Sunday, September 25, 2016

Mommy's New Car Struggle

Like many adults, I recently faced the struggle of my car breaking down on the side of the road. Luckily my daughter was with her father and my husband was with me. The lack of preparation on my part made the whole ordeal hectic from the get-go. Needless to say, getting back on my feet took a lot of favors and a community to raise me back to where I needed to be. I have since started the process of purchasing a vehicle. It is a late model car with an impeccable interior. This is surprisingly a greater issue for me than I originally imagined. I have a minor issue with obsessive tendencies. In layman's terms- I have OCD. I need everything to stay as neat and orderly as possible. As a mother, this is far from any likely scenario that I may encounter. I am at a crossroads at which I need to decide whether to be practical and create normal rules, or be me and try to control every future situations. From the second I signed the paperwork I was imaging the laminated rule sheet that I would leave in my car. It would instruct my children, husband, and any potential passengers that there was to be no opened food or beverage allowed in the vehicle. There were many other rules I planned in my mind as well. Such included that there were to be floor mats on all carpeted areas at all times, there were to be no abrasive fabrics or adornments allowed on any clothing in the car (in case of an unintentional tear), and that there were to be no scented sprays, foods, or lotions allowed in the vehicle (I'm odd about wanting my areas to smell like me). These were just a few of the rigid ideas that instantly came to mind. As I thought it over though, enforcing such rules would make me, my kids, and any potential passengers extremely miserable. At this realization, I decided to find a liberal middle-ground. I will allow clear beverages (water, light juices, lightly colored Gatorade, etc.) within the vehicle as long as they have a lid or resealable cap. I will allow non-messy foods (anything dry or without sauce (french fries, chicken nuggets, crackers, etc.) within the vehicle as long as there is a reassurance that if crumbs are dropped I will be informed so I may vacuum at my earliest convenience. Also, I will allow scents in the car as long as they are not sprayed in the car or as long as the window is down enough to allow for ventilation. Also, I will not laminate these, just discuss them upon their relevant occurrences.  It may still seem strict, but it helps me maintain my pre-mom self in my mom state. I will probably eventually relax on those rules as well; but, baby steps for now. Compromise is crucial when you become a mom. Not just for your kids either!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Hearts Full of Headache

I love my children. I really do. Don't get me wrong, they're great. The only problem is the chaotic bunches of noise that inevitably follow them. I am so blessed to have the children and husband that I do and it warms my heart to see our dreams coming true together; but, I get lost in the noise of it all sometimes. My head is always throbbing lately. The cries of a child who feels terrible over the tiniest spill, or the screams of anguish from a husband who lost an online race in Grand Theft Auto. They are great and they fill me with pride, but lately it hurts. I grow more and more irritable the closer I get to delivering our new arrival and as much as I try to avoid it, I see myself having meltdowns over the smallest of things. I don't remember being this emotional during my last pregnancy. They say each baby and each pregnancy is different. They couldn't have been more accurate. With my first, I was always so quiet and level-headed. With this child, I feel like I am a dictator waiting for a reason to go off on any and everyone. I feel so bad for my husband and daughter. They must think I've gone completely crazy. Whether it's sanitizing the table for the 500th time or organizing the toy bins again, I find myself caring more about the little things. I guess the term nesting is pretty accurate. Like a mother bird preparing the nest for her eggs to hatch, I am hopping around preparing the house. I feel like I complain a lot lately about how messy things are or how loud things are getting. Even a television set on volume level 3 (of 50) has been able to find a way under my skin. I don't know why the noise is driving me crazy, but it is. As much as I complain and clean though, I find myself happier than ever. With each headache, there is a precious memory that will make me forget the pain. Almost like selective amnesia. I am so thankful for the hormones and the life I have. With every headache and reorganization, I feel my heart growing more full and my life becoming more complete! It's a magical mess and leaves me seeking out more chaos in my life. What can I say, I have baby fever!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Technological Children

I am a happy person. Growing up I was taught how to use technology from an early age. My dad worked in the computer science field as long as I could remember. It always bothered me though that he limited my siblings and my screen time. He also only let us purchase or download video games if they were educational (until we were of age to buy them ourselves with our own money). He was spastic and I always thought he was just being strict. The truth is, he saw the dangers first hand. His over exposure to screens led to his vision deteriorating at an increased speed. Also, he could never get the many laser eye corrective surgeries to stick. I always said that I would find a balance with my kids. Now though, I find myself following in his over-spastic technological foot steps. I don't want my children raised unaware of the advances occurring around them and I want them to have fun; but, as I quickly learned, many kids games today are just time fillers. I would hate to know that my daughter wasted two or more hours a day on meaningless time fillers when she could be learning new skills or developing a passion for a subject that she could potentially spend her life studying. So, I was on a search to find my daughter a toy that was the true balance between fun and education. For me growing up, that came in the form of the Jump Start! Education games. I loved them all. They gave me a genuine passion for reading and math and helped me in the areas I struggled in as well. Looking back, I blame my dad less for only letting me play educational games than I did for him not teaching me as much about the internet. I want my daughter to know the dangers and benefits of using the internet too. So, in search of the perfect combination of technology, education, and internet/technological awareness, I bought my daughter the LeapFrog Epic Learning Tablet. She absolutely adored it. It was part of her Christmas last year and she learned so much so fast. Unfortunately, she stepped on the screen one day when she was trying not to fall and broke it. She was devastated. She missed her friends on the Kindergarten games and she also missed the activities that taught her to sort, count, read, and imagine. In an attempt to find a new one, we attempted several other tablets, but none compared. She only had eyes for that tablet. I got her a new one last night and I can't wait for her to return Sunday so she can be reunited with all her pals and play to her heart (and brain)'s content!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Kicks of Kindness

I love the feeling of being pregnant. As a mom of one, soon to be two, there is honestly nothing better than feeling those first little kicks of the baby on the way. My first angel's first kicks came at 18 weeks, for the second, they came at 13 weeks. I love the sensation of the baby moving. The baby is inside and safe and happy and in a great part that is due to me. Knowing that the majority of the baby's life relies on me at this stage is both scary and reassuring. I'm so scared because at any moment, any decision I make could mess up that child's life or body forever. At the same time though, I eat healthy, take walks, read and speak to my little one's ears. I know that I am doing everything I can to protect her. While I am so anxious to meet her, I am also terrified. Like any mom, I never want my child to feel a second of pain. I would do anything to avoid it if possible. While she's inside, I can. Once she's out though, she will have to face the world. Like her older sister, regardless of how much I try to teach and protect her, she will undoubtedly fall and scrape her knees, or hit her head. It pains me to even realize that at this point. With less than half of my pregnancy left, it's almost a countdown to the inevitable. Her sister is excited. She can't wait to see and hold the baby (with help of course). She doesn't understand though that until that moment she can only communicate through kicks. It is adorable and melts my heart. Those tiny kicks of kindness have such an impact on so many people that they haven't even met yet. I just hope that as a mother I can tame those kicks into hugs and kisses as she matures. Sure, she'll probably have her fair share of tantrums; but, like her sister, those kicks will turn into kind words and smiles to last a lifetime. Until then, I will try to make every moment and every kick as memorable as possible. They're gone before I know it and it's hard to let them go! I can't believe how small babies are and how big they get. I mean, even though it was less than three years ago, I almost can't remember my first angel being as small as she was without seeing the pictures to remind me. Without the videos I took, I'd hardly remember the stage when she was just kicking inside my tummy. It's crazy how time flies!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Challenges Before Christmas

I know what you're thinking, Christmas is months away. Well, as a parent, Christmas never seems to be over. I am always contemplating what my angels would like for the next year or what they already have that they need replaced (cool clothes and all). But the real challenge for me is the wait. I am almost more excited to give my children things than they are to get them. People said in the beginning that it was a phase that would pass; but, it hasn't. Every time we're out on the town it seems that I find at least one thing that someone in the house would adore for Christmas. If it is on sale or just a great bargain to begin with I usually pick it up. Then comes the real challenge. We are currently in a home with ample space so I never need to worry about running out of places to hide stuff. I just get so excited that I want to tell, show, or give the gift to them early. It makes it hard to outdo myself when Christmas comes and it can get expensive at times. I am working on training myself out of it. I am just so blessed to have a family that is so amazing. So, the reason that I chose to discuss this now is because I just found some great stuff for my daughter. It was on an app that sells things new or gently used for less. Since she can't use the internet, I find no harm in sharing my excitement! I got a Disney Princess scooter, Disney Princess bike with training wheels, a Disney Princess helmet with a bell (that already annoys my loving husband), and a bike basket that is sooo precious! I am so excited for Christmas in a few months! The other challenges that I face before Christmas might be a bit more universal.  For starters, budgeting. Trying to cover all of the bills, gifts for a family of 3, soon to be 4, a holiday meal, and the transportation costs to go visit multiple of our family members. It's exhausting. Even with the best accounting skills it can be terribly daunting. Then, there's the scheduling. I have every other week with my daughter and a holiday schedule that's equally challenging. Pile that with all of the family members that expect a personal appearance and the desire to enjoy a Christmas celebration to ourselves as a growing family and Christmas can seem to come with more challenges than joys. At the end of the day though, I love it all. The rush leading up to it, the donations throughout the season, the joy of my children, and the love that fills the air. It makes me even happier to be a mom.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Sharing the Shower

I have written a lot lately about my oldest daughter. Partly because she is the only one who has left the womb yet and partly because she gives me so much to say. I do have another on the way though. I just entered my 21st week on Friday and I couldn't be more excited. The funniest thing has been happening lately though and I just thought I'd share. As a mom, I have given my daughter most of her baths and she has shared the shower with me a few times. When I was pregnant she used to love me being in the water as well. She was a very aquatic child. Apparently, her younger sister shares that love for water. Ever since I was able to feel the baby in my tummy move at 14 weeks, showers have been fun. Whenever I set foot in the bathroom when water is running, she presses herself as far to the front of my stomach as she can. She kicks and wiggles in anticipation of the water that will soon come over her. She is a silly girl already. When I am tired of standing or done showering though, the picture changes. My once happy water baby then begins to kick harder and harder as if to urge me back in the shower. She hates that her water time is over. My husband and daughter enjoy it because that's when they're best able to feel the baby move. Here lately though, it has come to hurt a little. As she has been growing, she has been getting stronger and as happy as that makes me, I wish she would just cool it sometimes. My older daughter, in realizing that it hurts me sometimes, has taken it upon herself to lecture my belly. She'll sit beside me on the bed and pull up my shirt and whisper, "Don't kick my mommy baby. It hurts and kicking isn't nice." This makes the baby move more though. She is so happy to hear her sister's voice. When the older sister realized that her lectures were having no impact, she did what any normal child would. She began speaking through her stuffed animals and dolls. The baby has recently been lectured by a dog, a teddy bear, and my personal favorite, Dora. So, as much as I love them all, if shower time doesn't calm down, mommy's going to lose her mind!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Lessons in Loss

As a child of divorce, I was blessed to grow up with two loving sets of parents. My stepfather and Stepmother are just as close to me as my biological mother and father. That made it all that much harder last year when my stepdad passed away. He was my buddy. He took me fishing, taught me to fix my tires (and one terrific cup of coffee too)!!! He was a hero to me. I took his loss very hard. You see, he was a truck driver and I didn't get to see him much. He was really close to my daughter too. That's where my true lessons in loss were learned. She is a terrific and smart kid; but, like the rest of us, she can't wrap her mind around her Papaw being gone. She loved sitting in the driver seat of his semi and the M&M's he'd bring her when he came in for his 34. She was his angel and Papaw's little princess. She loved the way that he would get down on the floor and play no matter how tired he was and how she was always asked to talk to him when he called. The day he died, she was the last one that he hugged and kissed before everything happened. She also unfortunately was in the room for part of the mess that led to his hospitalization. After four long days in the hospital, he lost the fight and went to Heaven. At a loss for words, I tried to explain everything in the most kid-friendly terms that I could. I told her that her Papaw went to sleep forever and was in Heaven now. The problem with that explanation is that she realized that everyone else who went to sleep also woke up. As the anniversary came around this year and I became sad and cried she tried to make me feel better. She held me and rubbed my back and tried to guess who was making me sad. When I said that I just really missed Papaw, she asked if he was finally going to wake up. It broke every last piece of my heart. As I cried harder, she started to smile and even in that moment her smile warmed my heart. Even though she still doesn't understand and probably never will, she remembers him. Unlike the rest of us who saw him in the bed with the IVs and tubes, she remembers the fun and the laughter and the hugs that you could melt into forever. She reminded me that though I hurt right now and will miss him forever, he would want us all happy. As I prepare for the delivery of his second grandchild in 19 short weeks, I know he's still watching and he would be proud of me and of her for all that we've been through and how strong we've become. Though I wish I could hug him one more time or get another ride in his semi, I still have my children to build those memories with. Even if just for him, I will live every day with them trying to be the kind of parent that they, and their children will love and remember forever like I will love and remember him.