adults in the pool with the two little ones under two years old. They were very well taken care of and looked after. I was outside the pool, fully dressed.

Sophia was sitting with her butt in a float in my parent’s pool. Her arms were in swimmies. She was hanging out and having a ball. I started to move closer to her so that I could take a picture of how cute she looked. All of a sudden I saw her start to tip backwards and in my mind’s eye everything happened in slow-motion or fast forward from there. My mind turned off and my body instinctively took over and before I knew it I was chest deep in my parent’s swimming pool, holding my child with one arm, while I had my parent’s camera (which I had been holding) above the water. Supermom to the rescue, right? Yeah…I thought. I ended up thoroughly embarrassed because at the same time I jumped in, my child righted herself so that she would not tip. My jumping in freaked her out more than almost falling in did.

…and there I was. Soaken wet from chest to foot – wearing the only bra I brought with me. So, what else is a mom to do but put the incident behind her, change into her bathing suit, toss the bra in the dryer, and join the pool-side fun.

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