Thursday, February 28, 2013

I am a Mom of Big Kids

I came to a somewhat startling realization the other day.

I am a Mom of Big Kids.

Now, before we get too far, I am well aware that at ages 2 1/2 and 4 1/2, my kiddos are still "little kids" in the big picture of childhood.  They still need my help to button their pants and brush their hair and cut their food for them at meal time.  I guess the "startling" part of my realization was more clearly this...

I am no longer a Mom of a Baby.

It happened when I stumbled into a conversation in which a group of Moms were talking about baby led weaning.  I had absolutely no idea what they were referring to.  I knew what 'baby' meant.  I was good with 'led.' And I had (what I thought) was a fairly good understanding of 'weaning.'  Put those three words together, though, and I was clueless.  Was this actually a "thing?"  I actually had to Google it later to find out what it was because 1.) in general, I am a curious person and 2.) I didn't want to feel "out of the (baby) loop" any more.  And yes.  It is a "thing."  Very much so.  

This was the first time I had been totally blindsided by something related to being a Mom of a Baby.  My own kids are only 22 months apart, so I felt like we went from one just on his way to Toddler Town, and then jumped right back into BabyVille again.  For the most part, when topics related to being a Mom of a Baby came up, I could relate and generally knew what people were talking about.  Even if it wasn't something I did with my own baby, I was at least aware of the topic, or had vaguely heard of whatever was being discussed.  This time, however, I had no clue.  I knew the day would come when I wasn't a citizen of BabyVille any more, but nonetheless, it felt like it snuck up on me a little bit.

It dawned on me again in talking about baby registry stuff with my sister.  I was finding out just how much had changed in the world of baby gear since I had my son.  There is a new "must have" bottle, stroller styles are different and you can't find a drop-down side crib anywhere.  (This will make me feel extra old...many of you reading this don't even know what that is...) The things I had used were still on the shelves, but were no longer the "it" items.  There was a time when I felt like I was "in the know" about baby gear and gadgets.  I now feel like I'm more "around the know" ... or maybe "adjacent to the know" ... or perhaps "down the street from the know."  A lot of the stuff is basically the same, but the amount of change in what Moms of babies are using now had the same thoughts entering my brain...

I am no longer the Mom of a Baby.

I have to admit, it did make me sad.  For a minute. I have so many precious memories wrapped up in those first weeks and months with my kiddos!  I loved being the Mom of a Baby.  

I loved having a sleeping baby curled up on my chest.  I loved their teeny, tiny little fingers and toes.  I loved the look of wonder on their faces when they discovered those fingers were theirs...and {gasp!}...they could actually control them.  I loved the smell of all things baby.  (Well, maybe not all things, but you get the picture.)  I loved their little baby fat rolls on top of baby fat rolls.  I loved those first few smiles.  I loved being the Mom of a Baby.

But that sad feeling really was just for a minute, because I have come to realize that...

I love being the Mom of Big Kids, too.

My 4 1/2 year old has just learned how to play checkers.  It is amazing to sit and play a game with him and see his little wheels turning as he plans where his next move will be.  He gleefully instructs "King me!" when he reaches my end of the board.  He smiles and tells me "I'm coming after your kings, Mom!" as the game reaches the end.  He is looking and talking more and more like a Big Kid.  And even though it's hard to see my baby growing up some days, I remind myself it's OK. 

 It's better than OK, actually. It's amazing.
Our family can play a game of Memory together.  We can go catch a movie at an actual movie theater together (as long as said movie is animated...under 90 minutes...but I'll take it).  We can go from one adventure to the next (please note, 'adventures' at this point in life refer to Meijer, the mall or the library, for the most part), and not have to worry about who has to nap when or what time the next feeding will be.  We can leave for the afternoon and not bring half of our house with us.  

My kids tell me jokes now.  (They are still more like statements at this point, but in their mind, they are jokes).  My kids draw pictures for me now.  My kids sing Disney songs to me now.  They are becoming their own little selves, and I get a front row seat to watch it all unfold.  

I know the time will fly.  I know all to soon, I'll be realizing I'm the Mom of School Age Kids.  Of Teenagers.  Of College Kids.  Of Married Kids.  Of Grandkids.  

For now, I'm going to fondly remember being the Mom of a Baby, and revisit those days through pictures, stories and memories. 

For now, I'm going to celebrate being a Mom of Big Kids.  I think I hear another game of checkers calling my name...

Whether you are currently a Mom of a Baby or just remember being one, You Are a Good Mom.  Whatever stage of motherhood you are in, embrace it and enjoy it.  (Moms of teenagers, my heart goes out to you all.  Please take notes so you can tell me what to do when I get there!)  Live in the moment of every stage, as they fly by much too quickly.  As you look back on the end of one phase, look ahead to the new adventures that lie in the next.  Through them all, rest assured that indeed, You Are a Good Mom.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Still best least for now!

My son made this picture for his sister today.  I guess I get to live in my own little dreamworld and think they're best friends for a little while longer... :)

I think he must have read my last post about siblings... 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

"Parent"dox: My Biggest Enemy Becomes my Best Friend

par·a·dox \ˈper-ə-ˌdäks, ˈpa-rə-\
          a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common 
          sense and yet is perhaps true
1.  It is a paradox that computers need maintenance so often, since they are meant to save people time.  (
par·ent·dox  \I need one of my genius speech path friends to do 
                            this part\                                 
                            \Kelli & Gretchen are laughing right now\
the daily experience that is parenthood; seemingly living life in contradiction
          1.  It is a "parent"dox that I am exhausted pretty much all day, but the second my head hits 
          the pillow, my mind starts remembering all of the random things I need to do and I am 
          instantly wide awake.  (   

Sunday Night "Parent"dox #2: My Biggest Enemy Becomes my Best Friend

I had something completely different in mind to write about for tonight's "parent"dox.  But as most things in life go, that plan went out the window as life was actually happening.

This weekend, my sister was in town for her baby shower at my house.  It was an incredibly fun, but busy day, and we finally had the chance to spend some time together after the shower was all said and done.  I sat with my hand on her belly and felt her niece...kick and move and wiggle around.  It was completely indescribable.   Different than when I could feel my own babies move, different than feeling my friends' babies move.  This was my baby sister.  And her little baby she'd soon be bringing into this world.  I've seen her and talked with her all throughout her pregnancy, but after not seeing her for 2 months, it all hit me last night as I could finally feel her little miracle pushing against my hand. 

When did she grow up?  

Where did the time go?  

How did my biggest enemy become my best friend?

When we were growing up, we used to go 'round and 'round, like most siblings do.  She was the one that took my clothes without asking.  The one who I engaged in head-to-head combat with in "Marker Wars."  (That story, my friends, is for another day...)  The one who cut the hair on my "My Time" Barbie doll.  The one who hogged the Nintendo and could always beat the next level of "Super Mario Bros." before I could.  The one who knew exactly how to drive me crazy and push my buttons without even trying.  

I, of course, never so much as spoke a harsh word to her.  Just take my word for it.  Whatever she disputes or remembers differently is neither here nor there...

She headed back home today, as she now lives out of state.  I remember a time when I would have given my Cabbage Patch Kid and my Pound Puppy to not have to spend another second in the same house, let alone the same city, as her.  Now, I am already counting the days until I get to see her next.  

She has, without a doubt, become my very best friend in the world.  After all the yelling matches, the fighting, the bickering, some (read as: my parents) would consider this a miracle.  In a million years, I never would have guessed I'd be trading those days in for long bouts of laughter, a never-ending exchange of text messages...mostly silly, and most of which any other human being on the planet wouldn't understand...and the gift of being able to know what the other is thinking by exchanging a single glance. 

She is the one person in this world who truly knows my life, my story.  She's been there for it all. (Well, minus the first 3 1/2 years.  When she came home from the hospital, I asked if she could spend the night.  The very next day, I asked if they could take her back.  I kept working that angle until I moved out.)  She knows everything about me...the good, the bad, the ugly.  I don't have to explain things to her when we talk; she just gets it.    She gets me.  The same gift she used to use for evil to annoy me, she now uses for good to support me, and to call me out when I need that, too.  It makes her the best listener this girl could ask for.

My parents used to tell us all the time... "You will be the best of friends someday."  This statement usually took place while we were supposed to be apologizing to each other for some wrong doing or after being talked to for the umpteenth time about arguing with each other.  I never believed them.  I usually rolled my eyes, sighed under my breath, or pinched my sister quickly while Mom or Dad was looking the other way.  I imagine I'll be muttering that same "best friends" statement to my own kids many times over, and they will most likely have the same reaction I did.  

Somehow, though, my parents' prediction has actually come true.

My biggest enemy has, indeed, become my best friend.

So, to my sister...You Are a Good Phenominal Mom.  I miss you.  I love you.  I can't wait to meet that sweet little niece of mine.  

And just so we're clear...even with all this mushy stuff, I continue to hold firm to my position that you should have been able to catch the softball I threw while we were playing catch in the basement.  The broken window of '92 is still on you.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Mom is Born

"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.  She never existed before.  The woman existed, but the mother, never.  A mother is something absolutely new."  ~Unknown

I'm A Mom...!...?

The first time I realized that I was indeed someone's "Mom" was not all that long after my first baby was born.  I know that sounds very silly, but it's true.  My son was born at 11:15pm. 

[For those of you keeping score, those 45 minutes did indeed count as our first "night" in the hospital.] 

We were absolutely elated.  Delivery had gone well, I was able to nurse him shortly after he was born, and we were then able to welcome our family into the delivery room to meet the little guy.  They had been waiting patiently all evening and into these early morning hours to meet the new addition to the family.  We finally made it to the room we'd be staying in for the next two (read above comment...more like one...) days by about 2:30am.  We chose to keep our son in his bassinet in the room with us that first night.  When I was wheeled into our room and looked up to see the clock, I remember feeling like we were running on pure adrenaline and joy and couldn't believe we had a healthy baby boy that was our son.

Our son.

Does Anyone Know They Left This Baby in Here?

That feeling hit me like a tons of bricks in the middle of that first night.  Around 3:30 or 4:00am, my son woke up and was crying.  That cry.  That was the cry of my baby.  I had been around a lot of babies in my life, and every single other time I had ever heard them cry, I knew there was a Certified Mom around to comfort them, cuddle them, console them.  That was now, somehow, me.  
Was I ready for this?  Was I prepared for this?  Was I supposed to have a license or some kind of seal of approval or something to do this?  Medical professionals had knowingly left this poor, innocent 5-hour old baby in this room with my husband and me.  I wondered how long it would be until they realized this.

Upon hearing the cry of our son at that middle-of-the-night hour, I carefully got out of the hospital bed, and tried not to wake up my sweet husband, who was attempting to "sleep" on the pull-out chair contraption they deceptively called a "bed" near the window.  I walked over to my newborn son's bassinet and picked up his teeny, tiny swaddled body.  I put him up on my shoulder and patted his back and began walking him back and forth, back and forth, in the dim light of the hospital room.  I was somehow hoping maybe once I picked him up he would just magically fall back asleep in my arms.   I was trying to conjure up all these images of the videos we had seen in our birthing class, the pictures in the books I had read, the visions I had of other moms I had witnessed do these things hundreds of times.  I kept pacing back and forth, back and forth.  I had this crazy feeling of "What am I supposed to do now?  I am his mom.  I am the one who is just supposed to 'know' what do do!"  

At that point, my husband was awake.  We both had a little of a "deer in the headlights" look, and were looking to each other for what to do or what to try next.  After about 10 minutes, a nurse came in our room to check my vital's or the baby's vitals or give me meds or one of the other 476 reasons they come into your room that first night.  I remember thinking "Thank God!  She must have heard him crying and come in to check on him!"  She went about her business of whatever she had come in to do, and wasn't phased in the least by our crying newborn.  

"Ok," I thought.  "This is a good sign.  She is not acting as alarmed as I feel right now.  She is not looking at us like we are the worst parents on Earth.  This must be somewhat normal."

After a couple of minutes, I said "I'm not quite sure why he's crying.  I've been walking him and patting his back and 'shush'ing in his ear, but nothing really seems to be working."  

With very kind eyes, she looked at me and asked "What time did he last eat?"

EAT!  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  How did I not think of that?  A basic survival need, and it had never even crossed my mind.  I have to feed this kid.  How in the world can I be a mom if I don't even remember...wait, even feed my little guy?  

I instantly flashed back to what I had read, what I had heard.  That newborns eat every 2 hours.  That their stomach is the size of a marble.  Those thoughts had not surfaced in all my walking and patting and 'shush'ing.  It had been nearly 4 hours since he had his first meal.  The poor kid was hungry!

The amazing nurse and my incredible husband helped me get our little 7 pound miracle fed, changed, settled and back to bed.  I took a deep breath at that point and thought "This is it.  There is no going back.  I am now a mom.  I am now his mom.  God, please help me to not screw up too badly and to know what to do at least some of the time.  Grant me wisdom, as I'm pretty sure I have no idea what I'm doing, and somehow, the people in this hospital trust me with this precious child.  Your precious child.  Please walk with me every step of the way."  I have prayed that last line, or some version of it, nearly every day for the last 4 1/2 years.

Getting to Know All About You...

In the days and weeks that followed, our little family of three got the hang of being a family.  Feeding, napping, bathing, changing.  We spent time figuring each other out.  When I look back on it now, those are truly some of my absolute happiest memories.  Yes, we were sleep deprived.  Yes, we didn't really know what we were doing.  But it was us.  It was the three of us, and we had each other.  It was in those days that I started trusting myself and trusting my instincts more and more.  I owe a lot of this to my husband, my own mom and the other moms who stopped by to visit.  I could see it in their eyes and hear it in their words and feel it in their warmth-- they trusted me.

I was his mom.  He was my son.  I loved him more than anything on Earth.  When he was hungry or tired or just needed his mom, that was me.  I was that person.  I had walked into that hospital as a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a teacher, but walked out as a Mom.  I knew something had forever changed within me.  

A Mom had been born.  

So whether your little tiny miracle hasn't yet shown herself to the world or your baby is now taller than you, You Are a Good Mom.  You will always and forever be.  You are the one who knows them best.  You are their comfort and their safe place.  You are their Mom.

If you are a Mom-to-be or a relatively new Mom or know someone in those categories, you may want to check out this little addendum post, too!  Just a few more thoughts on this topic that didn't quite fit into this post anywhere.

It is OK

To all the moms-to-be and the brand new Moms out there, please know this: It is OK.

It is OK to be nervous.  It is OK to be eager.  It is OK to be scared.  It is OK to be unbelievably excited beyond words.

It is OK to not know all the answers; none of us do.  

It is OK to ask questions.  Lots and lots and lots of questions.  It is OK to keep seeking answers if none of the answers you get to those questions feel right to you.  

It is OK to laugh.  It is OK to cry.  It is OK to do both at the same time.

It is OK to be totally overwhelmed...with emotions, with motherhood, with support from others, with laundry.  It is OK to say you are overwhelmed.  

It is OK to listen to advice, smile, say "thank you" and then completely disregard it and trust your own instincts.

It is OK to second-guess yourself.  It is OK to trust yourself.

It is OK to just be you.  You are enough.  You are exactly what that little tiny miracle needs.  That is why God put that little tiny baby in your care.  

There may be times when it feels just that if everything in the universe is right and being Mom to your baby is exactly what you were put on this Earth to do.  There may be times when you feel everything BUT that you are unprepared or unsure or underdressed (as in still in your PJs at 4pm).  Sometimes both those feelings happen minutes apart from one another.  

It is OK.

You are not alone.  You are loved, you are supported, you are surrounded by other Moms who have walked a path not so different from your own.  You are amazing.  You are beautiful.  You are at the beginning of a life-changing, life-shaping journey.  

You are a mom.

You Are a Good Mom.

Moms-to-be and brand new Moms, you were so much on my heart and mind when I was writing "A Mom is Born."  I was thinking so much of the huge range of emotions I felt in those first hours and days after having my first child.  A huge part of me just wanted to know it was going to be OK; to know I was going to be OK as a mom.  The thoughts that kept racing through my head while I was writing the previous entry are what you see above.  They didn't quite fit into "A Mom is Born," but I couldn't get them off my mind.  This quick little addendum is for you guys.

Moms of bigger kiddos...or even grown up kiddos, this is for you guys, too.  Maybe you can relate to some of these feelings.  Maybe you still have some of these feelings from time to time.  

No matter which group you fall into, please feel free to share any supportive comments or experiences to help encourage Moms just starting this whole "motherhood" thing.  Add your own "It is OK..." or any other thoughts you may have in the comments below.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

"Parent"dox: Same Toy, Same Time

Oh, Sunday night, why do you always arrive so soon?  We're minding our own business, innocently enjoying our weekend, when you so devilishly sneak up on us.  Sunday night in and of itself seems to present a bit of a paradox...on the calendar, it is technically still the weekend, but in our hearts and minds, it bears the mental burden of the fully loaded week ahead.  

In an attempt to lighten up that "Sunday Night Feeling" that is all too familar, and acknowledge that tricky little paradox that is Sunday Night, I submit for your review...

The Sunday Night "Parent"dox Series

I'm hoping to post a short little "parent"dox here each Sunday night.  A quick read to put a smile on your face and lift your spirits as you face the week ahead.  (Who am I kidding?  For me, it is usually that I'm finding one more thing I "need" to do as Sunday night races by and I procrastinate actually getting something done for Monday.)  However it works out for you on your Sunday Night, I hope you enjoy it.
par·a·dox \ˈper-ə-ˌdäks, ˈpa-rə-\
          a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common 
          sense and yet is perhaps true
1.  It is a paradox that computers need maintenance so often, since they are meant to save people time.  (
par·ent·dox  \I need one of my genius speech path friends to do 
                            this part\                                 
                            \Kelli & Gretchen are laughing right now\
the daily experience that is parenthood; seemingly living life in contradiction
          1.  It is a "parent"dox that I am exhausted pretty much all day, but the second my head hits                                
           the pillow, my mind starts remembering all of the random things I need to do and I am  
           instantly wide awake.  (
Sunday Night "Parent"dox #1: Same Toy, Same Time
Just when I seem to get a handle on the toy situation at our house and have enough bins, baskets and tubs, we get a visit from Santa, the Easter Bunny or the birthday bonanza that involves lots of loving aunts, uncles, grandmas and grandpas.  I am so thankful that my kiddos are so loved and so blessed, but it does lead to lots and lots of stuff!  I sometimes look around my living room or my basement, and think to myself "Hmm.  I bet this is what it would look like if the toy department of Target was ransacked by burglars and wild dogs at the same time."  

Now that you have that mental image in your head, let me share this "parent"dox with you...  

We obviously do not have a lack of toys in this household, and with a child of each gender, we have quite a wide variety of items to choose from, too.  There are many, many options for two children to pick from, and more than enough to go around.  One would think, then, that there would be no arguments or disputes over toys in such a household. But that, as my parental friends of more than one child know, is not the case.  My kids want the same toy at the same time.  

It does not matter if it is a Batman motorcycle, a plastic Cinderella doll, a broken toy acquired from a Happy Meal six months ago, or a paperclip, for cryin' out loud.  If one kid has it, the other one needs that very same toy, at the very same time.  There is very little rational thinking or problem solving that takes place by either child in these moments.  At times, we even call in the lead negotiator from the local police department to listen to demands and work things out in order to prevent bodily harm or loss of property.  After lots of "I had it first!" or "That's mine!" or "I WANT IT NOW!!!" we do get a chance to (hopefully) pass on some conflict resolution skills to our kiddos.  We just keep hoping they are picking some of it up along the way...osmosis, perhaps?

After all this working it and talking it out, I'm usually able to leave the room and go take care of some random task around the house.  Inevitably, I'll walk back in the room 5 minutes later to see the recently prized possession, now abandoned and left alone, as they've both moved on to something else.  I smile to myself, and just enjoy the fact that they are playing happily for least until the next same toy at the same time crisis arises.

Wishing you a great week, full of lots of miracle toy sharing by your kids, and, as my friend at Meijer saysYou're a Good Mom!

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Wide World of Sports Presents ... Olympic Parenting

Winter Olympics 2014. Sochi, Russia.

I propose a new Olympic Event.  Forget ice skating.  Forget skiing.  Forget curling.  This is the next big thing.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Olympic Sport of...

Leaving The House 

We've got a year to get it approved and I think we can do it.  At least some of those people on the Olympic Committee have got to be parents, and they would most definitely have our back.  They may have been training for this event themselves and not even realized it!  

To have an event considered for the Olympics, one of the criteria is...
"...the IOC determines it is widely practiced around the world, that is, the number of countries that compete in a given sport is the indicator of the sport's prevalence." ( 
Sounds like a piece of cake to me!  I mean, come on...please tell me where in the world there is a smooth and seamless transition when it comes time to pack up and leave the house with children.  If such a place does exist, please let me know, because we may be moving there.  Soon.

I recently came to the realization that getting packed up and out of the house in a reasonable amount of time without someone (read as: "me") losing their patience is very much like an athletic endeavor.  It takes training, concentration, stamina, perseverance, physical strength and mental toughness.  If that doesn't warrant an Olympic Event, I don't know what does.  

So, sports fans, grab your is the play-by-play of an actual, recent attempt by our little family to Leave the House.  

Game Plan

Preschool begins at 12:15pm, which is located about 7 minutes from our house.  I plan to leave the house at 12:00pm.  At about 10:45am, I start laying the groundwork with my 4-year-old and 2-year-old that we are going to finish playing, eat lunch, get dressed and go to school.  This all seems pretty reasonable.  The kids are both very agreeable and an easy victory appears to be within my sights.

Pre-Game Warm-Up

Pre-Game starts out pretty well.  Pep talk (for myself) and a little light stretching to limber up for the inevitable physical feats that lie ahead.  The kids finish playing while I get lunch ready.  (If we haven't left the house to go anywhere in the morning, my kids usually eat lunch in their pajamas.  This is based on experience.  Nine times out of ten, they spill something on themselves, and on school days, this requires yet another change of clothes before we leave.  So lunch in PJs it is!)  

They hop up into their chairs to eat, and seem pretty ready to go.  However, about 15 minutes into lunch, I realize I'm facing my first big defensive stance.  They aren't really eating much.  They appear to be eating, as they keep picking up their forks and cups.  They sound like everything is going well, as they talk and laugh with each other.  But lo and behold, I look at their plates, and there is still quite a bit waiting to be devoured.  This is all part of their crazy good defense.  I don't fall for it, though, and keep prompting them to eat a bite of this, to take a bite of that.  What I think will take about 20 minutes, ends up taking 35.  The game clock is quickly becoming my enemy.

Next part of preparation.  While they are (hopefully) finishing up lunch, I start to get their gear ready.  Boots on the floor, coats on the floor, hats on the floor.  All at the ready for them to get into on their own.  [Please note, I am purposely submitting this event for the Winter Olympics, as getting ready to leave in the winter takes infinitely longer than any other season.  All this gear!  All these layers!]  Everything is still going pretty OK.  Today is my day.  Any given team can win on any given day.  PMA.  All that other stuff.  Here we go...bring it on.

It's Game Time!

After a little more prodding and prompting to eat one last carrot and one more bite of their sandwich, I determine they've eaten enough to sustain them until dinner.  The clock reads 11:37 and it is time to move it into high gear.   

Stay positive.  Running a little behind, but this still feels very attainable.  

I tell my 4-year-old to take his pajamas off and put them in his hamper.  His clothes are laid out for him on the living room chair.  He is pretty good about getting himself dressed, with a few reminders along the way.  I clean up lunch, then put my 2-year-old on the potty.  She tells me she doesn't have to go.  She tells me to leave.  I go stand in the hallway and wait.  She does actually go to the bathroom.  (Small victory.  I consider this a first down on 3rd and inches.)  I try to keep the momentum going and move her right into getting dressed in her bedroom.  I have her clothes -- including socks and barrette -- laid out and ready to go.  

Second big defensive stance.  My daughter throws a huge fit because she doesn't like the clothes I've picked out.  So this is where it age 2.  Heaven help me when we hit age 12.  I figure this is not a battle worth fighting, so I let her take charge and pick out what she would like to wear, which includes NOT wearing a barrette.  So, clothes are mismatched, hair is in her face, but we are making forward progress toward the goal.  This is good.  I am trying to help her get her socks on, but am somewhat distracted by the blur I see run by her door.  

Hmm...was that what I think it was?  A naked pair of 4-year-old buns whizzing by on their way to the bathroom?  Do I need instant replay?  The audio that followed confirmed the call on the field.  "Mom, I have to go po-o-o-o-o-o-op!!"  This, apparently, was ground breaking news that needed to be yelled from the rooftops, while not wearing a stitch of clothing.

Quick in-game son was actually less ready than he had been when I told him to put his pajamas in the hamper 13 minutes earlier, and what I thought would be a quick process of getting my daughter dressed had actually doubled in time and produced drama and a crankypants as byproducts.  

Stay positive.  Stay the course.  Stay calm.  You can still do this.  Come from behind victories happen all the time.  Sometimes even the Lions pull one off.

Speaking of walking into the Lions' Den...

Half Time

My poor, unsuspecting husband arrived home from a meeting and walked into the middle of the chaos.  Very innocently, very much trying to be helpful, he looked at the clock, looked at the complete unreadiness of the kids and said "Did you know it's 11:57?"  

Did I know it's 11:57?  Did I know it's 11:57?  

I had been trying to get this motley crew ready to go since 10:57, and I was well aware of the precious moments ticking by until we would officially be late for preschool.  In trying to avoid a technical foul or an unnecessary roughness penalty, I stifle my sarcastic response of "Gee, honey, I had no idea.  I suppose we should now begin getting ready,"  and think better of screaming in his face like he had just blown a call in the end zone.  I grumble something, give him "the look" and jump back into getting kids ready.  (In his defense, he truly was trying to be helpful.  Poor guy walked in at the wrong time.)  Saved by the conference call awaiting him, he very wisely heads downstairs to his office while I finish wrestling alligators upstairs.  

I tell my daughter to go get her hat and coat on, and I'll be right there to help with her boots.  (Both my kids can do the "flip the coat over their head from the ground" thing, which helps a ton.  And as you can see, we need all the help we can get...)  Meanwhile, I'm trying to convince my son that yes, indeed, he is done pooping.  He has actually been done for the last 5 minutes that he has been sitting there singing "Hakuna Matata," but he thinks otherwise.  By some miracle, I finally convince him that he's done and help him start getting ready.  He wants to dance and jump and just all-around be crazy as I am now frantically trying to get him ready.  I can tell I am losing my patience with my tone of voice and less-than-helpful words of "Hurry up! We are going to be late!"  

I figure he is capable of getting himself dressed, so I tell him I'm going to help his sister and he needs to hustle and finish up on his own.  My 2-year-old is twirling around in the kitchen, oblivious that her coat, hat or boots are lying there, just begging to be put on.  As she is dancing, I sneak her hat on and start to put her coat on.  I think this trick play is working, but then she catches on.  "NO!  I do it MYSELF!!!"  She yanks her arm, halfway in the sleeve of her coat, out and throws the coat on the ground.  She pulls her hat off, leaving her un-barretted hair a total static mess, and throws that on the floor, too.  She is now crying and clearly ticked off that I even attempted to help her.  Besides my sister, my daughter is the most independent person I know. I am well aware of this and it was my error in judgment to try to do something for her without involving her. Make a note in the playbook for next time.  I blame it on my bad mood and lack of patience at the time, and the tick-tock of the clock reminding me how little time we have left.  I tell her she can put her hat on, but she needs to do it now.  

I return my energy to my son, who does indeed have his coat and hat on.  I sit on the floor, and try to get his boots on while he is still dancing around.  (Man, these kids love to dance...)  I am holding his waist and he is falling/grabbing onto my back.  I can't tell if he thinks this is funny or he is mad.  I don't really care either way.  I can see the finish line of leaving the house, and I'm not giving in now.  

Whew!  Back to 2-year-old.  She has pulled her hat on and down over her eyes.  Quick.  This is my chance.  I pick her up and plop her down in her boots, trying to wriggle her now bone-less legs into them.  She is fighting me the whole time, but not crying, so I consider this a victory.  I wrestle her into her coat.  Gloves or mittens are out of bounds.  Totally write them off.  Maybe next time.  

I am now clearly perspiring (read as: "sweating profusely"), from both the panic that it is 12:09pm and we are just getting ready to walk out the door, and from the physicality of getting them ready.  Grab my purse.  Grab my keys.  Hope there is no food stuck to me anywhere noticeable and try to get everyone in the mini van.  My kids must sense it's go time, because they actually let me buckle them in their car seats without a fight.  I appreciate and take these two free throws, and keep pressing on.

Post-Game Cool Down

Literally.  Cool down.  I take a couple deep breaths and remind myself that we made it.  We are all strapped in the van safely.  It was a buzzer beater, but we survived.  No fouls.  No turnovers.  No ejections.  I turn on the radio, find a song my kids like, and we all get our groove on for a few minutes before pulling in the school parking lot.  I open the doors of the van and hear the bell ring.  Late, but not noticeably late.  We can shuffle in while everyone is still getting settled.  I pray the other parents don't see the beads of sweat on my forehead as I deliver my happy kiddo to his preschool classroom.  I get a quick hug and a "Bye Mom!  I love you!" before he turns and heads into class.  My daughter grabs my leg and drags me toward a bulletin board filled with penguins.  No matter what, those two will always be my MVPs.  Hands down.

I think I need a soak in the whirlpool.

The Game of Motherhood

Take joy in the small victories.  The times you DO actually leave the house with a few minutes to spare.  The times the kids are totally agreeable and happily hop in the car, eager for you to buckle them in.  The times you are not battling the clock, and have the luxury to simply get there when you get there.  

Take a breath in the small defeats.  So you were a few minutes late...  If kids are involved,  whoever you are meeting or wherever you are going is more than likely going to understand.  So your kiddo is wearing mismatched socks and has a jelly stain on the front of his shirt...  At least he is dressed.  So you left your lunch sitting on the kitchen counter...  You did get the most important cargo, your kiddos, safely in the car.  Looks like you may even get a little out-to-lunch reward for all your troubles.

There is always a next time.  Consider it training, conditioning, practice for the next match, the next race, the next game.  Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team.  YOU have made the cut as a Mom.  You're a Good Mom, and with all your skills, passion and determination, quite possibly, a soon-to-be gold medalist!

My Valentine

Valentine's Day means something a little different for everyone. It is a day of friendship, of love; of telling those we love and care about that we love and care about them.  Your Valentine may be your sweet kiddo, a loyal friend, an incredible significant other.  No matter who your Valentine is today, take time to tell them you love them, you appreciate them, you care about them.  It will warm your heart and theirs in the midst of this cold, cold winter!

Happy Valentine's Day!  Valentine, You're A Good Mom!

To my husband...

1.  I love you for "getting" me and all the crazy little things that make me tick.  

2.  I appreciate how you care for and love our family.  You always make us a priority, and that is clear in both your words and your actions.

3.  I am in awe of you as a dad.  It brings me more joy than you will ever know to watch you play with our kids, love our kids, teach our kids, and be a role model for our kids.  They are beyond blessed to have you as their dad.

4.  I am thankful for your unconditional love and support.  Thank you for encouraging me to try things that are new and scary, and standing by my side.

5.  I appreciate the way you look out for me, and usually know what I need before I even do.  Thank you for "kicking me out of the house" once a week to have a little time to myself and to write.  Thank you for helping me make time for the things that make me, me, and to not lose sight of who I am in the midst of the "busyness" of life.  

6.  I love that you still "date" me, even though we are just an old married couple now.  I love that our kids know Mom and Dad love each other and need time to be together and know exactly what "date night" means.  

7.  I respect how very hard you work, and the work ethic you model for our kids.  Whether its your job, your Masters classes or building cabinets in the garage, your put your all into all you do.

8.  I am thankful that you fight fair.  As my sister so wisely said at our reception, it's not all "rainbows and butterflies" but even when the dark clouds do roll in, you are willing to talk and willing to listen.  Sometimes it is after a good old-fashioned, honest-to-goodness fight, but thanks for always hanging in there with me. 

9.  I appreciate your musical talents and that you fill our house with song.  Seeing our kids sing and dance while you sing and play guitar have made for some of my very favorite family memories.  

10.  I love that you asked.  I loved that I got to say yes.

You are my own and only, my perfect provision.  Much love today and always. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Little Tech Support

And by little, I mean little.  As in microscopic.  

Some of you have asked about how to follow this blog, or took the time to write out a comment (thank you!!), but then weren't able to publish it to the blog (sorry!).  I thought I'd try to figure this out and share with you what I can.

Just a little background on my crazy awesome technology skills...that do not exist.  When I was a sophomore in high school, I had the mother-of-all-research-paper assignments.  As in the teacher measured the margins with a ruler.  I am not kidding.  It was a paper I had been working on for weeks and weeks, and I was in the home stretch of finally getting it done.  I simply had to format the footnotes, print it and I was in the clear.  I was working with the extremely advanced, cutting edge WordPerfect program (anyone born in the mid '80s or later will have no idea what I'm talking about...) when it came time to format the dreaded footnotes.  I tried and tried and tried to figure out what I was doing, and on the verge of tears and frustration, when my mom gave me permission to go wake up my little sister and ask her for help.  Yes, 3 1/2 years younger, but eons wiser at all things technology.  She trudged downstairs, bleary-eyed, at about midnight, looked at a couple of things, hit a series of three keystrokes, and poof! everything was good to go.  I had never been so thankful for my 7th grade sister as I was in that moment.  I'm pretty sure I told her I would drive her wherever she wanted to go for the next month after that.

I tell you this because... 

  1. You might be asking yourself "Who starts a blog but then knows nothing about signing up for/following/posting comments to/running a blog?"  Um, this girl...  Sorry about that...
  2. If you have any more questions about this whole process, I will do my very best to answer them, but it might take me a quick minute to reply. I will get back to you!  (see #3)
  3. I will probably just end up going to ask my super smart tech-guy husband to explain it to me so I can relay the info to you.
  4. To demonstrate that if I can figure this out, you can do it, too.  I promise!!
(Picture it.  My mom's computer desk.  2013.  [Yes, that was a Golden Girls reference...I am totally showing my age in this post...]  Going through this process by trying to set up an account for my mom.  Thought the visual in itself might just make you laugh!  Yet another example that moms are always and forever there for you and are willing to be the guinea pig for whatever crazy idea you come up with...)

Follow Through Blogger
  1. Click on "Join This Site" blue button on the right side of the screen.  It's under "Thank You For Following YoureaGoodMom!!"
  2. You will be prompted to select an account you already have, either Google, Twitter or Yahoo.  If you don't have one of those accounts, near the bottom of the screen click on the link that reads "Create a new Google Account"
  3. You should be good to go!
Follow Through Email
  1. Click on the white rectangle under "Follow By Email"
  2. Type in your email address
  3. You'll get an email sent to your inbox that you'll need to verify to begin getting updates
  4. You will now get an email ONLY when a new post is made to ONLY this blog 
Post a Comment
  1. Click on "No comments" (or "3 comments"...whatever it says at the time...)
  2. Comment box should appears.  Type your comment.  Click on "Publish"
  3. It will ask you to type a series of letters and numbers that pop up, to verify you are indeed a real, live human being
  4. Voila!  Your comment should appear!
  5. ***THIS JUST IN...*** Apparently there is a setting you can change so that comments can be posted by anyone.  Who knew?  Not me.  (Please see above anecdote about my mad technology skills...)  So I changed it with the simple click of a mouse.  Comments should be able to flow freely now...give it a shot! 
I cannot thank you enough for taking time in your already jam-packed, hectic day to squeeze in time to read the random thoughts I share here.  Your support and encouragement has been appreciated more than you will ever, ever know.  Thank you for coming along on this journey with me.

I really appreciate you taking the time to give this part of it a try, too!  Some people had mentioned missing when a new post was made.  If you sign up to follow this blog, either through Blogger or by email, you'll be notified whenever there is new material.  You'll also be able to invite friends to view the blog, through email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Also, some of the comments have come only to me via email, Facebook or text because you weren't able to publish them to the blog.  Those comments have been very insightful, wise and downright funny!!  I think they would be helpful and uplifting to others, too, and it would be great if they could be posted right on the blog.  

Give it a shot...let me know how it goes...go for a "test run" and post a comment below about anything you darn well please.     

Look at you...You're A Good Mom and a technology superstar!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Who Needs Sleep?

I did not have one of those babies who slept through the night at 2 weeks old or even 2 months old.  I had one of those babies that woke up every hour on the hour the first night we were home from the hospital.  I remember thinking that night "I may never sleep again..."

But I did.  And thankfully, he did.  

Two years later, we were blessed with our daughter.  She was not one of those babies who slept through the night at 2 weeks or even 2 months old.  She was one of those babies who simply could not sleep on her back.  So I "slept" in a big arm chair in our living room for 6 weeks with her laying on her tummy on my chest .  I remember thinking those nights "I may never sleep again..."

But I did.  And thankfully, she did, too.

Maybe you had one of those babies that was a great sleeper right off the bat.  God Bless You!  Find other moms who had great sleepers, too.  Talk about how awesome it is with each other.  Be amazed at how you had to wake your newborn up to feed them.  My genuine, sincere admiration and excitement for all of you!  It is good to know those babies do exist in the world!!

Just don't tell the rest of us in the "non-sleeper" category.  

My kids have never been great sleepers.  They have gotten the hang of it over the years, but it is definitely not their strongest talent.  They do not transfer well from falling asleep in their car seat to their own bed.  They do not go back to sleep once they've woken up from a nap.  Even if they only slept for 7 minutes and something woke them up (yes, I'm talking to you solicitor who is ringing my doorbell), they are pretty sure that was their nap for the day.  They do not love to snuggle up and nap in the afternoon.  They would much rather play.  Having "quiet time" is even a pretty big compromise in their mind at this stage of the game.    

Quite possibly the "parent"dox of my kids not loving to sleep is how much I love to sleep.  I mean LOVE.  TO.  SLEEP. Given the option to watch TV or go shopping or do just about anything, I will most likely pick sleep.  Every time.  I am that girl.  I am a person who needs my sleep to function.  

I am completely and totally in awe and have nothing but admiration for those who don't need a ton of sleep.  My sister and my aunt both fall into this category.  They can function on little to no sleep.  Wait, let me rephrase that.  They do more than function.  They thrive and perform and are successful and amazing and are actually NICE to other people, even if they haven't had much sleep.  It is all I can do to not rip off the cashier's face at Meijer when they ask me if I have any coupons when I don't get good sleep.  Just ask my husband.  He, unfortunately, bears the brunt of my grumpiness when sleep in not happening in our household.  Console him next time you see him.  Say a little prayer for him next time you hear in a conversation or see on Facebook that one (or both) of our children were up in the night.  

The thing that does work out well for him is that I am pretty good at getting up in the middle of the night with hungry, scared, wet, sick kids.  I don't really mind it at the time, so I take the vast majority of "night shifts" at our house when it comes to kids being up in the night.  I take 100% responsibility for this, as I have taken this on myself.  I can be compassionate and loving and caring and patient at 2:04am.  And 3:47am.  And again at 5:18am.  But come that next day...all bets are off.  I will be a horrible, grumpy monster.  Sorry.  It's all I got.  

The Eyes Say It All
When I used to where contacts, I would where my glasses on days when I had been up in the night with one or both of our kids.  I felt like it was somehow my warning to the world.  (Specifically, my poor, unsuspecting 4th graders at school...) In my mind, the glasses projected this message to all those I encountered that day:  "I am wearing my glasses.  These are my tired glasses.  I could not bring myself to shove a small piece of plastic in my already exhausted, bloodshot eyeballs.  Consider yourself warned.  And I am sorry."  Maybe I should have actually printed this on a business card, and simply handed it to people as I encountered them throughout the day.

I no longer have contacts.  I wear my glasses everyday.  Part of it is because I have astigmatism in both eyes.  Part of it is, well, see the Stages listed below.

My Own Un-Sleep Training
We read all kinds of books and watch videos and talk to each other constantly about getting our kids to sleep, even "training" our kids to sleep.  I have found, however, that my kids have also trained not sleep.  I cannot believe what a light sleeper I became when I became a mom.  I hear every bump, every creak, every rustle of a sheet.  I also hear every non-noise...i.e. when my kiddos were babies and I didn't hear them cry.  Are they still breathing?  Are they OK?  I remember when they would start to drop a feeding in the middle of the night, and it would take me 3 or 4 nights to adjust to it.  I would still wake up at that time, look at the clock, and wait for them to wake up.  Then they would not wake up, and I would lay there and try to calculate how many minutes of sleep I could get before they next woke up if I could actually fall back asleep right now.  And now.  And now.  And then there went 12 more minutes of sleep....

I have vague recollections of my family teasing my grandma about being able to "Hear a mouse wetting on a cotton."  As a kid, I thought that was the weirdest thing ever.  Why was there a mouse in my grandparents house?  Shouldn't they try to catch it?  And why did it pee on cotton?  And how did it know where the cotton was in the house, anyway?  I digress...  But I'm pretty sure I inherited that from her.  I feel your pain, Grandma Helen!  The mice have brought their cotton and moved into my house!


As a mom, I have often found myself wondering "When will the time come when I am not tired anymore?" Unfortunately, I have recently come to understand that being tired just comes with the title of "Mom."  I have come to accept that I will simply just be tired.  Always.  I have even developed a theory on this matter.  It is extremely scientific, and boasts lots of data and experiments to back it up.  (Translation: my own random thoughts and experiences with my own two children, put together at a time that I myself was somewhat sleep deprived.)

Here are the stages of my Theory of Interrupted Rest & Endless Drowsiness (TIRED).  

Stage 1
Learn in classes and read in baby books newborns sleep 18 hours a day.  Great!  Think that is totally manageable.  Think your baby will be the one who sleeps through the night at 5 days old, anyway.  (I know some of you reading this really DID have that baby...AMAZING!  I am totally impressed! Pretty sure you have some sort of magical powers. one another out.  Talk to each other about how magnificent it is.  Concoct some way to capture it and pass it out in labor and delivery rooms across the world.)

Stage 2
Actual newborn lives in your house.  Realize they do sleep 18 hours a day.  In 26 minute chunks.  And never actually at night.  Become irate at the person who coined the term "sleeping like a baby" and associated it with sleeping well.  

Stage 3
Get first night of real sleep.  Panic because you wake up and realize that you woke up on your own free will, and Baby did not wake you up.  Race into nursery to make sure Baby is still breathing. Come to the painful realization that "sleeping through the night" now means anything over 6 consecutive hours.  Feel pretty confident this "tired thing" has just about run its course, though.

Stage 4
Baby plays first (of many) practical jokes on you.  That full night of sleep was a one time deal.  Next night is back to your lovely little nightly rendezvous at 12...3...6...

Stage 5
Baby starts really, actually, consistently sleeping through the night!  Hallelujah!  Begin to think you will get back to sleeping through the night for real.

Stage 6
Baby becomes toddler and moves into big kid bed.  Woo hoo!  Realize child can now get up out of their bed when they wake up.  Early in the morning.  Or at any time of the night.  Boo hoo.  Teach child to stay in bed, or at least in room.  Back to hoping for more sleep.  Realize being tired wasn't just a "baby" thing.

Stage 7
Toddler becomes preschooler.  Arrive at a place where sleep is pretty consistent.  Then it hits.  Illness.  Nightmares.  Bed wetting.  New baby in the house.  Something.  Something comes along and messes with this beautiful sleep thing you've finally gotten pretty well established as a family.  

[Please note...the next few stages, overall, have noticeably less description, as I have yet to live through them as a parent myself.  They are based on: 1. my recollections of these stages as a kid (Insert apologies to my parents here...), and 2. stories relayed to me by friends or family who do have kids at these ages.]

Stage 8
Preschooler becomes school age child.  The actual process of going to bed becomes more and more prolonged and drawn out.  They can't fall asleep because they are worried about friends or homework or the talent show.  They want to have a later bed time because they "aren't a baby anymore!" (oh, if they only knew that their bedtime as a baby was 11:00pm...)  They want to negotiate with you to stay up and watch just one more show, play one more game on their iPod, read one more chapter of their book once they are in bed.  Begin to see tiredness as a way of life, not just a "little kid" thing.  (When I was teaching 4th grade, I did get some great insight into this stage from parents of kids in my classes!)

Stage 9
School age children become teenagers. Lay awake at night when they are not home, listening for the garage door to open and hear them attempt to "sneak" safely into their beds.  Lay awake at night when they are home, listening to them and their friends make way too much noise while they attempt to be "quiet," while eating all your food and laughing, talking and just being teenagers.

Stage 10
Children go to college.  Try to sleep because the house is quiet, but can't sleep because the house is quiet.  Too quiet.

Stage 11 
Finally adjust to house being quiet.  Children move back home.  Realize these "children" are on the same schedule they were as newborns, meaning they are up all night and sleep during the day.  

Stage 12 
Children finally move out for real.  For real.  Have come to the point where sleeping until 7:00am is "sleeping in" and often wake up randomly throughout the night.  Stinkin' hormones...

Stage 13
Have grandchildren.  See that life really does come full circle, as your own child is now embarking on this journey.  (See Stage 1)  Smile, hold your sweet, sweet grandbaby, and give your own child a chance to catch a quick nap.   


I know sleep can be a touchy subject for some people.  There are as many theories, books, articles and websites out there as there are moms and babies about how to "best" handle sleep. This post is not meant to promote or discount any theory or style when it comes to sleeping, or stir up heated discussions about the "right" way to get a baby to sleep. That is not the point of this blog.  My hope for this post, and for all posts, is that it may bring a smile to your face in the midst of a hectic day, and that it may help you see that you are not alone in a challenge you may be facing.  There are enough "experts" out there on one thing or another when it comes to parenting, and I will most definitely never claim to be one myself.  I simply hope to encourage and lift you up as you make your way through your own journey of motherhood.

I know you are tired.  Hang in there.  Keep at it.  You are loving your kiddos through it all, and that makes you amazing.  Cherish the good nights of sleep.  Treasure precious naps.  If you were able to stay awake to read this entire post, you are a rock star!  You are even more than that...You Are a Good Mom!

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