Tag Archives: lessons

Don’t Let Me Forget

babyfinger(

(Image via gagaoverbabies.blogspot.com)

As I sit here, holding your perfect little 9lb 1oz body, a million thoughts run through my mind: “Holy cow- he’s mine!” “You seem so small, but 9lbs is big- isn’t it?” “I’m a mom!  Wait- I’m a MOM?” “How am I going to do this?  I can’t even keep a plant alive.”  And then you yawn and stretch and you grab my finger as if to say,”Don’t you DARE go anywhere mom- you’re mine, and I’m yours.  We’re in this together.”  And I pray,”Please, God- don’t let me forget this moment.”

I hear laughing (which is sometimes suspicious with boys), and I look in your room to see the two of you acting like whales- stretching up high while standing on the bed and “diving” onto the floor while making splashing sounds.  I grab the camera to record the moment, but deep down I know that watching a video of this years from now won’t be the same, and I pray,”Please- don’t let me forget.”

Its been a long day- it usually is when you’re a stay at home mom, or a mom at all, for that matter- and I’m watching the clock intently, willing it to move faster.  I look over to the living room and I see your 3 year old self, rocking out to The Backyardigans, complete with fantastic break dancing moves.  I think to myself,”This is what keeps me from selling you on EBay.”  You look at me, smile, and say,”Bee boop- I am a robot!”  I sigh, and pray,”Please, God- don’t let me forget.”

You’ve had a long day- we both have, but somehow it seems to have been harder on you.  I guess its tough being a toddler.  15 meltdowns, no nap, and a world record cry-fest, and you’re looking like you’ve gone a few rounds with a prize fighter- drained, red eyed, snot nosed, and ready to collapse.  What I wouldn’t give for you to finally pass out so I can relax!  You look at me, take take my hand, lead me to the rocker, and say in a shaky voice,”Hold you.”  I pick you up, gather your once-smallish body onto my lap, and listen as your breathing gets deeper.  I stare at your perfect face with the freckles I love sprinkled across your nose, much like your brother’s.  I can practically see the moment when your tired body finally gives in to the exhaustion, as a small smile creeps onto your face.  I breath deep, knowing that tomorrow will probably be the same as today and I pray,”Please, PLEASE, don’t let me forget this.”

You’ve got 3 older brothers with busy schedules; a busy mom and dad; and yet you smile through it all.  I can tell you’ve been watching me intently today as I’ve been cleaning the disaster that is our home, and suddenly I hear your tiny voice say,”Sit with me.”  I’ve still got floors to vacuum and counters to clean, but as I’m about to say,”In a little bit”, I realize I’ve been saying that to you all day.  Cleaning IS important, but I realized that all day I had been saying,”Cleaning is more important than you”, so I sit down.  You grab hold of my hand- much like your oldest brother did those many years ago- as if to say,”You aren’t going anywhere.”  And I don’t.  And I pray again,”Please, God- don’t let me forget.”

Advertisements

The “Ultra Super Secret” Secret to Parenting

Confession #305: Sometimes I want to prove to those that “know it all”, that they actually know NOTHING by giving them my kids for a week.

I’ve figured it out!

I have figured out the secret to parenting!

Do you want to hear it?

Ok, I’ll tell you.

Listen VERY carefully because if this secret gets around then grammas will lose all power to give “advice” and mothers in law will never again be able to torment their daughters in law with the “correct” way of doing things.

Now, seriously, pay attention because I have 3 kids and I grow weary of repeating myself:

The secret is to stop. 

Stop thinking there’s a secret that every other mom out there got and you were left out.  I’ve got news for you- there’s no secret club, no secret handshake, and the closest thing to a secret password is “Good night”.  Your mom and mother in law DO NOT know more than you.  Sure, they’ve had their kids- and one of them must have been amazing enough to either have grown up to be you or to marry you, but seriously, that’s where their insight stops.  Every child is different, and although they might have gotten their newborn to sleep through the night right after coming home from the hospital, breastfed effortlessly, had all of their children potty trained before they could put two words together, and were able to train all of their children to say “please” and “thank you” by the time they were 2- months, that is- it doesn’t mean squat.  #1, memories fade, and just like fishermen describing the fish that got away, mom stories tend to take on a life of their own the older their children get.  (Need more evidence about that?  Read HERE.)

Ya know, when my boys were born, they latched on the moment they popped out.  Practically jumped on the boob!

Ya know, when you were a child, I had you potty trained by the time you could walk- in fact, you took your first steps on the way to the potty!

You’re going to run into trouble if you don’t get that child to start sleeping through the night.  All my boys slept through the night from the first night they were born- 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.!

Seriously?  Lets stop the madness, shall we?  The secret to parenting- like I said, I’ve cracked the code, people- is to stop denying that its hard and to just deal.  I’m not going to continue to listen to all the advice- if you can call it such- of those that have gone on before me, for a multitude of reasons (not the least of which being that I think most of my forebearers are currently on crack).  Its usually not advice at all, but degrading comments wrapped up in a pretty packaging that shines brightly on their own parenting history.

#2-I’m my kiddos’ mom, and I know my kids and what they are and are not capable of- although someday I’ll probably come up with my own wacked out stories… oh, I’m sorry, “Mommytales”.  I know that no matter how much fun I make his bed seem, the Mini Master will still see it as a punishment and will fight with every fiber of his being to keep out of it. I know that Bug is, well, Bug, and he’s bright and funny, but he also fails to understand that his brothers are his BROTHERS, not his maids.  I know that Camo is a boy- not a patient with ADHD- and no amount of drugs is going to change that.

Well, maybe an amount, but nothing that would be good or legal.

In fact, if I was to pinpoint the ONE thing they ALL have in common?  Its that NONE of them are cookie cutter versions of either of their brothers, and I’ve had to change up my parenting style to fit each one.  Well, that, and I think the exhaustion level has increased.

These are the things that I know.

I think the main issue with parenting is when you have “those that have been there” coming to tell you everything you’re doing wrong.  It begins to make you question your own parenting skills and you start to wonder if there’s something wrong with your kids-or yourself- which actually CAN cause major problems.

I’m just all fired up because, apparently, I know nothing as a mom.  I’m doing it all wrong because my 2 1/2 year old still insists on sleeping with us and the other two are boys- active, forgetful, and rough.

And, to my amazement, not allowing any of them to die thus far doesn’t win me a mommy award.  Heck, it doesn’t even put me into the running for one!

Oh, btw, sorry if you only started to read this because you thought I knew it all.  I don’t.

However, if you’re still searching for the secret, I’m sure there are a multitude of moms, mother in laws, and Grammas out there just DYING to tell you their “secret”…

My Dearest Offspring…

Right now I’m sitting in your dad’s and my room, and I’m listening to a rare moment taking place- the 3 of you are playing together and I can’t hear any screams of torture or maiming.  It’s glorious.  My ‘Mommy-senses’ don’t have to be on full alert.

The 3 of you boys are currently pretty young in the grand scheme of things, and -although I’m sure you’d roll your eyes at me if you read this at this point in time and claim that you aren’t little- that includes you, too, Camo.  12, 6, and nearly 2 are ages that don’t have to worry about so many things yet.  However, you won’t always be so young, so if you should one day run across this, I hope you’ll read it and take what I say to heart.  I know if I was to mention this all to you right now, you’d ask when I was going to finish (about 5 minutes in) and start to fidget.  You’d undoubtably take a point I’m trying to make and think I’m picking on you and an argument might ensue.  Hopefully, if you’re reading this as an older, wiser, version of you, though, you’ll have mastered the art of patience and the ability to discern the difference between me “picking” on you and me looking out for you.

That brings me to my first thing I want to say.

#1- Do not- under any circumstance- pray for patience unless you’re ready for what God will hand to you.  God CAN create something out of nothing, but -with us- God likes to “teach us to fish” so that we’ll have that skill forever.  In other words, God won’t just grant you patience; He’ll give you a bunch of situations in which you must learn to breathe or die from holding your breath.  So, go ahead and pray for it- patience is a virtue and all that- but be ready.  I prayed for patience at 19; God gave me a bottle rocket named Cameron.  I’ve been in the process of honing that virtue now for the last 12 years.

#2- Its good to be cautious, but its also okay to throw caution to the wind at times.  Don’t let fear keep you from new experiences.  You guys are smart; your dad and I have raised you to have good heads on your shoulders.  You know the difference between fear of the unknown and fear because you have a gut feeling you shouldn’t do it.  Please remember this for when you have your kids, too.  Its good to be cautious with your kids, but there IS such a thing as ‘overly-cautious’.  Scrapes, cuts, bruises- they all heal.  Those situations that allowed for the stings of life, though, they teach you bits and pieces about life and who you are.  I’m not saying to let my grandkids do anything dangerous, but if it isn’t death defying, sit back, grit your teeth, and let them explore.  Let my grandkids BE kids- or I’ll tell them stories about YOUR childhoods, complete with pictures.

#3- Since today is Sunday, its reminding me of faith and church and beliefs, so I’ll bring this up.  While I hope and pray that everything your dad and I taught you will be instilled in you and you’ll choose our beliefs, its ok to have doubts and to question.  Just like every passenger on a plane needs to have their own ticket to fly, no one will get to Heaven on someone else’s faith.  so, by all means, ask questions!  It’ll make me happy because then I know you won’t just blindly follow anyone else’s beliefs either.  Also, if you’re asking questions, it means you’ll have a better time learning what God wants to teach you.  Oh, and don’t worry about asking questions in other areas of your life, too.  If you don’t understand something, ask, and if that person doesn’t give you a satisfactory answer or if they suck as a teacher, find someone else.  Never settle on uncertainty because you’re afraid of making someone mad or uncomfortable.  They can deal with it.

#4- People who say “Its not about winning or losing” are stupid.  I’m sorry, but its true.  Any kid who’s lost a game can tell you it sucks, no matter how much fun they had.  There will ALWAYS be winners and losers in this life, and one of the best examples I can give you for grown ups is the person who gets the job/ promotion and the person who doesn’t.  Do me a favor- yourself, as well: strive to win.  Shoot for the stars- heck, aim for the outer reaches of space!  If you don’t make it once you’ve given it your all, then fine, but don’t allow yourself to be fooled into thinking life will give you a “participation trophy”.  Schools and some sports programs will do that for you right now because they say its good for your self esteem.  You know what’s better for your self esteem?  Winning.  Do you know who gives “participation trophies” and will worry about your self esteem in the work force?  That’s right- no one.

#5- I’m hoping your attention span has gotten better with age, but just to make sure I don’t lose you, this will be the last point I make for now.

As an adult, you’ll find that you might have a lot of regrets- things you wish you’d never said; things you wish you’d never done; girls you wish you’d never dated- and you might be tempted to say,”I wish I’d never done that; said that; known her” or whatever.

Don’t.

Everything in your life has helped to mold you into who you are- the good times AND the bad.  You learn from everything- God knows, I did.  the good times will teach you to be thankful for God’s blessings and mercies.  Those times when everything is bright and shiny and happy- its so easy to be thankful in those places.  But don’t fear the memories of the bad times- you usually learn more from them than you might think, and usually a LOT more than you did in the good places.  The bad times -the trials and tribulations of this life that push you to your knees and knock the breath out of you- they teach you patience, courage, bravery; heck, they can even teach you to have a sense of humor.  Without the bad times, you’d never know just how good the good times are.

So don’t hold onto regrets.  Look at them briefly and then hold on to what God gave you after.  Remember: “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.”  If God allowed it, He did so for a reason and He’ll give you what you need to get through it.

I love you more than there are fishies in the sea!

Love,

Mom

 

Mary Poppins, I ain’t

I’m in awe that my children have survived thus far in their lives- after all, I have NO idea what I’m doing.

I’m a little ashamed of myself, really.  People who don’t have kids, or have been parents for, like, a minute, always seem to have all the answers.  I’d say it must be all those parenting books they’ve read, but I’ve read those books, too, and according to the “all knowing ones”, I know nothing.  Its shocking that my kids haven’t been taken away.

I admire all this “parental genius” that is still being thrust upon me after 12 years.  You’d think some people would see my pre-teen and would decide to bypass me when doling out their “wisdom of the ages”, but no.  They generously give of their insight, even if they’ve never had a need to use it or have ever used it themselves.  Its selfless acts like these that give me hope for future generations.

One would think that someone would see my 3 beautiful boys- 2 of which are in school and smarter than any boys I’ve ever known, and the other who is already showing signs of super android intelligence- and figure I know what I’m doing; they might see how generous my boys can be or take notice of how well they can behave (for OTHER people, mind you, but still), and those people might write me off as having it all under control.

Thankfully, those people are NOT fooled by pretty packaging.

Those astute individuals see the one moment my boys step out of line in their presence as a cry for help and the perfect opportunity to point out what we’re doing wrong as parents.  Those amazing individuals are never-ending in their pursuit to help mold me and the hubby into the perfect parents they know we can be with the same level of perfection that they themselves have had for the last 5 minutes and 53 seconds.

Do they care if the actions committed by my kids were normal, not out of the ordinary, and unavoidable?  No!  These wonderful people -diligent in their quest to right the wrongs of toddlers everywhere- toss logic to the wind as they step in to heroically save me from basic parenting situations.

So, I’d like to say thank you to all those wise, admirable, selfless, self sacrificing individuals who go out of their way to help me with parental “advice”.  I might not say it much, but -even though you don’t have boys (or kids) my sons’ ages (or at all)- I’m so grateful to you for offering up your opinions- most of the time without me even asking.  I know that I’ll never have the same treasure trove of knowledge that you do, so my only hope and prayer is that one day you have others in YOUR life so very willing and able to do the same for you that you’ve done for me.

Dear Pre-Pregnancy Life,

Today, while I was out shopping, I passed by a rack of size 12s and I thought of you.  Just for a moment- because the Mini-Master decided it wasn’t right that I should have my eyes anywhere but on him- but in that moment, a mix of emotions filled me like you wouldn’t believe.

I tried to deny the way that I felt, but all the great memories got to me.  I thought about the trip to Hawaii when we were 17 and how I had complained about my hips and thighs then.  I was 17- I HAD no hips or thighs, at least, not like now.  I had a teenage body, void of birthing hips and stretch marks, wrinkles and less than ample boobage.  I thought about that night when my friend was describing me to someone else and she used the words “flat stomach”.  Now the only time I have a flat stomach is when I make the choice not to breathe or sit down by wearing too-tight pants.

As I walked through the store, my eyes drifted to the purses, and I thought of my ever present addiction- the one I’ve had to put on hold ever since needing a diaper bag.  Even as trendy as diaper bags have gotten -and mine is PRETTY cool- they’re still diaper bags.  They hold everything, though, so carrying a purse as well is kind of superfluous.

I strolled slowly by the cosmetics aisle and I thought about when I used to put on make up.  I guess “used to” isn’t exactly correct; I still do occasionally, but its almost like building a sand castle near the tide now.  Why put on make up when its going to be mauled off by messy face kisses and grubby hands?

I looked over at the men’s aisle as I headed toward the electronics and I thought about how many times Date Night has been thwarted.  We used to have money to do stuff!  We used to have the ENERGY to do stuff!  We used to not need a sitter crazy enough to watch 3 boys so we could do stuff!

I perused the DVDs, looking for something kid friendly- KID FRIENDLY.  I remember when our DVD collection didn’t include a single ‘G’ rating; when we didn’t need to say,”We should probably wait til the kiddos are in bed” when deciding what to watch on TV.

Buying new stuff would have to wait, though.  I wasn’t here to buy a movie- I was here with a purpose.  I headed to the kids/ baby department for the wipes.

Dear, sweet, Pre-Pregnancy life- as I made my way to the back of the store, where all the baby stuff was located, I kept thinking of you and how even trips to the store were different back then.  Lingerie meant Victoria’s Secret, not Kohl’s Clearance; necessities meant chocolate and other junk food, not diapers, wipes, baby food, and Gerber’s Puffs; PJs meant Frederick’s, not cotton PJ sets from Kmart; and toys meant, well, nothing by Fisher Price.

I have to tell you, though- as I stood there, comparing prices on sippy cups, diapers, and wipes, it hit me what else is different about this new life compared to you.

  • I waste less time on TV.  Oh, sure, the TV is on, but as a kind of defense mechanism, my mind has tuned it out so as not to hear the constant chatter of cartoon characters.
  • My husband and I have fallen in love with each other in a whole new way and we’ve learned to get creative with Date Nights.  (To be honest, that was done out of pure necessity.  It was either get creative or start carrying around each other’s photo so we didn’t forget what each other looked like.)
  • And, also, to be honest, my diaper bag IS really cool.  I’ve had loads of people ask me where I got my “purse” from.  I don’t correct them.
  • And my body?  If I ever have the money or the desire for it, I can get cosmetic surgery, but I’m not really disappointed with my wrinkles.  The stress wrinkles are linear badges of honor, and laugh lines should be cherished- and my boys make me laugh.  A lot.

Actually, Pre-Pregnancy Life, a lot of the feelings I had while I debated the different sippy cups were feelings of thankfulness.  You never got to hear a 5 year old tell his 11 year old brother that girls are made to be friends- nothing else; you never knew the pride that can come from looking at progress reports (and making a mental list of private colleges to send such smart boys); and you never knew how sweet and extremely gross -all at the same time- it could feel to have your face mauled by a 9 month old that has just eaten breakfast.

Sure, some things changed when we parted ways, but right now, as I sit next to my youngest who is slightly snoring and listening to my two older boys singing a duet of “Lollipop” in the next room, I’m pretty sure I made out better with the exchange rate.

Paybacks are wet and furry

Oh gosh- get your heads out of the gutter, lol.

Today was one of those days where its so peaceful-

you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I sat on the couch, working on my laptop, listening to laughter coming from the boys’ room.  It started as giggling and I couldn’t help but think,”This is the life.”

When the laughter grew louder, I smiled a little bigger,”Finally!  They aren’t fighting!”

A few moments later, the laughter increased, reached a higher pitch, and was accompanied by a spitting sound.  Reluctantly, I got up to investigate.

There they were- my sweet, two youngest offspring… and the cat.

And so went the following conversation:

Me: (extreme trepidation in voice) “What’s going on in here?”

Jacob: (still laughing hard) “Nicholas stuck out his tongue and licked me!”

Me: “And it made you BOTH crack up?”

Jacob: (laughing harder) “He’s laughing because I licked him back!”

Me: “So, why is he spitting now?”

Jacob: (laughing so hard I thought he’d throw up) “Stever came into the room-” (busting up now)

Me: “Yeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaah…?”

Jacob: (practically peeing his pants) “Nicholas licked STEVER!”

Nicholas: (pointing to Stever) “Ki Ki!”

(Not the Mini Master OBVIOUSLY.  This is a girl.  And she doesn’t appear to be spitting out cat fur.)

(And not Stever.  I just liked this pic I found.)

I learned a few things at that moment:

  • Stever is a VERY loved cat.
  • Boys will never just “let something go”- lick them and they’ll lick you back.
  • I really need to start kissing my boys on their foreheads because I’m starting to see where their mouths have been.

My baby’s better than YOUR baby….

Where 2 or more babies are gathered, there, comparisons will be in the midst of them.”

Its not a Bible quote, but maybe it should be.

I have 3 kids- I’m a pro, if you will- and even I have found myself doing the comparison dance from time to time.  Its interesting to note, by the way, that boxing has also been compared to a dance.

Coincidence?  I think not.

You can find this dance occurring anywhere moms are found- parks, grocery stores, even the library:

The dance begins:

“Your baby is SO cute- how old is he?”
“5 months.”
“Mine too!”
“Aw, she’s gorgeous.”
“Thanks.  What a cutie- he’s so big!  Is he crawling yet?”
“No- yours?”
“Just yesterday.  Its like she’s been saving her energy, though, because she crawled across the entire kitchen floor first time out!”
“That’s incredible!  You’re going to have your hands full with her.”
“I know!”
“I’m a little thankful that mine is still a sweet lump- we haven’t had to really baby proof.  Now if only he’d stay a sweet SILENT lump- he just said ‘Mama’ yesterday.  He’ll be talking up a storm in no time.”
“They grow up so fast, don’t they?  Mine was reaching out toward the ‘Modern Science’ magazine in the bookstore earlier.  My husband and I are already deciding which Ivy League to send her to.  I guess we’ll just wait a month til she can tell us her choice.”
“That’s really impressive.  You must be proud.  I don’t think there’s an Ivy League in our little guy’s future, though,”
…Wait for it…
“all he wants to do is read cookbooks, so we’re looking into early enrollment for the Culinary Institute of America instead of kindergarten.  A parent should always encourage their child’s strengths and he makes the BEST bolognese- just think what training could do!”
Every time a mom asks another mom her baby’s age, the first step in the dance is taken.  Even if each others babies are no where near in age, its a crucial step in determining how their own baby is doing; however, no mom wants anyone to look at their baby as the weakest link, so they throw out their own baby’s recent milestone… and if necessary, they embellish:
“Little Johnny just took his first steps!  How ’bout yours?”
“Oh, mine is content to keep his seat on Terra Firma… chewing on books… well, reading books… A book, actually- he’s reading ‘Hamlet’.”
Its not our fault.  Like the bell that starts the boxing match or that first note of a tango, asking a baby’s age will always be perceived as:
“Betcha my baby is better than yours.”
“Nuh uh.”
“Uh huh.”
Soooo…. how old is YOUR baby?