Gremlins

I read this quote yesterday, and it makes me smile every time I think about it.  “You have to hang in there, because two or three years later, the gremlins will return your child, and (she) he will be wonderful again.”– Jill Eikenberg

So true for my life right now, and adding that bit of humor is what keeps me going through the day.  I love my kids, every one of them, completely, but I’m pretty sure they’re out to destroy me.  I’m actually beyond thankful today.  6 weeks ago A found a disposable needle in a field and punctured her finger.  We’ve had 2 rounds of blood tests…one immediately and one at 6 weeks.  We heard from the doctor yesterday her final blood test came back completely normal.  Thank God.  It was, so far, the scariest thing I’ve encountered as a parent.  Having your 3-year-old tested for Hepatitis and HIV is just plain wrong.  But all that aside, I find myself dealing with a 3-year-old that is absolutely convinced the world revolves around her.  I presume most 3-year-olds share her sentiments.  It doesn’t matter what I’m doing…tending to C, talking to the Hubs, dishes, laundry, making the bed…she’s not happy if my attention is not on her 100% of the time.  I feel awful because it seems everything else and everyone else, in my life is being neglected.  If I’m making the bed, she wants to be jumping on it.  If I’m doing dishes, she wants me to get out her playdoh, or markers, or stickers, or anything she can come up with to interrupt me doing the dishes.  If I’m folding laundry, she wants to roll around in the piles.  If I’m tending to C, she wants to be in the same room and try as she might, she’s just not capable of being quiet…so putting C down for a nap with A in the same room is basically impossible.  We’re on the final stretch of summer here and it shows.  It’s hot (too hot to be outside for a good chunk of the day), she’s bored, I’m bored and I struggle to get out of the house with both girls in tow.  I’ve just had C for the past 24 hours…A spent the night with her grandparents and while I’ve missed A, it’s been so nice to run a bunch of errands and have some time to sit and breathe.  I wouldn’t give up any of it though.  As crazy and difficult as it is, I love it.  I’m looking forward to August and September too.  A will go back to school in September and I just signed her up for a 1 day per week preschool at our local zoo.  She’s going to have an absolute blast.  She didn’t want to do dance again, so zoo school it is.  We tossed around the idea of her playing soccer, but during the fall the games would interfere with Aggie games, so….yeah….maybe she can play soccer in the Spring.

Like most mothers, I’m sure, I find myself constantly striving to be a better mom to A.  The past few weeks have been especially hard.  I told Hubs I thought maybe I should go back to work…that being home with her isn’t the best thing.  I don’t think I actually feel that way, but geez, when nothing you do seems to work in terms of teaching or disciplining, you’re left wondering if you should just wipe the slate clean and start from scratch.  I’ve been so close, too close, to walking out the door at 5 o’clock several nights and not coming home until late, late at night.  Just dropping everything, because I’m frustrated and angry, and leaving.  One of the things my mom taught me is to never leave the house angry.  That lesson has stuck with me for a long, long time.  I did get some time away this week, spent a few hours running errands alone then split a bottle of wine with Aunt D.  It did wonders.  It’s amazing what a few hours away will do for my sanity.  I’m going to start doing it more often.  Even if I don’t plan it for myself, my volunteer obligations are getting ready to kick into high gear and I’ll be forced to spend time away from home, the Hubs and the Littles.  I’ve been struggling lately because it seems my needs, wants and desires come dead-last in this family.  And I guess that’s the plight of a mother, but it’s still a hard pill to swallow sometimes or in my case, most of the time.  I sleep until the girls wake up in the mornings because C is still up several times a night, I don’t nap during the day, and I fall into bed bone-tired at night.  There’s just nothing left for me at the end of the day.  I know it’s all temporary…in the blink of an eye C will be done nursing, she’ll be sleeping through the night, A will be back in school and I’ll start convincing myself it’s time to try for another baby because I’ll start longing for days like the ones I’m currently experiencing.  But isn’t that one of life’s biggest challenges?  To take what you KNOW and take what you FEEL and somehow morph them into one consistent thought and action?  I’m working on it, but I’m just not very good at it.

Over.

So.  School’s over for the year.  So are dance classes.  And here I sit on the eve of summer, and I’m scared.  I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but I’m scared.  I’m scared to spend all day, every day, with both my children.  I haven’t been in this position before so in addition to school being out and dance lessons being over, we’re throwing in a 9 week old that needs to be cared for.  It will be so very easy to spend each day in pajamas watching tv.  But I know I can’t let that happen.  It should be an interesting few weeks as A and I adjust to each other.  We’ll eventually fall into a routine that will include playing outside, crafts, maybe some baking and cooking and endless trips to the museum and zoo.  I’ve also signed her up for swim lessons, church camp (it’s only 4 days, 2 hours each evening), we’ll be taking a trip to see the in-laws over the 4th of July, A will spend a week with my parents in July and I’m still hoping to sneak a family beach trip in there somewhere.  I’m also seriously considering sending her to VBS at the church where she attends preschool.  We’ll see.

It’s a strange feeling to truly be fearful of spending time with your kid.  But I’m all about being honest here, and honestly, it scares me.  I’ve had so many reasons over the past 18 months or so to not be the best mom.  I was pregnant, then I wasn’t, then I was an emotional mess, then I was pregnant again, now I have a new baby.  But it’s time for me to get my proverbial shit together and be the best mom I can be.  I want my kids to remember their childhood fondly and endless episodes of Dora and Team Umizoomi only stick with you for so long and, given her age, I think I stand a good chance at leaving either a positive or negative impression on her childhood memories this summer.  I would also like to get back into the swing of things around the house.  Following my cleaning schedule, cooking dinner regularly (I actually do this one pretty darn well considering), perhaps a jog every now and then and also fitting in “me” time there somewhere.  These are all lofty goals when you factor in the new baby and lack of sleep.  But hey, a girl can dream right?

So here I sit, getting ready to embark on the Summer of 2012.  I know that each day I will wonder how my children will survive the remainder of the day; how I will survive the remainder of the day.  I know that each day I will look forward to bed time.  I know that each day I will catch myself sighing, or looking at my 3-year-old like she’s an alien sent to destroy me.  Some days my 3-year-old WILL be an alien sent to destroy me.  I’ll also, most likely, crack up each day.  And I’ll go to bed each night wondering if I did my best; recounting all the moments I could have done better.  I’ll spend my days trying to keep up with my kids, trying to maintain a house, trying to give my husband what he needs and around 5 each day decide I can’t, and pour myself a glass of wine.  Or grab a beer.  Or both.  I’ll juggle play-doh, markers, crayons, chalk, paint, glitter, stamps, diaper changes, time outside, errands, rocking the baby to sleep, nursing, and a whole host of other things on a daily basis.  I’ll try to keep my cool, remain calm and be consistent in my expectations of my children and how I discipline them.  I don’t want to yell…my mom yelled.  Hopefully I’ll make it to September and be happy with what I see behind me.  Now, I’m headed to bed to try to get some rest.  I want to start this summer off as rested as possible.  Cheers to the Summer of 2012 Y’all!

Sister Love

I’ve been amazed since day 1 at how much Baby C adores her big sister.  For now, big sister also adores her baby sister; frequently asking to see her, kiss her, hug her and commanding I go check on her baby sister when she hears Baby C fussing.  I love watching them interact and while Baby C likes me and her daddy, she absolutely has a favorite…her big sister.  Here’s proof, a random Wednesday morning before dance class.

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Grumble

I got Photoshop Elements for Christmas. Until now, I’ve managed to load it on my computer and that’s it. Yesterday, I finally figured out how to add a watermark to photos (a process so simple it should have taken me 5 minutes to figure out but instead took several hours thanks to the 2 littles). I also found some free actions from MCP Actions and I’m in the process of trying to download them and install them into Photoshop. Trouble is, this takes time. There are instructions to follow and since I have NO CLUE what I’m doing, I kind of need to focus. Wich is impossible since my life is lived in 5-10 minute segments these days. There is a very fine line between caring for and devoting yourself to your children/family and still taking time for yourself. Sigh. Frustrating evening last night and it’s still with me this morning. Having 2 kids is fun, but it’s not for wussies.

On having 2 kids…

Here’s what I’ve learned, in my first month, of having 2 kids:

  • When mentally preparing for whatever task is at hand (getting ready for church, running an errand, getting A to preschool or dance class, fixing dinner, etc.) it seems downright impossible.  The truth is, on paper, it never works.  But somehow, when the time comes, you just do it and it all works out fine.
  • Accomplishing any task at this stage makes me feel like a superhero.  I took both girls to the zoo yesterday, no the baby didn’t sleep the whole time, and we did just fine.
  • Nursing in public is a must-do.  It really doesn’t bother me as long as I can find a somewhat discreet place to do it.  And if I can’t find a discreet place, well, too bad.  Frankly, I’m not that modest and I’m only willing to do so much.
  • Breastfeeding is so much easier this time around.
  • If I’d had only an ounce of the confidence I do now, as a mother, the first time around with A wouldn’t have been nearly as difficult.
  • Babies cry, in public.  And it’s ok.  Preschoolers cry too, sometimes in public.  And it’s also ok.  I just tend to their needs and move on.  I’m much less concerned about crying in public this time around.  When A was little, I was terrified to leave the house for fear that she’d cry in the car or in public.
  • My needs have taken a serious backseat.  That’s not necessarily a good thing and I need to work on it.
  • I’m pretty sure I’m on the AAP hit list.  I’m breaking all the rules.  C spends a good chunk of the night in my bed.  Surrounded by pillows and covered with my sheets and comforter.  This morning I found her passed out on her belly…gasp!
  • I feel the need to repeat the word confidence.  It’s made such a HUGE difference.  Unfortunately, that confidence only comes with experience.
  • I’m shocked with how much C adores her big sister.  At only a month old she looks for A when she hears her voice and is perfectly content to lay on the floor beside A while she plays.  C talks the most to A.
  • A is just as smitten with C.  For now.  I suspect that will change when C becomes mobile.
  • I can’t imagine doing this with a 2 year old.  A 3 year old is so much more independent and makes it much easier.
  • I’ll choose sleep over a shower almost every time.
  • No 2 babies are alike.
  • I can almost always pinpoint exactly what C needs and calm her down.  The only thing I can’t seem to fix are her gas issues.
  • My house is a disaster.  I’m pretty sure I don’t really care.
  • I miss my husband like crazy.  Both from a relational stand point and also as my partner, an extra set of hands and someone to talk with.
  • I’m amazed by the number of things I can do with one hand.
  • The emotions I feel about the well-being and the life I want these 2 girls to have is almost over-whelming.  Especially since we’re getting ready to take a HUGE step of faith in the work/income department.  It stresses me out a little…I want them to have a great childhood and want to be able to provide a really great life for them.  I know that doesn’t always mean you need lots of money, but it helps.
  • There really is plenty of love to go around.  Lap space, not so much.
  • I can manage on a lot less sleep than I ever dreamed possible.
  • The time goes by too fast.  Baby C is already 5 weeks old and weighs almost 12 pounds.  She wears 3 month clothes and I think we’re going to need size 2 diapers next.
  • I wish someone would have told me to really SEE A before C was born.  A still seemed small.  Her nose was small, her fingernails were small.  Now all those things, and so many other things seem huge because my perspective has changed.  I can’t seem to get back to the place where anything about A seems small and it makes me sad.
  • I’m kind of loving having 2 kids…especially when I walk into the room and see this:

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