Blog Feature

My guest post for And Nobody Told Me on March 7, 2011

When you’re pregnant, you have so many hopes and dreams and wishes for that little being inside you. You want to protect him from any harm.

Neither of my pregnancies were easy. You hear some women say that pregnancy is beautiful and perfect and the best time of their lives. They are complete liars; being pregnant is hard. My children are beautiful and perfect and the best things in my life; that much is true.

I won’t bore you with the details of my labor with Gabe. I am a wuss when it comes to pain, so it was long and arduous. After hours of contractions, it was suddenly time to push, and then…suddenly he was born. I was so exhausted and emotional that I didn’t grasp that there was a problem right away. The nurses had him in the bassinet and were cleaning him up when they noticed that he was having trouble breathing. They had the neonatologist come look at him, and they took him to the NICU for “observation.” He had sucked in some amniotic fluid on his way out, and it went into his lungs, which led to further complications.

Gabriel Joshua was born on December 3rd, 2009, and spent the first 12 days of his life in the NICU. He was on a C-PAP machine at first, then later a nasal cannula, and was being tube-fed breast milk that I had pumped. We spent as much time with him as we could. I would go to the hospital to be with Gabe after spending the morning with my daughter, come home for supper with my mom, daughter and husband, then my husband and I would go up to visit Gabe after putting our daughter to bed. Thank goodness for Grandma Jan, who came to stay with us and cared for our 3-year-old daughter Bailey during the whole ordeal.

One of the most difficult parts to deal with before I was discharged from the hospital was when I was alone in my hospital room at night. I’d lay there after my husband had gone home to help put our daughter to bed, and just stare in confused fury at the empty bassinet where Gabe should have been sleeping…not in a covered bassinet, with tubes and wires attached to him, in the NICU. I sat in my room alone and cried. When I was discharged without him, I was in agony. It felt so wrong to be coming home without him. I told myself that I was going to wear my hospital name band with his name on it until he came home. I joyfully cut it off the day he was discharged.

I look at him now and I marvel at how perfect he is. At 14 months old, you’d never know that my wild and crazy little man who challenges my patience and my sanity on a daily basis, had had such a rocky start in life. I consider myself blessed with the crazy chaos that is life with children.

She’ll Be Fine

I know that everyone and their sister is writing blog posts about the start of school, but, you know me…I write what is on my heart and mind. 🙂

Miss Bee starts Kindergarten next week. This fact fills me with pride, but I’m finding I’m also feeling a little bit of trepidation, sadness, and dare I say it, doubt.

She’s ready for Kindergarten; we know that. She’s BEEN ready. As advanced as she is, we feel like adding the challenge of Chinese Immersion Kindergarten won’t hold her back. In fact, I think she’ll thrive. 

It’s just that… She’s MINE. You know? 

Our first day at home with our sweet girl

She’s been in preschool part time for the past 2 years, so I have had sort of a cushion of time to prepare me for letting go, but I’m finding it’s still breaking my heart a little. As a stay at home mom, I’ve had the privilege of being her mama, her teacher, her cheerleader, her shoulder to cry on, her playmate, her snuggle partner, her hand to hold. As her mama, I’ve seen her first words, her first steps, her first haircut, her first ABC’s, her first chapter book, her first forray on her own on her bike, her first loose teeth. 

Putting her on that bus her first day of kindergarten is going to be excrutiating. I’ll put on a big brave smile for my big brave girl, but after the bus drives away, taking my baby girl with it, I give no guarantees I won’t be a complete mess. 

A teeny tiny seed of doubt in my mind has me quietly pondering, though. Will they be kind to her? Will they see how brilliant she is? Will she miss me?

I can hear my husband now, saying, She’ll be fine. She’ll have a blast. Her teacher will guide her. She’ll make friends. Yes, yes to all of that. Before we know it, she’ll be asking for the car keys, and rolling her eyes when I tuck her hair behind her ears so that I can see her pretty blue eyes.

But for just a little while longer, I want to keep her to myself.

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Our little girl playing dress up in my wedding dress

Bragging About My Kids

This morning was awesome. I got to hang out with the kids, enjoy their company and just be chill.  My husband had to go to work, unfortunately, but we made the best of our Saturday morning even if he couldn’t be there to enjoy it with us.

When I got up and walked into the living room, my sweet daughter proudly presented me with this:

She had gotten up before anyone else (not uncommon for her on weekends), and quietly sat at the kitchen table coloring.  Have I mentioned how awesome and independent and smart she is?  If I haven’t, remind me to start bragging about her from now on, because she is my favorite daughter.  Okay, so she’s my only daughter, but whatever…she’s the coolest little girl I’ve ever had the pleasure of spending time with.
She talks and talks and talks and talks constantly (like her Mama), except when she has her nose stuck in a book, and then she is silent and intent. It’s so cool to see my four-year-old devour books the way she does.  She is reading books that I liked when I was little, so it’s fun to see her getting into them so much.  She is so imaginative that she will read a book (or see a movie or t.v. show or whatever), and then play that she is the characters in that book/movie for months to come.  We often hear her talking to Totoro over tea, or playing house with Ellen Tebbits or, most recently, going on adventures with Junie B. Jones. 
And our son? Our (almost) 20-month-old wild little man with no fear and heart-breaking blue eyes? He greeted me with a devious grin when I opened his door this morning, and made me chase him to change his diaper. When he was set free to run, he immediately ran down the hall to find his sister. After breakfast, I found him like this:

Hey, not every man can pull off rock star jammies and Tinkerbell rain boots!  I call him Puppy, because he follows me everywhere. Including the bathroom these days, where he’ll make a beeline for the bath toys and proceed to spread them all over the bathroom in the 60 seconds it takes me to do my business.

He sat with me on the couch this morning watching silly YouTube videos on my phone, with his little head on my shoulder. Each time my collar bone would get in his way, he’d wiggle just a wee bit closer so he could find a soft spot to lay his sweaty head again, until he was practically laying on top of me.

Even if there are days when I have a running stream of frustrated cussing going through my head, our kids are awesome. They are crazy, funny, silly, sweet and smart, and they amaze us every day.

We. Are. Blessed.

Rules of Toddlerhood

What’s mine is mine.
What’s yours is mine.
If it looks like something of mine, it’s mine.
If I want it, it’s mine.
If YOU want it, it’s mine.
If I had it 30 seconds ago, it’s mine.
If I had it 30 minutes ago, it’s mine.

Did I leave anything out?

Water, Water, Everywhere

“Water, water, everywhere
Water near and far
Let’s use our hands and feet
To count how many kinds there are…”
(from a Baby Einstein bath book)

One of my favorite activities to do with my daughter is to take her outside, give her a bucket of water and some cups and spoons, and let her go nuts.  It’s so fun to watch her play and splash and giggle.  The ultimate expression of joy spreads over her face.  She loves being allowed to make a big of a splash as she wanted and not get into trouble.  Watching her play in the wading pool at our local park is hilarious, because I see in her face the same joy I felt as a child, playing in the water at the lake.  When I was younger, going to visit my grandparents in Boston was so exciting because we got to go to the beach!

I spent 3 summers in Florida after high school, working for a summer camp.  We traveled from coast to coast and top to bottom of the state.  I once again fell in love with the ocean.  It gave me so much joy to be near the open water. Swimming, snorkeling, sailing, sitting on the beach, talking with friends and relaxing, the taste of the salt on my lips and the feeling of peace after a day at the beach; I couldn’t get enough.

My wish is to be able to share the ocean with my kids some day.  For them to see the beautiful blues and greens of the water, and run and jump in the waves.  Feel the warm sand between their toes and the pull of the tide, the waves splashing their legs.

For me, the thought of water brings back joyful memories.

First Thoughts of the Day

How can such a sweet little boy smell SO bad?!?  Man, I love my baby, but damn…and he gives me the gift of an extremely disgusting diaper bright and early in the morning too!  What a guy.

So, our savings account was closed on us this morning.  Due to inactivity and zero balance.  Whoopsie…I guess that means we haven’t been saving as much as we should be, huh?  Ah well, I was able to open another one and link it to our checking account blah blah blah.  But during all the paperwork via telephone, the guy keeps trying to sell me more of the bank’s products:

“Ma’am have you ever gotten an auto insurance quote from us?  I think we could save you lots of…”

At this point I tuned him out, because we already have auto insurance and are loyal to our agent.  AND he called me “ma’am.”  I’m 34 freaking years old.  Am I a ma’am? 

We took the kiddo to her preschool open house last night.  I thought I’d get all teary and stuff, but I didn’t.  She met her teacher and then immediately went to find something to play with.  She’s gonna do great.  Her parents, on the other hand?  I am going to be an absolute wreck.  She’s riding the bus to and from school, and I know right now that I am going to be standing at the end of our driveway, crying like a baby when that bus pulls away.  I’m tearing up right now, dang it.

I guess that’s all my blather for today.  Kiddos are napping so maybe I’ll try to do Day Five of the 30 Days of Truth.  …

Alright, Monday, let’s get this over with…

I need more coffee to deal with this day…

Baby Boy has, as of late, turned into Bipolar Baby.  I love him dearly, but holy crap, come on!  He goes from cute and smiley, to a heart-breakingly sad face, to cute and smiley within the span of 3 seconds.  He does this new thing where he puts his little forehead on the floor and cries pitifully when he is really tired / crabby / frustrated. It would be completely adorable, except for the fact that he’s irrationally devastated when I don’t drop whatever it is I’m doing and pick him up immediately.  A Mama’s Boy already.  Crap.

Big Sister has finally, but as to be expected, turned into a pushy little snot when it comes to playing with her baby brother.  She takes his toys out of his hands under the pretense of “showing him how it works,” and then hoarding them on the couch where he can’t reach.  Again with the devastated look when I ask her if I should take away her toys because I want to play with them.  Sheesh, you’d think I was the worst mother in the world…

And, a random:  while we were cleaning our room (which is a chore that I thought I left behind me in middle school, but apparently still need to work on) the other day, I found the gift card for a pedicure that I’ve been “saving.”  Since I found it though, every time I look down at my feet for whatever reason, I think, “My god, you lazy sonuva, get your butt to the spa and enjoy the damn pedi already, because you know you want to.  Your excuses of being ‘too busy’ are just plain crap.”

So, as I type this, the pedi appointment has yet to be made, Bipolar Baby is happily playing in his crib, Big Sister is playing with his toys since he’s not around, and I am drinking a fresh cup of coffee.