Tag Archives: children

They’re getting so big…

Sometimes, just the briefest outpouring of words is worth sharing.

I glimpsed my middle child on the monitor last before I went to bed. He wasn’t making any noise, but I always turn the screen on to take a peek before I fall asleep. I was taken aback by how big he looked, how much of the bed was covered by the body I can still pick up and snuggle so tightly. He still fits in the crook of my arms when he’s still enough to cradle. But he’s getting so big…

My youngest asked me relentlessly to hold him yesterday. I was constantly picking him up, switching him from hip to hip, trying to convince him he was too big to hold for that long. Deep down, I actually loved that he needed me a little more than usual. I know it won’t be long before he’s too busy for me, and too independent to need me. He’s getting so big…

My oldest is smart, brave, and takes care of herself. She can get herself a snack, tie her shoes, and entertain herself for hours if I let her. But last night, she asked me for another song, another snuggle, a longer prayer. I could tell we hadn’t seen each other enough during the day, and she craved a little more attention. I knew she’d be fine if I left her, but I stayed. She’s just getting so big…

Things Toddlers Say 

Happy Tuesday! Summer is almost here! We are preparing for warm weather and sunshine at our house – how about you? Hope the funnies find you well and not too busy as school ends… Enjoy!

First thing in the morning…
D: Hi!
Hubby: Hi!
D: I poop!
Hubby: You sure did…

J: Look at my robots!
Me: How many eyes do your robots have?
J: This ones got a hundred and this one has two!

EK, giving the above plate of food to me: I know that looks like a regular egg, but it’s actually an Australia egg.

EK: ACHOO!
Me: Who sneezed?
EK: It was just a tree outside.
Me: A tree sneezed?
EK: Yeah! How magical is that?!

J: I can’t reach!
Me: Be there in one second!
J: Okay, I’ll count to one. Five, four, three, two, one!

Overheard from the back of the car…
J: We can’t see Jesus because he’s hiding in our hearts.

EK, running up to me, crying: Mom! I falled while we were playing risbeef!
She meant frisbee. And I was trying so hard not to laugh at her pain.

EK got in our bed at 3:00am and after several minutes of no one sleeping…
Me: It’s time to go back and get in your own bed.
EK: Will you carry me?
Me: *picks her up and heads for the stairs*
EK: I just couldn’t sleep because you and Daddy kept moving your legs around.
Me: You know that we didn’t ask you to get in our bed, right?

EK: Ladies and gentlemen! The dangerous volcano is interrupting five minutes! Please stay away so you do not get hurt! Five, four, three, two, one!

J: I found a microbot (from Big Hero 6) on EK’s purse!

When You Wake, I Will Snuggle You. 

I began this post in the middle of the night one night, up with a cranky baby, who eventually fell asleep on my chest, breathing slow and deep in the nursery. I finished it up, and submitted it to a few places, but it was never published on any site but my own.

Life is fleeting.

Children grow quickly. Things happen fast. When you look back, you’re always surprised to see how much has happened.

So when you wake, little one, in the middle of night, I will snuggle you. I’ll be tired; don’t doubt that. It will be hard, at first, to pull my groggy self out of bed. I’ll complain a little. I’ll stumble into your room.  I’ll scoop you up, sniff right behind your ear, and settle into our chair.

It’s the same chair, you know, that I nestled into with your brother and your sister. I’ve spent hours and hours in this chair. The time probably amounts to days or even weeks, actually. But I’m not sad. I’ve loved those moments. Snuggling, nursing, rocking, booty-patting, back-rubbing and snoozing, all done for long, delicious moments with three gorgeous, cuddly, sleeping (or sleepless) babes in this same chair. I knew even then that the moments were numbered. You would not always need me like this. Want me like this.

But times have changed, and in the best way. You are independent. You are doing many things on your own, playing happily alone, communicating with others, asking for what you want, and showing me you aren’t as helpless as you once were. But in the dark of night, waking from your sleep, you cry out. And I hear you. Unsteady and dazed though I may be, I rouse myself from my warm bed, groaning with effort and sleep, and struggle across the hall to your room. When I open the door, there’s just more darkness, but I know exactly where you are. I reach down, and feel your tiny arms reaching for me. You knew I was coming for you, even before I got there.

That’s how we are made, you and I. We know that we’ll find the other, in dark of night, in the depths of our exhaustion. I will find you, love you, snuggle you. No matter how old you get, when you need me, I will come. Regardless of the reason, or direness of need, I will be there when you need me. And for now, when you wake, I will snuggle you.

This post is part of my NaBloPoMo, where I publish a piece every day in November. I brought this one up from the depths of old drafts, and I hope you enjoyed it!

He Could Be My Son. 

Mahmoud Raslan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

This boy – five years old – having seen more than many children will see in their entire lives, has shocked our country into realizing and responding to the terror and violence wreaking Syria. It might have been easy to turn away from the information we get via television and the internet, when the headlines are often focused on the latest Trump-ism or Bieber folly.  But this photo, this one viral image of a dusty, bloody boy, tiny and scared, in the back of an ambulance, has been burned into my psyche. 

He could be my son. 

He could be a nephew, a neighbor, a classmate. He is all of those things, even if not my own. He is torn from his home by a futile attempt to force Syrian citizens into submission by the radical government regime. All the effort does is harm, maim, and kill. 

He could be my son. 

He could be one of hundreds, thousands. Displaced, alone, wandering. They might be hungry, thirsty, and tired. They are struggling to take even one more step towards just the possibility of freedom. 

He could be my son. 

He could be my very own boy, ripped from me by an air strike. He could be my son, and I could be torn from him by rescuers who can only save a few. He could be my son, my only possession worth saving, and I would die for him a hundred times over. He could be your son, dirtied, bruised, bloodied, scared to death. 

Silent. 

He could be my son. 

Please consider giving what you can to a local and specific relief effort. Here is a short list (there are many more!) of organizations taking donations of any size:

Karam Foundation 

Hand In Hand for Syria

Mercy Corps

Migrant Offshore Aid Station

If you can’t give, do what we can all do: pray. 

A Mom’s Day in the Car

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus!

Last week, my family did the unthinkable: we took a road trip. 

 Now, I don’t say that because we didn’t want to leave town, or even because we packed a lot. (In fact, Hubby and I remarked about how we felt like we packed the same amount for this trip as we had packed for our eldest’s first road trip – even though now we have three times the number of children.) I say that because the 350-ish miles to my parents’ house took us way longer than it should’ve. Hubby and I used to do it in 5 1/2 hours before we had kids. Now, it takes at least 8 and maybe more. Basically, road tripping with small kids is a long, arduous process. Here are a few reasons why:

Poop. Yes, as we are constantly telling our children, everyone poops. However, when poop happens into a diaper, there’s quite the clean up to be had. And sometimes if it takes us a little longer than usual to either realize there has been a poop, or to find a place to go to clean up said poop, the mess may have just gotten bigger. For example, on the way back to NC, my youngest (8 months old) went through three changes of pants. All I have to say is thank goodness the child seat wasn’t ruined, because there’s no way to change that in small town SC.

Food. Everyone has to eat. The problem is that everyone eats different things at different times and sometimes, they’re pickier than usual. For instance, my terrible two went completely bonkers when I suggested he drink lemonade and eat oranges. For crying out loud, HE LOVES LEMONADE AND ORANGES! But for some reason, when those were the most readily available things, he flat out refused, via a tantrum. We ended up making it the last two hours with jelly beans. That was the only reason we made it home. 

 Scheduling problems. My kids typically have an afternoon nap all at the same time, (within about half an hour of each other). My youngest also has a morning nap. But when we’re in the car all day, and no one has let out any energy, we’re just watching movies and eating jelly beans, naps are a little wonky. However, at some point each of them are going to have a meltdown (probably about how we won’t stop the car and let them out) and get tired. It’s just tough when one goes to sleep, and another has a meltdown and wakes that one up. Then finally those two are asleep, and the third one gets hungry and starts yelling. I’m telling y’all, it’s one of the circles of hell.

Movie preference. We are extremely lucky to have a car that has a DVD player and screens in it. We’ve not even had it a year, and before that we were using the iPad, harnessed between the two front seats (that had to be exactly side by side). But even with the screens, there’s a little bit of complaining about what we’re watching. Why can’t I just put on Frozen? Why can’t we watch endless episodes of Sofia the First? Well, what about Chuggington? Because MY CAR DOESN’T HAVE NETFLIX. That’s why. I brought 8 DVDS. CHOOSE ONE AND BE HAPPY.

All in all, we made it out alive and well. There might be some emotional scarring, but in a few days, I’ll be okay.

A Letter to Myself Before I Became a Mother

  
Dear innocent, young girl,

I want to write you, even though I know you’ll never see it. But maybe it will make us both feel better, and let us share a little of ourselves with each other. Oh, if you only knew what’s coming. I could tell you so many things, but you wouldn’t even want to hear them right now. It’s difficult to understand the lifestyle, the struggles, all of the feels that you will experience later. You might even have a chuckle or two (or hearty laugh, actually) at some of the things coming for you.

But in lieu of us having a little laugh at my (our) expense, I thought I’d give a piece or two of advice. You know, a friendly few suggestions to maybe try out before you get to where I am now: wading through a pile of children on my way to the bathroom in the morning, hearing shouts floating up the stairs before I’ve even heard my alarm (by the way, my alarm is a crying baby). Here are my three big pieces of advice:

1. Sleep late. I know you do already, or I wouldn’t know how much you’d miss it. But do it more often, as often as possible. And you know what else? Go to bed early. I know you’re a night owl and you love staying awake in the wee hours, but just try it out once or twice. You might find that you like it!

2. Travel. You don’t have any idea how cheap and easy it is to go places right now. It will be again, but not for a while. Get out there into the world beyond your town. Visit friends that live far away, go to different time zones while your body can spring back easily, get on an airplane without any tag-alongs (and I don’t mean Girl Scout cookies), eat fancy food, visit museums and see shows. You’ll find that each of these things is either more expensive, more difficult, or altogether impossible, at least for a little while. Travel enough now to save up some memories until your children are older and you’re not using your paycheck on diapers.

3. Sow seeds. This seems broad, but it can be specifically applied to three areas: your family, your friends, and your career. You will be busy when you’ve got little ones. And not any sort of busy that you’ve ever experienced. You won’t have much time to build new relationships, so sow good seeds into the family and friends you’ve got now. You want them to stick around during that time when you’re largely an unshowered, frazzled mess, alive solely because of coffee. They’ll be forgiving (and even helpful!) because you’ve spent years loving them well when you had the time and energy for it. Your career will thank you as well. Work hard and long while you don’t have those little ones who need you at home. You’ll build a base of trust and integrity, and likely receive grace later when you have a sick babe or preschool play to attend.

The last thing I’ll say, free and childless one, is when you do get ready for children, and you are expecting one of your own, don’t brush off what those mothers you meet will tell you. New mothers, old mothers, working mothers, stay-at-home mothers will all impart wisdom to you in their own way. Sometimes, you won’t know why they need to tell you those ridiculous things, or scare you with their labor stories, or be the hundredth woman to tell you, “Oh, just wait!” They’re all right; what they say will be true at some point during your mothering experience. You will be tired, you will get fed up, and you will feel the craziest, strongest, most permanently bonding love you’ve ever felt about anything. Open your heart to it, because it’s the best thing you’ll ever feel.

Why I Decided To Stop Breastfeeding (And You Can, Too)

Breast is best. Did you know? Breast is best. Everyone tells you that. If you don’t know that, you must be totally secluded from women or parents or doctors.

But if you ask me, sometimes, breast isn’t always best.

There. I said it. For me, breastfeeding has been difficult. I have three children, and I have breastfed all of them for various amounts of time. Two nursed only a few weeks, and the rest of the time were fed with bottles of expressed milk or formula. My middle child managed to nurse for 8 months (an incredible accomplishment for both of us), and even though I was also pumping, my supply wasn’t enough for that to be his only nourishment.

I’ve taken supplements, consumed my weight in water, eaten healthfully and plentifully, done everything I could to keep my supply up… It’s just never worked. For me, no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t keep up with my hungry babies. And in my household, a hungry baby made for an angry baby, which made for stressed mom, which made for upset dad, and very little sleep for all of us. Our sanity was going out the window, so we threw “Breast is best” to the wind, and supplemented with formula. Our babies grew and grew, were happier and happier, are rarely sick and the most fun and intelligent kiddos I know.

Just this week, as my youngest turned four months old, I had a difficult conversation with Hubby. “I’m tired,” I said tearfully. “I’m stressed, and I want those two hours of my day back.” Those two hours I spend pumping. Those were two hours that I could be spending time with my children, writing, reading, showering, folding laundry, or SLEEPING were always sacrificed to the milk machine. I slaved at the pump to get less than three bottles a day for my little guy (who eats like a horse – what will I do when he’s a teenager?!) when I could be feeding him formula and actually playing with him during those times. Instead, my free moments while the kids were asleep, at school, or playing with Daddy were spent in my room getting a few ounces of what everyone told me was the best thing for my child.

So I stopped.

I stopped my supplements. I stopped charting my water intake. I stopped stressing about a schedule. I weaned myself off the pump.

Y’all, it feels great. I’ve gotten more sleep, spent more time with Hubby and the kids, and I’m less stressed about how I’m going to plan those hours into my day. Breast was only best for so long… and then it wasn’t anymore. Don’t crack under the pressure if it’s not working for you. I’m not staying don’t try – you absolutely should give it a shot. For so many, it is the best. But if it’s not, that’s okay. You’re not broken and neither is your child. There are other ways to nourish them, and certainly other ways to bond with them. You do you, mamas, however it works. That is the best.