Tag: love

My Sweet Kids

My Sweet Kids

I never knew what I was in store for when I became a mom.

Karissa was fun, curious, and energetic. We read, played, laughed, and loved for 13 months. We had our struggles, too, but it was amazing. But I was so scared. People would tell me that she was going to hate and resent her little sister. I was terrified that she would hate both of us, that she would hate me.

I wanted her to have a sister though. I wanted her to experience that form of love–a sister is a unique, special bond that is ineffable. I can’t imagine life without my sister.

Then Madilyn was born. My second all natural birth, how lucky and amazing. Karissa didn’t like seeing another baby nursing, but she slept in the hospital bed with us. She was curious and excited. She was also jealous and still is sometimes. No big deal, she is human. She fell in love with her little sister. So did I.

Madilyn, my love, I had no idea how awesome you are when you were born a year ago; you were this screaming little mess that had been resuscitated and handed to me. You are adventurous and fearless, you are smart and strong. You have an amazing big sister. You are always happy and your laughter is music to my ears. Your sweet smile makes my heart melt.

I am so thankful that those people were wrong. I am so happy that I had both of you 13 months apart. You spend every waking moment together, and nearly every moment of the day is pure joy. I never knew how much love I would feel. I never knew how protective and scared I could be. I never expected that you two would change my life in different ways and make me into a new person. I am stronger, better, and wiser because of you two.

A year ago tomorrow our family grew one stronger. Happy birthday little miss Madilyn.

Raising Assertive Kids

Raising Assertive Kids

Something I’ve been worried about since the day Karissa was first born is unwittingly passing on pushover syndrome. I want her to be strong, confident, and able. How do you teach that?

So much of parenting is flying by the seat of your pants. It creeps up unexpectedly, and then suddenly you’re in a seriously significant moment. It’s easy to not even notice, but that little growing, budding child is now your audience, looking to you for guidance.

Today the girls got shots. Karissa got MMR and she was VERY unhappy about it. We tried to cheer her up and go about our routine, so we took her to a thrift store that we frequent. She was playing near a 5 or 6 year old boy.

It was friendly and nice at first, but something weird happened. The boy began playing in the halloween section and came over to her in a Nixon mask. She was freaked out–and rightfully so, Nixon is a scary looking fellow! So he found this amusing and decided to start sort of following her around in halloween masks with props…where his parents are I have no idea. Great. Some kid is terrorizing my two year old.

We didn’t even really notice until he came over with a different mask. He had upgraded from Nixon to some monster mask and she whimpered and clung to me. “I want mommy.” Poor baby.

“Is that boy bothering you?” I asked her, frowning as I pick her up. Madilyn is strapped to my other hip.

“Yeah.”

He pulls the mask up and smiles. He wasn’t even being malicious, he was just enjoying the attention.

I continued, “is he scaring you?”

“Yeah.”

And here we were in this odd situation where I had to help her. I could tell her to ignore him, or tell him to leave her alone, or any number of options. I didn’t realize all of the options or their implications at the time, of course, I just told her what made sense to me:

“Tell him no. If you don’t like it, tell him NO, GO AWAY.”

And in her sweet little voice she shyly echoed my words: “No, go away.”

“Baby, you need to say it like you mean it. Say it like mommy talks when she is trying to get you to listen.”

She smiled a little. “NO. Go away.”

“Very good. If you don’t like something then it’s okay to say how you feel. If you want to be left alone just say GO AWAY.”

She smiled a little and we were talking and he comes back over swinging a plastic scythe at her. She started to bury her head in my chest and I said, “No baby, tell him.”

She looks at him. “Go away.” He looked surprised, turned around, and left.

My girl stood up for herself. She was very pleased with herself and I told her that I was impressed. As we were walking to the car she said in her sweet little two year old voice, “Thank you mommy.”

“For what, ┬ábaby?”

“Mommy helped. Mommy taught Kissa.”

And the emotions that I felt in that moment, and that I feel now remembering that, are simply ineffable.

 

Happy Mother’s day!

Happy Mother’s day!

Man, I am feeling burnt out lately. It’s just this stage with Madi that’s rough, I think. I don’t know if it’s common, but Karissa went through this too–around 5 months it’s like they’re stuck in their bodies, bored, immobile, and just sick and tired of it. Madi is super pleasant and happy until she’s not, and then suddenly it’s like a black cloud of inconsolable cries rolls in. I remember the few months with Karissa before she learned how to crawl being long and hard, and here I am again, only this time Karissa is going through it too. Boy, she is not a fan, haha. I tell her that we will be through it soon but I’m not sure that she believes me.

Anyway, I’m here feeling like my whole body just wants to melt into jello at the end of every day and then I’m up and at it again in the morning. We’re walking a bunch of times a day out of boredom (and because mommy has a heck of a lot of weight to lose) and I just really understand the meaning of tired. Almost anywhere we go someone says something like, “Oh, that must be hard,” “You’ve got your hands full,” or “Wow, you must be busy.” I don’t really feel like my job is hard or busy because I love my kids and I’m usually having a lot of fun, plus I am extremely lucky that I get to take care of my kids, but I do have to admit that it is exhausting.

So, Mother’s day is upon us, and I’m suddenly so very grateful for a day dedicated to moms. I don’t rightly know how I do it, I don’t know how other moms do it, and I don’t know how my mom did it, but kudos to every mom ever. We are a bold, hard, and probably underappreciated workforce. We’re the glue holding all the household crazy together–we’re crazy glue!

Well I sure am missing my mom these days as I am learning just how much motherhood is about getting to know yourself. I’m a year and a half in and I’m discovering parts of myself that I had no idea were there. I’m finding patience–like woah, I have never been patient but evidently having babies planted some magical patience seeds in me that are beginning to sprout, which is great because I really need them. I’m discovering a vast reservoir of understanding and empathy that I was unaware of until recently, so that’s been a great resource that I hope holds out. The most important thing that I’m learning in all of this is self-appreciation.

Our children will learn from the example that we set, so we should demonstrate that while we love them and they are important, sometimes we need to step back and love ourselves first. We need to show them that this is how healthy, functional people behave and how quality relationships are built. Even if it’s as simple as 5 minutes alone in the shower (which is my nightly ritual at the moment), it’s important to keep in touch with yourself.┬áThis sounds cheesy, but for Mother’s day I’m considering buying myself some cheap flowers and writing myself a love note. I feel like that would be a great therapeutic exercise for me, and would you even believe that I made it up myself? Sounds like some genuine Dr. Phil type stuff.

I remember back when I thought that being a mom would be all sunshine and roses (which it is, but with little interjections of poop and screaming throughout the day) and chuckle. So today I would just like to remind you to give yourself a little loving pat on the back for keeping the kids alive through another day–heck, they might have even gotten fed and bathed. Try to hold on to those great, indescribable moments, like the look of joy when they taste solid food for the first time, the first little giggles and smiles, and the look in your kid’s eyes before they give you a hug. Sure, it’s not easy when they’re laying on the floor screaming because you asked them if they wanted you to take their socks off and you aren’t sure what to do, but at the end of the day when I look at my angels I really feel like love conquers all.