Archives for posts with tag: family

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Depending on the moment, down to the second, my desire to have a third child has been susceptible to change. Are both boys peacefully sleeping on me? Their dark eyelashes dusting their skin? Chests rhythmically rising and falling with a small snore escaping their perfectly tiny noses? Oh, the urge to create another perfect tiny human radiates through all my bones, sinew, and joints. Are both boys in the middle of a literal knock out fight, screaming, “THAT’S MINE!” and punching each other? My uterus curls up into a ball, holding a small knife out, yelling, “come near me and someone gets cut!” That is how easily I could switch between the idea of adding another human to our brood.

I love my boys. I don’t have a desire to have a girl specifically (people ask that a lot), but sometimes the lure of newborn scent and snuggle is tough to resist. Reflecting on baby photos of my rapidly growing boys can make me tenderly remember those hours rocking them in gliders, nursing them to sleep. Pressing down the memories of desperate desire for sleep and the battles of breastfeeding. The urge pops up every so often, while I simultaneously and loudly lament, “I am definitely DONE having babies.” The thought was there: the consideration then the dismissal. Shooing away my husband as he hugged me and said, “let’s make a third!” But the choice was ultimately mine.

Until last week. Last week that was taken away from me by my own body. Or at least, I learned about this new version of me. Without getting into the nitty gritty details of that, because I am not sure I am ready to, the bottom line is this: my ability to have more babies has become very unlikely. Writing that out sent a chill through my body. I can describe the moment I received the news. I happened to answer my doctor’s call in the middle of the park last Thursday morning. All of the children running around me in slow motion, voices distorted, my head spinning. Knowing when I hit the red end button, I had to turn around, with a smile, and ask my boys if they wanted to go grab lunch yet.

I am only thirty-two years old. I know I have two gorgeous, funny, adorable, sweet, snuggly, happy boys. I know that. I love them more than anything in this world. I live for them, if it wasn’t clear through my countless articles and posts I have written. I am thankful they’re mine. This doesn’t mean a part of me didn’t die last week, literally. It did. Even if I have already produced two amazing tiny humans. That part of my life is dead now, over. There will be no more newborn scents or wails drifting through our halls. There will be no more onesies or swaddles. There will be no more little genetic combos of my husband and myself.

Until last week, It was my choice to make or not make. That was a power piece I held. If two years from now, both boys in school full time, I missed that baby stage so much, I could have added another to our bunch. That was always a possibility. Choice. I had a choice.

I have anxiety, so of course, I have been replaying a lot in my own brain the last few days. Living in my head. Yesterday I let myself breakdown entirely. Today, I have emerged from the fog. I gave myself one day of mourning and now it is back to my usual routine. As I walked to the grocery store, headphones in, I thought about the fact that I started having babies when I was twenty-five. These days, that is considered young. I remember my OB saying to me “you are the youngest woman in my practice, except my teen moms.” This used to annoy me. Today, I am eternally grateful. What if we hadn’t decided to try for Jackson when I was that young? What if I had said no to Jason about trying to have Alex just before Jackson turned three? What if I had insisted on waiting? The thought breaks my heart.

I feel like I lost a little piece of something last week. Regardless of the fact, that at this moment in life, I didn’t want another baby, it was still my choice to make. I had more time to make that choice. Who knows where we will be in a couple years. Maybe maybe maybe. This doesn’t change our family in any literal sense at this moment, but I do feel different. I feel broken. I feel like a failure. I feel trapped in my own body. I feel like I am incapable. Of what? I am not sure. A female’s worth doesn’t revolve around baby-making, I know that. I am so much more than “just a mom.” There is more to me than that part of my life, but it is a part and a big one.

Back to that internal battle, only this time it isn’t over whether I want another baby or not. Rather, it’s that I am not broken because I can’t have another baby. It’s that in time, I will accept this new normal of my body and life. For now, I just look back at the serendipitous moments that led to me having two children before the ability to do so was prematurely snatched away from my grasp.

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My oldest son is finishing up Kindergarten next week. I have been having an internal struggle with this stage of life we are leaving behind. The idea of First Grade seems harder for me to accept than Kindergarten was. There is still something that makes them feel so little while they are in Kindergarten. It is their toe dip into the big world of education. With First Grade looming in the wings, I cannot help but feel that there is one last piece of babyhood I am quickly losing my grip on.

My son will not be having a Kindergarten graduation ceremony. It is just how things worked out at his school this year. I am a little sad about that. I have even toyed with the idea of staging my own at home. (I am only half joking) I am sure I can find a cap and gown on Amazon in a pinch. I am not above doing something silly like that!

Recently, I overheard some people talking about how they find no value in any childhood graduation ceremonies. They even went to far as to say High School graduation is unimportant. I could not disagree with them more. I find value in celebrating these kinds of events. I cherish those moments. I am not a perfect parent and I never pretend to be. We all have our moments. When it comes down to it though, I cherish these important moments of my children’s lives. I go out of my way to create happy moments together.

We try our hardest to use positive reinforcement with our boys. I said we try. Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we end up yelling. Every parent loses their patience once in a while. However, we value the concept and practice of positive reinforcement. This morning we cheered on our toddler who cleaned up a mess he created yesterday. He got high-fives and a ton of praise. Despite the fact that he was being straight up destructive when he threw my container of ear plugs around my bedroom. His face was a big cheesy grin when he heard us praise his clean up job. As a parent, you learn when to let go of the lesson and bring on the encouragement. It can be a balancing act, but you adapt. When you think about it, staging small graduation ceremonies for Preschool, Kindergarten, Middle School, and then the big one in High School, creates the ultimate method of positive reinforcement. You are creating happy and celebratory memories. You are encouraging them to work hard and follow through.

Childhood memories have value later in life. Close your eyes and think back to your happiest childhood memory. Maybe it was a family vacation, maybe a certain holiday, maybe it was a normal day that ended up being so silly and fun, maybe it was a graduation ceremony. The examples are endless. There is even a chance you had a hard time picking just one happy childhood memory. The Wall Street Journal examined the importance of childhood memories. The research determined that when children are able to recall childhood memories, they learn to cope better and have an easier time adjusting later in life. It helps them to develop their own sense of self. This allows them to reflect on their lives and see if they have stayed the same as a person or if they have changed and grown. When they recall happy memories, for example, a large happy life event that involves their family (think Kindergarten graduation ceremony), they learn to value family moments. The reason all of these internal changes occur is because children learn from their recalled memories as they mature.

There is a point in having a graduation ceremony for a child. There is lifelong value in that. Sure, it is not the only way to promote healthy, happy, and positive memories. There are so many opportunities in childhood for happiness. It is one way though. One which should not be scoffed at. How miserable are you as a person to scoff at a happy little afternoon for a child? When we value creating happy moments for our children, we are preparing them for a lifetime of living and learning.

I will do my best to make my son’s last day of Kindergarten memorable, even without a structured graduation ceremony. I always have him hold up signs on his first and last day of school. I started in pre-school. I already have my supplies to make next week’s sign. We will do something fun after I pick him up. He can choose dinner that night. I am not above having a box of goodies for him to open when he walks back through our door a First Grader. I am so proud of him for working so hard this year! Kids work hard in school. Their brains are growing, synapses firing, they create and absorb new knowledge! That is something to celebrate and encourage. What value is there in making a child feel like the work they accomplished is stupid and a waste of time? None, there is none. What will create a better world? Lifting up these tiny humans who will one day be in charge. Lifting them up high and celebrating their lives, happiness, joy, and success will only make our world a better and brighter place.

If I had my way, I would throw my children a graduation every year. I cannot wait to see how they both grow over the next school year, even if a piece of me is sad to watch my babies grow. I cannot wait to be a part of the happy childhood memories that will shape their adult selves.

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My sister-in-law gave me the sign pictured here for my birthday this year. Today, I found myself thinking about the quote, and how much I feel pulled to it today. I may not be able to single-handedly write the world into saving itself, but I will share my stories, and try my hardest to affect change when and where I can.

Yesterday my son was involved in a bomb threat. My six year old son was at his school, ready to participate in his after school club when some maniac called in a bomb threat. Right now, his school educates children pre-k through eighth grade. Someone wanted to harm, scare, evoke terror, and cause chaos for children that young. Let that sink in. The targets of this terror were small children just trying to learn and play.

I walk to pick him up every day. Yesterday, I took my time walking there with my two year old. I was working on teaching him how to stop at every parking garage and intersection. I turned it into a game. We were having fun. Completely unaware what was going on. As we walked down the stairs to the park near the school, I noticed fire trucks and commotion. I truly thought it had something to do with the construction site nearby. We started to walk by it, to get to the school. Two firefighters stopped me and told me I had to go around through the park. As we turned around, I overheard two other adults say the name of my son’s school and that it had been evacuated. This stopped me in my tracks. Things slowed down a little for me. I scooped up my little one and approached a fireman. He did not have a lot of info to give me. I asked him to please ask if there was someone who could come speak with me. I needed to get to my child.

It felt as if I stood there forever. I am sure less time passed than I think. I did my best to one hand text my husband and mom. He called me to get more details and let me know he was on his way. Another fireman came and spoke with me. I again explained my child had been in that building and I needed to know what was going on and where I could find him. He said they had been talking to the head of the school, and that the kids were sent to two different locations. He would try to see if he could get any information on what kids went where. I stopped him one more time and asked him to tell me what was going on. Why this was all happening. He turned and looked at me, he was silent for a second, then quietly said “There was a bomb threat.” I can tell you, even typing that right now brings a lump to my throat. I know my heart sank. I remember I exhaled a large amount of air as my body sank a little. I rolled my head to one side. That feeling of exasperation. I was still holding my youngest son. I did not ask any more questions at that moment. He probably should not have told me what he did, and in my brain, even in the chaos, I knew that. I think he looked at me and saw a scared mom holding another child, then he did the human thing and told me. He walked off to go investigate further. Then a lieutenant walked up and asked the parents gathered there “who is missing a child?” I raised my hand. There is that lump again. I was missing my child. He then asked each parent who raised a hand how many children they were missing. He rushed off to speak to other officials. When he came back he gave me the best information he could. The children were in two locations, but he had no way of knowing which location each child was sent to. He gave me the two spots. One was across the park, it was the closest and I started there. My son had on a bright orange shirt. It is Spirit Week and it was Athletic Clothing Day. As I began to walk across the park I saw a bright orange spot. I knew it was him! Then I saw his after school club instructor. I did not run or act scared. I continued to calmly walk up to him and said hi with a smile on my face. I was not sure how much information anyone had, especially the kids. I saw some other parents. I shared with them what the fireman had shared with me.

My son had nothing with him, of course. They left everything and just evacuated the building. The school completely evacuated in under three minutes. This was during after school activities, meaning staff and students were all over the place and not in normal situations, they were still able to get every human out incredibly quick. After we stood around for a while and I spoke to some other parents and faculty, I decided we were not going to stand around and wait for an all clear to retrieve his bag. Meanwhile, my husband had immediately jumped in a cab to get to us as fast as he could. As we walked away he arrived. We then ran into two other families we know. We took all the kids for ice cream and really had a nice time. Some calm after the storm.

When I got home and called my mom to update her I started telling her the story and I broke down. The panic had remained at bay, allowing me to function and keep my children safe. As we chatted, it suddenly came to the surface. The tears came flowing and I choked up as I tried to tell her all the details.

After the phone call, I sat down on the couch but I could not stop shaking. We started to talk to our son about what happened, the truth behind the sudden emergency. We did not want him to go to school today and overhear the word bomb, not knowing what he had really been involved with. He explained to us what happened when the alarms went off. How they did not take the elevator, they took the stairs. The stairs they took were “different and we left the building in a secret exit.” He said all the children were screaming, including him, on the way down the stairs. An hour later at the dinner table he brought it up again, telling us how he was feeling. He said he could not stop thinking about it. We answered his questions and reassured him again he was brave and we were so proud that he listened to his teachers. Everyone did an amazing job staying safe. He was safe and the school, police, and fire departments were making sure everything was ok.

I ordered him new shoes recently. The packages arrived yesterday afternoon. As I unpacked the new shoes last night, I paused for a moment. I looked at the shoes and thought about how if this had not been a threat, had it been real, and ended in pure tragedy, that I would have opened those boxes of shoes for a child that I may have lost. We do not always think about those small details in life. A new pair of shoes is just something that is needed or something that is fun. Not every threat ends with an all clear. There are parents who had new things for their child, and that child never came home. It makes me sick. It breaks my heart.

I am so angry today. I am angry that my child and all the other children had to experience this. I am angry that someone caused terror and chaos for families. I am angry that this is the world we live in. I am angry that my panic after getting home was not misplaced, because every day you see headlines about threats being followed through and people losing children and loved ones.

The other side of that anger is pure gratitude. I am thankful that it was a threat and my child got to sleep in his bed last night. I am thankful for the teachers, staff, and administrators who care for our children and do their best to keep them safe. I am thankful to all the firemen I spoke to. I am thankful to the fireman who told me what was really going on. I am thankful to the fireman who took the time to ask how many children each parent was missing. I am thankful to the police department who searched the building, are investigating this, and have been there today to keep an eye on the area. I am thankful to my mom who told me it was one hundred percent ok to breakdown once I got us home safely. I am thankful for the friends we grabbed ice cream with, helping us all return to a bit normalcy so quickly.

I sent him to school today. I even chaperoned a field study. The day progressed as usual. I overheard some children buzzing a bit about what happened yesterday. This did not stop us though. The kids are learning and laughing today. We are not being oppressed by the fear this horrible person tried to create. To say this is not in the back of my mind would be a lie. It is still there. I did overthink while in the shower this morning, wishing I could keep him home. I know that would not help him get over what he went through, it is just my maternal instinct to keep my children as safely close to me as I can. While this story may not save civilization from destroying itself, it is our story. It happened. It happens every day around the world, too often on a much more tragic scale. There is a human side to these events. There are new pairs of shoes waiting to be worn when a child arrives home safely from school.

 

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Last week I was lucky enough to be accepted as a RedTri Spoke Contributor! I am so excited about this opportunity to share my voice in their community.

In Defense of Downsizing takes a look at what happens when you look into your heart and family and make choices based on the answers you find. I explain our journey to living with less space and more time together.

I hope to remain active in this contributor community. I will always share with you whatever work I am fortunate enough to submit and have published.

Do you have any pieces that have been published on different sites, blogs, communities? Share your links below!

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I have been a mom for just shy of six years now. By just shy, I mean six years ago today I started going into labor. Tomorrow will officially be six years. I have learned, grown, changed, and loved a lot in these last years. These are some of the things six years of motherhood has taught me.

That I want my children to grow up in a world that values love, kindness, equality, social justice, empathy, and generosity. It can feel like an uphill battle some days. When everything around you seems filled with ugliness and hate. That doesn’t mean that I will stop wanting them to live in that kind of world. I will always strive and fight to shape that kind of world for them. I will send them out into the world with those values, hoping they too will be agents of them. 

Perfectionism is a nuisance. You cannot control everything at every moment. Life and children are unpredictable and sometimes you have to let more shit go than you care to. I cleaned up the whole kitchen and living room on Wednesday. Spotless! By that evening they had scattered toys all over the kitchen floor. They are still there. I sighed as I walked by them to start writing this. At some point I will get to it, but I am sure when I turn back around, they will have recreated the same mess. You have to let it go. 

Humility. You are not above wiping a poop covered butt (and even back, cause that shit, haha, can and does get everywhere) You will find yourself in the middle of situations you never thought you would be in. Being urinated on. Catching vomit in your hands. Getting poop under your fingernail. Changing a diaper in the trunk of your SUV in the parking lot of a pumpkin farm. Wiping up a half spilled grande pike roast from the floor of Whole Foods that your two year old knocked over when he moved your cart as you were trying to pick up the box of his minecraft figurines he dropped everywhere. So now you have minecraft toys, a box, and a giant puddle of steaming hot coffee all over the grocery store floor. These things happen on the regular. Stay humble folks, there is no prize for being prideful. You will be wiping up floor coffee in public. Or your own version of that scenario. 

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Generosity. Be as generous as you humanly can. With your love and praise for your tiny humans. With your family. With your neighbors. With complete strangers. I have seen it pay off in these last 6 years. My almost 6 year old has started random acts of kindness. He has asked me why I buy coffee for the car behind me. Why I roll down my window and hand cash to the homeless man with the sign on the street. I explain why in detail. This week at school he brought his Pokecards. Some friends didn’t have any and wanted them. He was planning on trading with another kid. He did. Then he gave out cards to his friends that did not have any. Just because he wanted to, because they wanted some cards too. He received nothing in return. Save for my adoration and praise when he told me the story.

Selflessness. You have to give so much of yourself when you are a parent. At least you are supposed to. We all do things differently. I give a lot. It can be exhausting, but then I think about how if I did things differently. If I wasn’t around to give them 200% of myself and then another piece just to be nice. I would not feel right. I want to be around and be the face in their memories when they look back at their childhood. When it all clicks about the magical times, the birthdays, the random normal days, the dinners, the laundry, the hugs, the books, the kisses, the songs, the errands, the treats, the love. You learn to put other people ahead of yourself. Which can be a hard thing to learn to do.

On that note, you also need to take care of yourself. Self-care is crucial. A trip to D.C. to march for yourself and fellow humans. A epsom salt bath. And yes, lock the damn bathroom door. Pilates in the morning. Putting them to bed a half hour early because they are bat-shit crazy that night. Ordering dinner, even though you have things to cook, they wore you out and you just don’t feel like cooking that night. Order that pizza, and bask in the glory of little to no cleanup. Self-care can be huge things, like 4 day trips, or they can be tiny little minutes throughout the day, locking yourself in the bathroom for 5 minutes. It comes in all shapes and sizes.

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Love. True unconditional heart growing mind blowing all consuming love. It is a love like I have never experienced. Sometimes I watch their faces and I literally feel like my heart might explode with joy. Sometimes I still look at them and think “they are mine! How is that possible? How did I create these two super cool humans?” It still takes my breath away, that I get to have these two dudes in my life. I am not sure I will ever quite get over that. It is amazing.

The value of words. We talk through things a lot here. Taking time to use your words to explain things to your children will really strengthen their understanding of life. Even if you don’t feel it is sinking in in the moment. They absorb these life lessons and they take them out into the world. I tell my boys “everyone is different.” When they have questions about why someone does something differently than we do. I always explain it as best as I can, then sum it up with “that is ok because everyone is different.” When the oldest was four, some kids at school hassled him because he doesn’t like ketchup and wouldn’t eat it. He got frustrated and finally told me that he said “I don’t like it and that is ok, because everyone is different.” Words matter. Words sink in. Talking through things sinks in. They are very intelligent.

To say sorry. I am a firm believer in apologizing to them. Sometimes moms lose their shit. We do. If you say you don’t, you’re lying, sorry. It comes in different forms for each person, but we all get pushed too far sometimes. If I feel guilty that I snapped on them or was short, or yelled over something totally stupid, I will go and talk to them and say I am sorry. This is not every time they get in trouble. Sometimes they do naughty things and they have to be reprimanded. But I can feel it in my heart when I know it was more me than them. Then I do go say sorry. The oldest and I can have real conversations about human emotions at this point, and we do. We talk through it. The little one, a hug with kisses and saying “mommy loves you I am sorry” will suffice at this point.

It is ok to talk to children as if they are humans with thought processes and feelings. I try not to baby things down for them too much. I explain things to them. I am not a huge baby talk person. I have always interacted with them as the red blooded people they are. I think this has shaped them for the better. I can see it in the oldest. He has a grasp on reality. The things he can discuss blow me away sometimes. I encourage him to think through his thought process. I can explain something and then ask him what he thinks/feels/wants from that situation. I have explained to him what is happening if I think he feels anxious. I explained homelessness to him. We have had conversations about dissent. We talk about body autonomy and consent. They know the actual names of genitals. My motto is if I keep that conversation going and trust them with actual knowledge that it will pay off down the road as life gets messier.

Sometimes we cannot do it all. We just can’t. It’s a fact. We want to. We feel we need to. This leads to being burnt out. I know, I have been there. Sometimes you have to take a step back and delete some shit from your life and schedule. Sometimes you have to say no we are not going to do that. Today we are going to be lazy and relax and enjoy one another. There is nothing wrong with taking some time to just be. As a family. I am still working on this. I am not great at taking things off of my plate. It is a work in progress.

Children love their mother so much. Sometimes I can feel their love radiating off of their little bodies. It can be overwhelming. Sometimes moms just need no one to touch them for, maybe, 2 minutes. That would be nice. Then you hear their little tiny human voices saying “mommy” and they just want to nuzzle in and you realize how very loved you actually are.

My favorite most calming thing in the world is when either boy hugs me and snuggles in to the right side of my neck. I call that “the good stuff” and love when they hug me tight, their little cheek against my neck. That is my calm. That is my heart. That is my motherhood.

I am not a perfect mom. I feel like I am failing a lot. I am hard on myself. I always think I can do better (I should reread that perfectionism paragraph, huh?) I am just being honest here. I do know that I have grown so much since having children. I have become a better person and woman because of them. They have shown me where my heart actually resides. They have made me cry. They have made me laugh. They have made me angry. They have made me insanely happy. They have made me stronger. I am thankful for these last six years. I feel lucky that I get to take this journey with them. Even as I shouted to my husband last night “You are getting a vasectomy!!! I do NOT want a third baby, they are crazy right now!” Yes, they were being insane. Fighting over Mario toys, tears and yelling, all as I was trying to make their dinner plates. No one could eat until the fight was resolved. It was ridiculous. It was so loud. It was frustrating. It was all mine. My crazy, loving, obnoxious, kind, silly, frustrating, kind, hilarious, adoring, and imperfectly perfect family.

I am looking forward to where the next six years of this journey takes me. Thank you boys. Thank you Jackson for making me a mommy. Happy start of labor day my sweet boy.

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Life since having Alexander has never been boring! Today I rushed him to the 45 minute window of walk-in hours at our pediatrician. Over the weekend he had a fever that bounced around. He has been irritable, not eating, and barely drinking. Yesterday the fever was totally gone! Except he was covered in a rash on his torso and kept putting his finger in his ear. I called about the rash, they said that was normal after a fever. By nighttime it had spread to his pelvis. This morning the rash was worse and had spread to his face. When I went into his room his finger was in his ear.

I got them both up, dressed, fed, and out the door in record time. I am talking about 20 minutes here! That is unheard of.

He was cleared of having an ear infection! Phewf. However, he does have Roseola. Another virus. He keeps getting slammed with one after the other. On top of that he still has his chronic diarrhea. It flared up a bit yesterday through today.

Tomorrow he has his GI appointment. Our pediatrician did not want him to wait until the end of April to see one, so she called the GI office and had them figure out a way to see us sooner.

I would be lying if I said that I am not stressed out. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t totally exhausted. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t in a constant state of worry. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t feel anxious every time I went to check his diaper. I would be lying if I said I sleep soundly at night. I don’t. Not one bit. I would be lying if I said that this hasn’t started to take a toll on me physically. Last week I was nauseated for 4 days straight. Terrible nausea that barely allowed me to get off the couch. I forced myself to, because I had no choice, but I was barely able to be upright. It took all of my strength.

I have a hard time asking for help. Maybe I am stubborn. Maybe I am too proud. Maybe I don’t want to bother other people. Maybe I am a control freak. I think it is all of those combined. I have been dealing with 99% of Alexander’s medical appointments, symptoms, issues, hysterical moments, record keeping, etc all by myself. My husband is insanely busy with his company. It is in a good way. Growth! But it just so happens to coincide with Alexander going through this rough patch in his health. Life works out that way sometimes. Good and bad together. Nothing is ever truly perfect. Tomorrow my mom is coming to the GI appointment with me. I feel like a slight amount has been lifted off of my shoulders. Even if it means she takes Jackson into the waiting room because he is getting squirrelly from being at the 1203043 appointment of his baby brother’s.

This is hard on him too. He breaks down crying anytime Alex is hysterical and upset. He tries his best to always make him laugh. He just wants his little brother to be happy. Today at the pediatrician he started getting upset before she even performed an exam on Alex because  Jackson knew Alex wouldn’t like it and was going to cry.

I would be lying if I said this hasn’t been hard on all of us.

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Bros

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This pretty much sums up how he has felt since Friday 😦 

 

Waiting is hard. For your entire life you learn little lessons in patience. They build up and are supposed to help strengthen you. As a child you eagerly await Christmas morning. As a teen you eagerly await the day you can get your driver’s license (unless you were like me and pushed it off as long as possible). As an adult you wait for all kinds of things.

I am finding all of the lessons in waiting that I experienced to be completely useless. We have waited so much with figuring out answers for Alexander. The more I end up having to wait, the less patience I find myself having.

This week we received the rest of his blood work. Alas, the waiting for that is over. Everything else came back negative for IgE allergies. I was definitely overjoyed about that. We are still not giving him bananas or avocado as he has had FPIES reactions to those. As a precaution we are avoiding kiwi, because kiwi is closely related to both of those foods. Eventually in a controlled setting we will test for them, but that time is not now.

This week we have had a bit of a setback with his bowel movements. His diarrhea has returned. I have been monitoring him all week. There have been worse diapers and better diapers. Today has been worse all around. We are up to 4. One was on the floor while he was airing out because the rash has also returned. After the second diaper today, but two of many this whole week, I made the decision to call and schedule an appointment with a Pediatric GI. I need to get some kind of answer in order to help him. Unfortunately, there are no appointments until nearly the end of April. More waiting.

After the 3rd diaper I decided to call his pediatrician and update her on the return of the diarrhea this week. I know she is out on Thursdays, but she is usually in on Fridays, so I intended on leaving a message for her. She will not be back until Tuesday. More waiting.

Waiting is not getting easier. It gets exponentially difficult. I feel overwhelmed with helplessness because I just want to give him a life that is as healthy as possible. I want him to be as healthy as possible. I don’t want him to get rash after rash from loose diaper after loose diaper. I feel a tightening in my chest at any given moment in a bad digestive day. I sigh a lot. I just stare at him and feel my heart breaking for his tiny little body. He has grown to detest diaper changes. I ache for him when he freaks out over that. I have started to let him watch videos on my phone in order to calm him for every single diaper change, even regular pee ones. He just freaks out. Today, that has not helped. His aversion to it is so strong, knowing he has these BMs, that he loses his mind.

I have Jackson, my helper during the days. He is quick to act if I need help with something. Today it was cream while I wrestled a screaming Alex down after he pooped on the floor. A 5 year old shouldn’t have to be my saving grace during a moment like this. My poor sweet oldest child. The other day at his school his teacher asked if he wanted breakfast when arrived. He had eaten at home but said yes. She mentioned there were bananas. Then he said “just don’t give the bananas to my brother. They make him puke.” It is so wonderful that he is so caring but it also breaks my heart that we are even in a situation that we had to drill that into him. He is amazing. His heart is huge. I am definitely way too cranky and short with him way too often. I keep my conversation open, explaining why I am sometimes so stressed out, especially on bad digestive days. I tell him how hard it can be and how I am feeling. I listen to what he has to say about he feels about it. We hug.

Sometimes after naps, Alex wakes up hysterical. Inconsolable for at least 30 minutes, sometimes longer. Nothing can settle him down. There were at least 2 days this week like that. Today and yesterday were better. Those hysterical afternoons are hard. I hate not being able to soothe whatever is clearly causing him distress. More waiting. Waiting for him to ride it out and I try to hold him and comfort him and offer him whatever he needs.

I hate waiting. For once, it is not from our instant gratification society. For me, it is because after 17 months of bumps in the road, I want answers for my baby. I am tired of waiting. I want to help him. I want to have the proper tools to help him. I don’t want to just keep him comfortable and his butt slathered in cream. But it seems for now, waiting is in my foreseeable future. I will be waiting until Tuesday. I will be waiting until April 21st. I will be waiting for his next diaper, anxious to see if it is diarrhea or not. I will be waiting to see if he wakes up happy or hysterical from his naps. Waiting for my answers.

I am starting to get back to my old level of training. I have really started to push myself again. It has been a long year plus since finding out I was pregnant! One of the most difficult things for me to handle was the way my strength changed. It doesn’t matter how much I worked out while pregnant, the bottom line is, your body changes and with it so does your strength.

After baby arrives you are exhausted. If your child is anything like mine, you spent the first 20 weeks waking up 2+ times a night! Alexander has just very recently started sleeping through the night. When I say recently I mean within the last week! Someone or all of us have been sick once or twice a month since Alexander was born in October. Two bouts of strep. Two strains of Influenza. 5 ear infections. Bronchitis. Several colds. A couple sinus infections. Croup. I was still training throughout all of this. However, I wasn’t pushing myself like I used to. I was just tired. Sometimes sick. But mostly just tired.

Immediately after having Alexander I discovered I could barely do a bridge on my Reformer. I was so frustrated. Bridging is a staple in my training. It is a staple in my teaching. I could bridge until I collapsed. I could have a student bridge until they collapsed. I truly love the way bridging works the entire body. Imagine my complete dismay to discover my core strength was entirely destroyed and I could barely get my tail bone off the mat, let alone keep the carriage at the stopper.

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That was then. This is now. Alexander is 20 & 1/2 weeks old. He will officially be 5 months on the 28th. I have started running farther distances. I have started to push myself while doing Pilates. I shake and drip with sweat. Planking is my best friend. I do some kind of plank every single day. My options are abundant with my mat, Reformer, WundaChair, Bosu, and Pilates ball. I could plank all day long if I wanted to.

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On Sunday I ran over 4 miles. I haven’t done that since my first trimester of pregnancy. It felt amazing. It felt amazing because I pushed myself to be where I used to be. Yesterday I did an incline program on my treadmill. It had a nice plateau of incline. I smelled like a hockey player when I was done. I have never been happier! I ran 3.2 miles entirely uphill. That is the sweet smell of my fitness returning.

20 weeks postpartum

20 weeks postpartum

I can be very hard on myself. I pride myself on being and feeling strong. So when I struggle to do exercises that I used to be able to do without blinking, I can really feel defeated. I hear a lot “you just had a baby!” I recently asked my husband “Exactly how long is that excuse applicable? How long do you get to say that? I think you get a couple weeks” He told me I was crazy. Maybe. But I also don’t see anything wrong with expecting more from myself. I don’t see anything wrong with pushing myself to be the best I can be.

Lately I have noticed my strength returning. I am able to bridge much better. I can plank rather well. I can move on my WundaChair with greater ease than right after birth. I have noticed my C-scoop improving. My biceps are looking more toned again. I feel I have a lot of work left to do. My hips. My low belly. It will take time though. I am aware of that. I do feel that as I am getting more rest and making the conscious decision to make sure my workouts really work me out, the strength I want will trickle back in.

IMG_7983It is one of the hardest things in life, growing a baby and birthing it. It really changes you emotionally, mentally, and physically. I have done it twice now. It is not easy. You have to be strong in so many ways. For me, my physical strength and fitness helps keep everything else in my life strong. It is all so intertwined it is hard to see where one thing begins and another thing ends. Feeling strong and being strong keep me happy and significantly less stressed. As I am peeking at the end of the exhaustion tunnel, I can see glimpses of my old life and strength returning. And I am positively giddy about it!

I have been rather nostalgic lately. There are a couple reasons. Jackson will be turning 4 in three weeks. I have been looking back at his baby photos comparing how he and Alex look as infants. Both of those together have supercharged my mommy emotions. I simply cannot believe how much Jackson has grown. I don’t even remember when his face stopped being so pudgy, round, and baby-ish. Did he just wake up that way one morning? Or did that sweet baby chub slip through my fingers one hour at a time like tiny grains of sand?

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My heart melts looking over these old photos. I truly cannot place how he grew. I cannot believe he is nearly 4. That he is this little boy who likes to arrange his toys and then ask me to take photos of them. He is going to be really good at whatever field he chooses one day because he spends 99% of his time debating me and trying to strike up deals. “That’s a good deal mommy.” Which, is debatable! Ha! He is a very passionate person. Whether he is loving on me or angry at me. Passion seeps through his pours. He gives his all to whatever he is feeling. He tells me I am beautiful. The most beautifulest mommy in the world. He loves to sing and dance. Then he likes to switch it up to “shooting guns” and ninja skills. He recently started getting into fashion. He has been picking out awesome shoes and shirts that do not have characters on them.

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His fingers are still pudgy, but they are much bigger. His feet are still adorable, but they actually get dirty and stinky. His face is still round with squishy cheeks, but it doesn’t have the look of a baby. It has the look of a little boy.

He loves to help me. If it is cooking, helping with Alexander, picking up things that are not his, shopping, everything. Well, everything except cleaning up his own toys. That he hates with that passion I mentioned. He tears up at ASPCA commercials, sad shows or movies, or anything that evokes a sad emotion. His empathy is boundless.

I look back on him being a baby and I understand those moments a lot more. His personality has always been similar to how it is now. Sometimes he doesn’t like to try new things. It freaks him out. I used to get so frustrated at infant and toddler mommy/me classes. He was so frustrated and I never understood why. That is just him. Change and people he doesn’t know well trying to touch him isn’t his cup of tea. I can now reason with him regarding trying some new things. But looking back, it all makes sense. It just takes him a long time to warm up to certain situations. As I parent him now, I have that voice in my head reminding me of that. I have to give things time with him.

I am sitting in the kitchen with him as I write this. He is watching Octonauts. His mouth is slightly open, eyes are wide, and he occasionally smiles at what they say. He keeps catching me staring at him. He asked me for a snack. He didn’t finish his lunch carrots. We just struck a deal, he has to finish all of them, then he can have a snack. Always a deal to be made.

I know he is only 4 but I already feel the time slipping through my fingers. I fully understand how fast it goes. I think it took birthing Alexander for me to realize this. I am now elbows deep in all things infant again. That phase had faded out a long time ago. I hadn’t noticed one hour, one day, one week, one month at a time. No. It just was business as usual. I was raising a little boy. I am afraid of what I will be feeling 4 years from today. How will 8 year old Jackson be? Even typing that sentence made my heart drop. One day he WILL be 8 years old. 8 years away from that tiny little babe I birthed during Snowmageddon! Terrifying.

Alexander is our last child. I think this fact has made me hyper aware to time racing forward while I try to hang on. I don’t want Alexander to stop being this squishy little babe (he could go ahead and sleep through the night though!) I don’t want Jackson to age another 4 years and be an 8 year old BOY!

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I want to hit pause. I want their faces to stay round, soft, creamy, and so squishy. One day I will kiss those cheeks and there will be stubble on them. Stubble. Ok, I have to slow down now. I am getting way ahead of myself.

For now, I will have to keep on kissing those cheeks and staring in wonder at those chubby little fingers. And requesting big passionate hugs from my little passionate guy.

Yesterday Alexander turned 1 month old. We told Jackson that it was like his birthday, he was a month old. He thought that meant we were throwing a party! All day he kept asking me when Alex’s party was. In his world, birthday equals a party. I tried to explain that it wasn’t a big birthday just a little one and the 4 of us would just celebrate at home. Preschoolers are so literal it is precious.

One month old

One month old

IMG_0210 IMG_0208Jackson picked out these monthly stickers well before Alexander was born. He saw me scrolling through Pinterest and stopped me when he saw these. He likes superheroes. I was planning on doing the monthly photos anyway, so I went ahead and bought what big brother picked out.

It has been almost 2 weeks since I last posted an update. I have been pretty tired. Ha! I wanted to write but my energy went elsewhere, the boys, nursing, working out, cleaning, errands. You know the drill. Last night I got a bit more sleep though. This week I even did Pilates two days in a row. I may do some this afternoon or we will go swimming tonight. I will say, things hurt. I am sore. It hurts to take a deep breath. I am so overjoyed at this! Dormant muscles are being used again. Since I refuse to weigh myself I keep thinking about losing what I call pregnancy inches. See ya later suckas!

I mentioned the tiredness. Alex has GREAT nights (last night) and he has terrible horrible no good very bad nights (the two nights before last). We weren’t the only ones exhausted from his all night parties. Jackson doesn’t nap much anymore. He certainly doesn’t go to his room for a sanctioned nap. This happened Monday evening as I was cooking dinner. He was watching The Little Mermaid when I looked over at him.

IMG_0159It was pretty adorable to see him just go for it. I wish I could nap like that, anytime anywhere!

We have been maintaing our normal schedule, preschool, soccer, tae kwon do. I go shopping with both boys regularly. We went to our first family party with Alex on Saturday. Life has kept moving forward even with our newborn addition. There’s no rest for the wicked. I would really like a little more rest though.

Alexander has been busy doing a lot of this IMG_0155

And this

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And this

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Babies have it rough.

He does feel heavier to me the past few days. I usually notice it as I am readjusting him to my arms after a nursing session. He feels more like something and less like air as I transition him. So, he is growing. He loves the Ergo carrier. I always have it with me. He loves ME to hold him. He can be screaming his head off for my husband and I just have to take him in my arms and he quiets. He doesn’t want to eat, he just wants momma.

Alex and Jacky are really adorable together. IMG_0164IMG_0070IMG_0027

see, I am tired....

see, I am tired….

Jackson just wants to help and be a part of everything. If Alex is in his swing crying and I am not there instantly, Jackson walks up to him and in a singsong high pitched voice and says “it’s ok, big brother is here. It’s ok. Jacky is here” He helped wash Alex’s hair the other night. He gets me my boppy if I ask him. He grabs diapers. He rubs Alex’s face. He hugs him. He is understanding when I need to shut my eyes on the couch in the afternoon while he watches way more TV that he should be.

Ah, one day we will go on our frequent adventures again. Right now though, we hang out at home way more than normal. I guess that is our temporary new normal. I am sure I will be more ready for all day long adventures just as the bitterness of winter is setting in. It is a good thing we live outside of Chicago, because at that point we will be museum frequenters. At least I have tons to choose from.

On that note, I have an hour to shower and get us out the door to preschool. Everyone but me is still asleep. Had it not been a school day, I too would still be laying in my bed drifting between awake and sleep until I heard those newborn hunger cries blaring through my monitor or until a 3 year old padded into my room and rubbed my face saying “mommy”