Sunday, April 28, 2013

"Parent"dox: Exact Same Parents, Totally Different Kids

Sunday Night "Parent"dox #10: Exact Same Parents, Totally Different Kids
Tonight I pose for you an age old question...

How can children born to the exact same parents be such totally different kids?

I have two children: one son, one daughter.  They were born to the same parents.  They have grown up in the same house.  They definitely look like siblings.  (I was recently asked if they were twins.  Yes, they are.  They were just born 22 months apart.)  But they could not be any more different from one another.

I suppose it all started with their arrivals to this great big world.  (The only commonality being that I was past my due date with both of them...)  

With my son, I was induced, spent the day in labor and we got to see his sweet little face just before midnight.  This totally fits him, as he is our planner, our thinker, our observer, and our "take my time to make sure I've got it right" kid.  

With my daughter, I went in to labor on my own, was in the delivery room for a few very short hours, and we got to meet her precious little self just after noon.  This, too, totally fits her, as she is our active, funny, outgoing, "I want to do it all myself and do it all now" kid.  

A couple little vignettes to further illustrate my point...

Easter Eggs
The Saturday after Easter, our kids both wandered into our bedroom very early in the morning.  Not to do anything without asking first, my son pleaded with us "Can we please have an Easter egg treat while we are playing?"  Being the amazing mom I am and not wanting to drag myself out of bed yet, I told them yes, they could each have one Easter egg treat.  I figured this would buy me at least 10 more minutes of peace and quiet.  

About 5 minutes later, my son came wandering back into our room.  "Mom, Morgan opened 3 Easter egg treats!!"  Sure, there was the pure joy in tattling on a sibling, but there was also most definitely shock and awe in his voice as he was sharing this news with us.  For him, this incident was unbelievable because this was not 'the rule' that was given, and it needed to be fixed.  Like right now.  In yet another stellar parenting move, my solution was to tell him this:  "Ok, you can have 2 more eggs.  Tell your sister she may not open any more egg treats."  He countered with "But Mom, you said only 1 egg!"  Kid, you are missing your golden opportunity here....

At this point, my daughter must have realized she was getting ratted out, because she came toddling in.  I asked her if she opened 3 Easter egg treats.  "Yes, I did."  Hey, at least she's honest.  "You may not have any more Easter egg treats.  Do you understand?"  Silence, then:  "Um...yeah...I'll just open one more, OK?"

One thinks rules were made to determine every single action that takes place in this world.  One thinks rules are merely guidelines, made to be bent as much as humanly possible and used only as a reference.

Preschool Drop Off
My son truly loves preschool.  We've been blessed with a great school, great friends in his class, and two truly great teachers.  However, during the first week of school, we had one day that was a tough drop off.  The single commonality between my children on this given occasion?  Tears. 

When I had to leave, my son was in his classroom, in tears, because he didn't want to stay and wanted to come with me.  There was a lot of "new" in that room -- new teachers, new kids, new toys, new expectations.  It was all just a bit overwhelming for him.  

My daughter was in tears, because she wanted to stay at preschool and didn't want to come home with "just" mom.  There was a lot of "new" in that room -- new teachers, new kids, new toys, new expectations.  It was fun and exciting and an adventure to be tackled, and was very intriguing for her.

From the foods they eat to the things that make them laugh to way they react to consequences to the way they play, they are totally different kids.

'Different' Doesn't Mean 'Less'
Do I love them the same?

Absolutely not.

Let me repeat that: absolutely not.

My kids are totally different people, with totally different personalities and totally different needs.  I love them in completely different ways.  Over the last few years, I have learned that what works well with one of my kids can blow up in my face with the other one.  This seems to be true with just about everything from discipline to positive encouragement to even just playing or goofing around with them.

So no, I don't love my kids the same.  

It doesn't mean I love one more than the other.  That would literally be impossible, as my love for each of them is bigger than anything in this world.  It doesn't mean one gets away with more than the other.  It simply means I love them very differently for the very different people they are.  What one needs, the other doesn't.  What encourages one, can sometimes discourage the other.  What helps one, can sometimes hinder the other.  I love them both with every cell in my being, but I love them differently.

My kids are not strangers to fighting with one another, as siblings often do.  They know just how to push each others' buttons, in a way only a sibling knows how.  It is my hope and prayer, though, that by celebrating their differences and loving them differently, and not comparing them or trying to get them to be "the same" when they are so clearly not, that someday they will be able to acknowledge, respect and even appreciate each other's differences.  I hope that by loving them differently, they will learn to love themselves for the unique people they are, and cherish those special qualities that make them, them.

My Sister and I...
I feel very lucky that my parents did this for my sister and I.  We are unbelievably, ridiculously different, and have been for as long as I can remember.  Did we fight and push each other's buttons?  Pretty much every single day that we both lived under the same roof.  Was my go to line as a kid 'My life was good until you were born!'?  Perhaps.  (Did she *my younger sister* try to use that line on me?  Did it then just make me laugh and then make her even more upset?  Most definitely yes.)  

But now that we are adults, I see so many characteristics in her that I wish I had more of in me...

...her "go with the flow" attitude
...the way she handles stress with ease and grace 
...her knowledge of anything hair, fashion or make-up related (I will undoubtedly be sending my daughter to her when she is old enough to start asking questions about any of these topics.)
...her ability to not worry about what other people think
...her creative, outside-the-box approach to solving any problem that comes her way
...her know-how about all things technology she can confidently speak her mind and share her feelings

These are areas that I struggle with myself, but I am fortunate enough to get a front row seat to watch an expert and learn from her.  I am so thankful our parents did not try to fit us into the same mold; that we each got to be our own person and grow and succeed in our own, different ways.

Night and Day
So yes, my children are night and day different.

One of my children cries about having messy hands, and the other one loves to dig in the dirt.  

One of my children snuggles up with every single stuffed animal in our entire house at bedtime, and the other one doesn't even want a blanket when it comes times for bed.  

One of my children cannot rest until every possible speck of frosting has been devoured from a cupcake, and the other one can walk away from a half-eaten bowl of ice cream without a second thought.

And no, I wouldn't have it any other way.  I love them both like crazy.  Each in their own different way.

Your kids might be cut from the same cloth.  Your kids might be polar opposites.  You might have one child, who is their own unique, amazing person.  However their own little (or big!) personalities are developing, you are there, loving them, every step of the way. You Are a Good Mom.

If you haven't already, be sure to stop by and check out the "You're a Good Mom" page on Facebook.  "Like" it and any new blog posts will be delivered right to your news feed!  Thanks!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Thoughts On Becoming an Aunt

Happy One Week Birthday, Baby Hazel!!

One week ago today, I was waiting for the arrival of my beautiful niece.  It recently came to my attention that while I wrote about the waiting part, I never updated anyone on the arrival part. Just in case you were worried, my sister has not been in labor for the past 7 days.  She did, indeed, have her sweet baby girl!  

My niece was actually born about 30 minutes after I published my post about waiting.  I think it was her way of saying "This is the first of many, many times I will prove you wrong.  Go ahead and write about waiting, but I'm actually on my way here right now.  Just remember, I'm the one calling the shots here, Aunt Carrie."

I know I'm only a week into this whole aunt gig, but so far, it's pretty awesome.  Some of my "new aunt thoughts" thus far...
  1. For every time I've had to say "no" to my own children, I will get to say "yes" a bazillion times over to my niece.
  2. I will have a little girl to spoil ridiculously with all kinds of tiny outfits and barrettes and shoes and dresses and socks and tights and...
  3. I can give her as many cookies as she wants at family Christmas before I get busted by her parents.
  4. I get to hold and cuddle and rock a tiny little bundle of joy, but I also get to sleep at night.  (This may not actually be as true in real life as it is in theory.  My almost 3-year-old is having night terrors nearly every night, so there is not much sleep happening at our house right now.  But, I am not waking up to feed a baby, so there's that...)
  5. I get to teach my niece lots of new things.  This makes me especially excited when I think back to all the things my sister has taught her niece and nephew.  My children now refer to "barking spiders" every time any type of wind escapes their little buns.  They also point out every single possible combination of blue and maize they can find, even to the extent that my son refused to eat two orange and brown M & M's I gave him because they were "not Michigan colors, Mom!"  Oh, how I cannot wait to teach my niece new things, too!
  6. I can defer to her parents when she fills her diaper, spits up everywhere or needs to eat.
  7. For the first time in 5 years, there will be a little one that I can play with and laugh with and dance with all I want, but don't have to be accountable for handling any crying, whining, arguing or disobeying.  (Don't worry, Katie, I'm sure she won't do any of those things.  Ever.  Purely hypothetical...)
I'm actually considering having a t-shirt created that says:

"Aunt:  All of the fun, none of the responsibility!" 

Let me know what size and color you would like yours printed in.

In all honesty, though, I am over-the-moon excited to walk alongside my sister in this grand adventure of parenting.  I am eager to support and help and be there for her, my brother-in-law and niece every step of the way.  I am excited for her to experience all that Motherhood has to offer.  She may have moments and experiences that intersect with mine; but I know her journey will also be full of moments and experiences that are entirely hers.  I am lucky that I will get to learn from her for years and years to come.

Throughout my sister's pregnancy,  I had a lot of "aunt" thoughts.  I thought about meeting my niece for the very first time.  I thought about holding her, snuggled in my arms.  I thought I had this whole "aunt" thing pretty well figured out.  I had already been down the Mom road and had two children of my much different could this "aunt" thing really be?

But come time find out, there was also a lot that I didn't think about until that moment when life changed for our entire family at 2:05pm last Friday. 

I didn't think it was possible to be so proud of my little sister.

I didn't think it would be so so hard to say goodbye when it came time to leave and head back home, 3 hours away.

I didn't think I could be so much in love with someone else's baby.

I didn't think seeing my niece in an outfit my daughter wore when she was only days old would transport me back in time so quickly. 

I didn't think I would love talking about all things baby and mom-related with my sister, especially the "no one else will tell you this or discuss this with you unless you are sisters" stuff.

I didn't think about the gift it would be to watch my own parents be grandparents all over again.

I didn't think about how I would feel even closer with my sister when she stepped into the role of "mom" herself.  

I didn't think becoming an aunt would change my heart, my life, in the ways it already has.

You Are a Good Mom, even when you're not "the" mom.  Loving every single moment of being an aunt!  

If you haven't already, be sure to stop by and check out the "You're a Good Mom" page on Facebook.  "Like" it and any new blog posts will be delivered right to your news feed!  Thanks!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

More Scotch, Burping and Mentos

What They Said Wednesday
Oh, the stage of chatty toddlers and preschoolers!  My kids are at such a fun age when it comes to the things that unexpectedly pop out of their mouths.  They are constantly making me laugh -- rarely on purpose -- with the things they say.  In the midst of wiping noses, playing Candyland and folding never-ending laundry, though, it seems that these gems get written down in my memory, but never quite make it to anything more permanent.    

All of you Moms know just how reliable that memory is, too.  At first I was told "It's just pregnancy brain," then "It's just newborn brain," and now I have come to understand my memory is just pretty much shot.  If I don't write it down, it's gone.  Like right now.

In an effort to have some sort of documentation of their "kid-isms" I'm going to attempt to capture them here once a week.  I was posting them in the sidebar under "Notable Quotables" but I have come to realize after I change the quote, it is erased and gone forever.  Both from cyberspace and my memory.  And it only took me 2 months to figure that out.  So a weekly post it is, as those get saved here in blogland.  I'm going with "What They Said Wednesday."  So that's my goal.  We'll see how long this lasts...

By reading this post any further, you agree that you will not report me to any authority based on anything either of my kids has said.  In addition, you will also gain an understanding of why I get just a little bit nervous about any time they open their mouth in public.  That level of anxiety increases exponentially when my son steps foot into a school setting. (Let's all reflect on the bat meat story for just a minute here...) 

If you are still reading, thanks for humoring me and reading my "this is all about my kids" post.  Hopefully, in return, it will provide a little humor to your day.  

My almost 3-year-old daughter...
"Mom, is that the More Scotch pudding we made?" reference to the butterscotch pudding I was pulling out of the refrigerator for dessert 

"I did rumbles today!"
...her answer to my question about what she had done in her tumbling class that day

My almost 5-year-old son...
"How did Baby Hazel get here?  Did Katie just have to push a lot and burp?"  
...his theory on how his newborn baby cousin arrived

"We got to play Sharks and Mentos in my class today!"  
...also more commonly known as Sharks and Minnows to the rest of the world

"Mom, hurry up!  You need to scamper!  Go as fast as you can!  Run as fast as an ostrich!!" we were running in the rain from the parking lot to the mall entrance

No matter what they say, You Are a Good Mom.

If you haven't already, be sure to stop by and check out the "You're a Good Mom" page on Facebook.  "Like" it and any new blog posts will be delivered right to your news feed!  Thanks!

Monday, April 22, 2013

So It Rained a Little Bit...

If you live in West Michigan, you know that we have had our fair share of storms and rain for the next 8 years all wrapped up in the past 2 weeks.  Even though the season has officially started, my son has yet to play a single soccer game, and I'm pretty sure we'll be playing until August at this rate.  All this rain has also led to quite a bit of flooding, and even a "Flood Day" school cancellation on Friday!  ("Mom, is this like a snow day?")  At one point, we even had a duck swimming in our backyard.  Not walking.  Not waddling.  Swimming.  

There have been some pretty incredible photographs floating (pun intended) around on Facebook, including my personal favorite of a fish seen through an office window.  

These photographs are not them.  Sorry to disappoint.  

These are simply a few snapshots I took of my kids playing in the lake that became our back yard for a couple of days.  Because really, who can resist splashing around in puddles, no matter how old you are?  Just for reference, under normal circumstances, we have no water in our back stream, no lake, no pond, no nothin'.  

Nothing like a little swing set turned water park in the back yard.  

Most of the time we were out there, they were in much deeper than this.  Just wanted to get a picture of their sweet little rain boots in the same puddle while I had the chance!

Lightning McQueen goes for a swim...

And here is the irony of it all...
These are all the trees that died after our drought last summer!!

So how does all of this tie into my experiences as a parent?  It doesn't really, but here is my attempt at a loose connection...

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain."  ~Vivian Greene

When I read this quote for the first time, it really struck a nerve.  It is actually the reason I had my own rain boots to wear and splash around in the backyard lake with my kiddos.  After reading the quote for the first time, I shared it with my husband and we ended up talking about it for quite a while.  At the time, it really seemed to "fit" the season of life I was in.  Life seemed to be throwing storm after storm, and I was just hoping to wait it out. "Dancing in it" was the furthest thing from my mind at that time.  My gift that Valentine's Day was a pair of rain boots and a note that read "So you can dance in the rain..."  I remember that every time I slip those boots on my feet.

So once does this connect in any way to parenting?  

Parenting is filled with incredible blessings, incredible amounts of joy, incredible moments to treasure.  It is, however, also filled with lots of storms, too.  

Middle-of-the night feedings.  Teething.  Night terrors.  Potty training.  Temper tantrums.  And that is just the tip of the iceberg...

They are inevitable.  There are so many different issues to work out and work through at different stages throughout your child's life.  We can't avoid it.  We can, however, choose how we view those storms and our attitude as we weather them.  

Will you spend those precious days waiting for that storm to pass?  Or will you throw on your rain boots and dance in the rain?

Today, the sun is shining.  The water in our backyard is receding.  The storm is over.  I am so thankful that for this storm, I was out there playing, splashing, dancing in the rain with my kids, not just waiting for that storm to pass.  The memories of that day bring a smile to my face even now.  I will treasure seeing the joy and wonder in those little faces and remember those tiny rain boots for years to come.  They will be tucked away and added to the "sunshine" I will draw on when the next storm hits.  Sometimes the steps are slow and unfamiliar, but I am trying to learn to dance a little more each day.

Rain or shine, You Are a Good Mom.

If you haven't already, be sure to stop by and check out the "You're a Good Mom" page on Facebook.  "Like" it and any new blog posts will be delivered right to your news feed!  Thanks!

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Waiting Game

I have never been very good at waiting.  

Christmas can never come soon enough.  

I don't love sitting through previews before a movie starts (well, at least from what I remember from going to a movie at an actual movie theater in a previous life...)  

Calling Comcast and being on hold for eternity is my least favorite activity, right behind going to the Secretary of State's Office to renew my license.  

On the rare occasion my fingernails have nail polish on them, it is most definitely smudged because I can't seem to sit still quite long enough for them to dry.  

It is not unusual for me to burn my mouth on a fresh-from-the-campfire marshmallow because I can't wait for it to cool down to a temperature that measures less than the surface of the sun.

I'm sure this is not news to anyone.  I mean, really, who in their right mind really enjoys waiting? 

No one.  That's who.

So why am I writing the most obvious, unenlightened post in the history of the world?

Because I am right smack dab in the middle of one of the hardest "waits" of my life.  And it was either write this post or wear a path in the carpet.  So write it is.

I am sitting in the waiting room at the hospital just a few doors down from the room where my little sister is in labor.  She is resting right now, with her incredible, supportive husband by her side.  And we are all waiting.

I needed something to keep my mind busy, to keep my hands busy, and writing something seemed like the best option.  That, coupled with the fact that I have no handiwork talents, such as knitting, sewing, cross-stitch, origami or basket weaving, so typing it is.

I am well aware that my sister is the one doing all the work here.  Really, I should not even mention the word waiting, as she has been waiting 9 long months for this day to arrive.  (But she has no idea I'm even writing this right now, so I guess I can just go for it.  Sorry, sister, who is probably reading this while feeding your sweet baby girl in the middle of the night 5 days from now when you actually have a chance to read this...)  

The anticipation and process of getting down here today is probably not helping this whole "waiting" business, either.  My sister lives 3 hours away from me, and throughout her entire pregnancy I have hoped and prayed for above all, a safe delivery, but a close second was my hope and prayer that I would be able to be there when my sister was in labor and when my niece was born.  Babies are cute and adorable and lovable, but predictable on time of arrival?  Not so much.  Being out of town and having 2 little ones of my own, I didn't know if that would be a possibility.  

But it is.  I am here.  I am feeling beyond blessed to be here.  If I have to wait, I am glad I get to do it here.  I am glad I get to be a part of this day.  Even it involves lots of waiting.


Waiting to meet my niece.

Waiting to hold her in my arms for the first time.

Waiting to hug my sister and brother-in-law.

Waiting to watch their first precious moments of Parenthood unfold.

Waiting for our family to grow once again.

Waiting to snap pictures that capture moments of a day that will be remembered forever.

Waiting for the memories and stories of this day that will be told over and over and over again in the years to come.


My amazing, strong, incredible sister, You Are a Good Mom.  You are so very close to holding your baby girl, kissing her sweet face, and cherishing this amazing little person who is the very best parts of you and the very best parts of Brian all wrapped up in one perfect little bundle.  I love all 3 of you with my whole heart!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What I Say...What They Hear

As of late, I have noticed quite a discrepancy between what I say and what my children actually hear.  At one time I thought, "Hmm...maybe they really can't hear me."  Not the case.  I now officially know they can physically hear some sort of noise escaping my lips, proven by the fact that my son just passed his hearing screening at preschool.  

So I've developed a new theory:  Between leaving my mouth and arriving at my children's ears, the words somehow completely transform into an entirely different language.  I think we may be hiring a translator soon.

Because I have gotten pretty rusty speaking toddler or preschooler myself, I am simply making my best guess here.  But this it is.  This is my attempt at making sense of this mystical linguistic process.  

(I'm hoping a Nobel Peace Prize may be in my future for this ground-breaking, highly scientific work.  Or maybe Rosetta Stone will pick me up for one of their programs.  But let's not get ahead of ourselves here...I just hope you read the rest of this post.)

What I Say:  "It's time for quiet time.  You may read books or play quietly in your room.  I'll let you know when rest time is over."

What They Hear:  "Please come in and out of room as many times as possible.  It would be great when you do actually stay in your room, if you could mess around with the door knob and make as much noise as humanly possible.  It would totally make my day if you could both arrange to have to poop at some point during this time, too.  Thanks!"

What I Say:  "Please show kindness to one another and play nicely together."

What They Hear:  "This is the first stage of your training for wrestle mania.  Try as many holds on one another as you can.  Bonus points for whoever strikes first!  Stealing of toys and getting in each other's space is greatly encouraged as well.  The icing on the cake for Mom would be if you could whine a lot, too.  It would make the time I spend trying to make dinner so much more special!"

What I Say:  "Put your shoes on.  We need to leave the house in 5 minutes."

What They Hear:  "It's play time, guys!  Dump out every single toy you have ever owned.  This would be a great time to go exploring under your beds and in the back of your closet, too, to look for any lost treasure that may be lurking there!  While you're at it, go ahead and take your socks off, put them on your hands and use them as puppets.  Doesn't that sound like fun?  Oh!  One last thing!  Mom would love it if you could try to hide in her closet or behind the furniture after you do all that other stuff I said.  Thanks so much!"

What I Say:  "Please walk quietly by me while we make our way to the back of the library for story time."

What They Hear:  "On your mark...get set...GO!!  Is that all you've got?  You've gotta really want it.  I can't hear you...pump up that volume about 10 more notches.  That man in the quiet study room on the complete other side of the library working feverishly on his lap top can barely make out what you're yelling about.  Work those lungs!"

What I Say:  "Finish eating your dinner."

What They Hear:  "Go ahead and play with whatever food is there on your plate.  Push it around a little bit, spill a little bit on the table and just kinda mash up whatever else is left so it is no longer recognizable as having once been something edible."  

What I Say:  "No."

What They Hear:  "Yes!  But first, let's see if you can whine and carry on and really put on a great show.  Let me see what you've got here.  When we're in public, the louder and whinier you are the better, too."

What I Say (in a barely audible whisper to their Dad while the kids are in the other room playing and talking to each other):  "Maybe after dinner we go for a bike ride and get some ice cream."

What They Hear"Maybe after dinner we go for a bike ride and get some ice cream."  
What I Say:  "I love you."

What They Hear:  "I love you.  I believe in you.  I value you.  I am so lucky and so blessed to have you in my life.  You are worth more than anything in this whole wide world to me.  You are loved now.   You have been loved since before I even saw your face.  You will be loved forever.  I am here for you.  I am here for you.  I am here for you.  I love you."

As a side note, teenager speak is completely foreign to me.  And it scares me.  If any of you have the rare talent of being fluent in this language, please leave your contact information and I'll be in touch with you in about 10 years or so.

While you endure the selective listening and parent-to-child mysterious language transformation, hang in there and remember, You Are a Good Mom.


If you haven't already, be sure to stop by and check out the "You're a Good Mom" page on Facebook.  "Like" it and any new blog posts will be delivered right to your news feed!  Thanks!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What Not to Say to a Mom When She is 8.99 Months Pregnant

Today marks my little sister's due date with her first baby.  I -- along with my sister, brother-in-law, and both families -- am beyond excited to meet this sweet little bundle of joy.  My neice-to-be, however, has not decided to make her grand entrance into this world just yet.  

My heart goes out to my sister.  

Both of my babies were born past their due dates.  Every day past my due date seemed like a week.  To add insult to injury, every single thing someone asked me or told me related to having that baby seemed like the most annoying, insulting thing I'd ever heard in my life.  To the credit of the people making these comments, they were in no way actually annoying or insulting at all.  On the contrary, they were loving and supporting and comforting.  However, when I was just ready to not be pregnant any more and my hormones were raging and I pretty much couldn't do anything except eat chocolate ice cream, every last word seemed spiteful.

With that in mind, and in honor of my sister and all Moms who have gone past their due dates the world over, here it is...

A Guide for What Not to Say to a Mom When She is 8.99 months Pregnant  

All the comments below may appear innocent enough upon first glance, but be warned.  Keep your audience in mind:  A woman who is carrying around a full-grown baby and would love nothing more than to have a glass of wine, some sushi and a whole bunch of Feta cheese.  

This handy little guide may just save your life someday.  File it away for safe keeping.

[The responses below do not reflect the view of my sister or my current self.  They belong solely to my "past due date self" from years ago.  This "past due date self" claims responsibility for all responses in italics, and the level of snarkiness contained therein.  It is quite possible that these responses have become even more snarky by being bottled up all these years.  I suppose writing this blog post was cheaper than therapy, though.  My profound apologies.  From my "past due date self," of course.] 

"When are you due?"
Does it really matter?  I obviously have not had this baby yet, so "due date" no longer means anything.  I am "past due."  I am thinking of collecting some sort of fine from my doctor.  The library does it, and that's just for some stinkin' book.  I have been focused on that due date for 9 months now.  I think my doctor may have arbitrarily picked a date and given it to me as some experimental form of torture.  No, I don't want to talk about it.  No, I don't want to discuss it.  Unless you're getting me chocolate ice cream, please leave me alone.

"Didn't you have that baby yet?"
Yes, as a matter of fact I did.  I just loved hauling around a watermelon for the last few months so very much that I stuck one up my shirt and I'm continuing to waddle around just for fun now.  And my newborn baby is in the nursery at the hospital.  And I'm at the mall.  Thanks for asking.

"I had all my babies 2 weeks early!"
Great news for you.  Sucks for me.  Unless you're getting me chocolate ice cream, please leave me alone.

"Just enjoy these last few days before your baby arrives."
I would love to, but I can no longer "enjoy" anything, including walking, sleeping or breathing.  The thing that I want more than anything in this world is to meet my child.  Enjoying anything but chocolate ice cream right now is physically impossible.

"I'm sure that baby will arrive before you know it!"
No, it won't.  I will definitely "know it."  "Before I know it" would have been 2 weeks ago or even 2 days ago.  That ship has sailed.  We have now moved into "I know it" and are getting dangerously close to "After I know it."

"My {friend/sister/cousin/co-worker/any other random person pregnant mom doesn't know} just had her baby yesterday!"
Great news for them.  Sucks for me.  Unless you're getting me chocolate ice cream, please leave me alone.

"Your baby must just be so very cozy in your tummy they just don't want to come out!"
Yup, I'm sure that's exactly what it is.  My uterus is so awesome at comforting my unborn child, they may just stay in there until they graduate from high school.  Or college.  At least that's what it feels like to me.  Therefore, I am cancelling their cable, disconnecting their Internet and delivering an eviction notice to my little tenant.  I may even bribe my baby with chocolate ice cream as their first meal when they do finally arrive.  By the way, could you go get me some chocolate ice cream?

A Guide for What to Say to a Mom When She is 8.99 Months Pregnant

"Let me get you a second bowl of chocolate ice cream."

Yup, I think that pretty much covers it for that section.

Whether your child was early, late, or right on time, You Are a Good Mom.  

If you haven't already, be sure to stop by and check out the "You're a Good Mom" page on Facebook.  "Like" it and any new blog posts will be delivered right to your news feed!  Thanks!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

"Parent"dox: Birthdays are for Parents

Sunday Night "Parent"dox #9: Birthdays are for Parents

Remember when you were a kid and waiting an entire year for your birthday seemed like a lifetime?  Counting down the days until your birthday felt like an eternity, like time had literally frozen, and in severe cases -- such as anticipating a birthday party at Show Biz Pizza or waiting for the all-important double digit milestone of 10 -- it could feel like time was actually going backwards.  

Now, as an adult, those years fly by much faster than I care to admit, and a birthday is often just another day of the week.  

I was reminded just how fast those years are flying by when I was leaving my son's school this week.  I was talking to our neighbor, a 1st grader, in the hallway as I was on my way out the door.  As we were talking and laughing, one of her classmates came walking up to join in our conversation.

Kid:  "Hi.  What's your name?"
Me:  "Carrie.  What's your name?"
Kid:  "Jeremiah."
Me:  "What a great name, Jeremiah.  It's nice to meet you.  Are you in Kelly's class?"
Kid:  "Yup.  Are you Kelly's grandma?"

Grandma?  Grandma??  Thanks for that, 6-year-old kid I don't know.  You are doing wonders for my self esteem.   

I tried to rationalize that one as much as I could.  These are some of the things I contemplated on my drive home to console my wounded ego:
  1.  Maybe he knows Kelly's mom, and knew I wasn't her, so he just went with the next relation he could think of.  (Although, for the record, I would have preferred "cool aunt" or "hip cousin" much better...)
  2. Maybe he meant Grandma as a compliment.  I mean really, to a 6-year-old, there is no more amazing person on the planet than Grandma, am I right?
  3. Maybe he failed his vision screening.
  4. Maybe I should stop wearing my hair in a bun.
After all the rationalizing, though, all I could do was laugh.  Truly, I love the unfiltered thoughts that tumble out of kids' mouths.  They always seem to serve as a good reminder not to take things too seriously.  

Like birthdays.  And getting older.  And age.  

Age is just a number. 

 Actually, it's much more than a number.  That number represents another hard-earned year's worth of laughs enjoyed, obstacles overcome, tears shed, experiences lived, relationships deepened, fears conquered, boundaries pushed and wisdom gained.  I am thankful for the years God has given me; thankful for the people He has put in my life in those years; thankful for  the happy memories that serve to mark each of those years; and I'm learning to be thankful for the challenges that have made me stronger over those years.  

It is a number to be celebrated; a number to be cherished; a number to be treasured. 

So, yes, there is no denying it, today is my actual birthday.  On this day that celebrates my birth and glorious introduction to this great big world, I have been thinking...  I didn't really do anything that day.  I was born.  Piece of cake.  (Maybe that's why this day is commemorated with cake?)  Really, let's think about the people we should be celebrating here...the people who actually made that very first birthday a reality.  

My parents.

Here is my request for this day and for years to come...don't send birthday wishes my way, send them to my parents.  

Happy Birth Day to both of you!  Thank you for all the work (aka labor) you did that day to get me here.  Thank you for getting our family of 2 (soon to be 3) to the hospital safe and sound.  Thank you for getting through contraction after contraction.  Thank you for cutting the cord.  Thank you for holding me when I was just minutes old.  Thank you for not passing out at any point.  Thank you for encouraging and supporting and celebrating that day.

To my parents, on my birthday, You Are a Good Mom (and Dad!).  Thanks for loving me and supporting from that very first minute, that very first breath, and for every minute and breath since then for the last 34 years.  I love you guys to the moon and back!

*******************************************************************************************************If you haven't already, be sure to stop by and check out the "You're a Good Mom" page on Facebook.  "Like" it and any new blog posts will be delivered right to your news feed!  Thanks!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Drive Thrus* for All!

I would never, ever run for political office, for a very lengthy list of reasons.  But if I did, I'm pretty sure I could secure at least a portion of the Mom vote with this platform:

Drive Thru* Windows in All Places of Business

I'm not just talking fast food here people.  [In fact, maybe the second part of this platform would be to remove drive thrus* from fast food places in an attempt to help me finally lose my baby weight.  I know my baby is turning 3 years old next month.  You didn't really have to point that out.  On second thought, keep the fast food drive thrus.  With the way my kids sleep, I need drive thru access to fountain Coke at any time, night or day.] Now that that's settled, back to the matter at hand...

Drive Thru Windows in All Places of Business!!

As a Mom of kids in car seats, I believe drive thru windows are pretty high up there on the list of best inventions in the history of the world.  Electricity.  Sliced bread.  Drive thrus.  In that order.  

Picking up a prescription at Walgreens?  Sheer bliss.  Depositing a check at the Credit Union?   Absolutely delightful.  Driving through the car wash?  Entertainment while completing an errand...pinch me, I think I may be dreaming.

The importance of being able to get things done while leaving your kids buckled in their car seats cannot be overstated, as illustrated in the following story.  

On Monday, I had two seemingly quick errands to check off my list.  The first was taking paperwork to my kids' pediatrician to be completed for their kindergarten and preschool registration.  I parked the car, unbuckled my daughter, reached over and unbuckled my son, served as a referee while my son tried to push his way past his sister and out the sliding door of the Minivan, negotiated with my daughter while she whined and cried because she wanted to jump down by herself, explained to both of them that their behavior needed to change, all the while fearing my pediatrician may have been watching the entire thing first hand.  (Fear not, he didn't.  Fear not again, he has four kids of his own, and his youngest two are the same age as my two kids.  Did I mention we love him?)  We finally made it inside, dropped off the paperwork, and were back out to the car in a grand total of 48 seconds.  

I buckled everyone back in and drove down to the zoo, where I needed to drop off paperwork for my son to attend a zoo day camp this summer.  I parked the car, looked in the backseat to find my daughter asleep in her car seat, removed her as gingerly as possible, unbuckled my son, made our way out into the balmy 31 degrees (yes, it was April, and yes, it was Spring Break), went to three different doors, and finally located the office we needed.  I presented my son's birth certificate, signed a consent form, and 63 seconds later, we were on our way back to the car.  By the grace of God, my daughter stayed asleep the entire time, even when I re-buckled her in her car seat.  (I think this was the first time this has happened.  Ever.)  We drove back home, and as I feared, my daughter woke up from what turned out to be her nap for the day...all 23 minutes of it.

Imagine with me, if you will, a parent's paradise...a world where all places of business are equipped with drive thru windows.  I swing by the pediatrician's office while my kids sing along to the radio, then zip through the zoo school office, while my daughter remains wide awake because she hasn't had time to fall asleep due to completing errands in world record time.

Drive thru windows:  Good for parents, good for kids, good for businesses.  Sure, it may not be super practical for some businesses, and yes, it may require a ridiculous amount of construction, but really, these are minor obstacles to overcome in the big picture.

If we band together, we can make this dream a reality.  

Once I'm able to institute my drive thru initiative, my second order of business will be

Double Shopping Cart Seats for all Grocery Stores
(Thanks for leading the way on this one, Costco.)

Please contact me if you'd like to be my running mate.

When you can run errands and actually get something done, You Are a Good Mom, whether you have to unbuckle everyone in your car or not.

*I have no idea if "thru" is a word.  I'm pretty sure my English major and teacher Mom would say it is not.  I am spelling it that way based on my extensive research of the McDonald's signs that read "Drive Thru."  Very academic, I know.  Plural is even worse.  Typing "drive thrus" has been borderline painful for me.  I apologize for any pain it may have inflicted on you while reading.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

"Parent"dox: When a Minivan is Cool

Sunday Night "Parent"dox #8: When a Minivan is Cool

A MiniVan is many things.

Practical.  Versatile.  Family-friendly.  Sensible.  Dependable.  

Cool, however, would not be one of those things.  Now don't get me wrong.  I am one of those Moms who really loves my Minivan.  Really.  I am just well aware of the fact that "cool" would not be on the list of adjectives used to describe it.  

Unless, of course, that list was being composed by my 4 1/2-year-old son. 

This lovely little "parent"dox all began a few weeks ago, when we drove across the state to see my aunt and uncle.  We had been in the car for a couple of hours, and were oh-so-close to their house, when traffic began to get thicker, we began to hit every red light possible, and our two littlest passengers began to get dangerously close to entering into a full blown nuclear melt down.  That combination, my friends, is a dangerous little cocktail.

While turning right at a red light, my husband may have incidentally produced one of the coolest noises known to man (or little boy) -- squealing tires -- on my completely uncool Minivan, all in the name of getting us to our destination and out of the car before anyone completely lost their mind.  

Upon hearing this cool, fast, testosterone-filled sound, my son perked up from the backseat.  

"What was that, Dad?"

I think the answer he was given may have been "It was just us in the Minivan" or "The tires on the Minivan when we started driving" or something along those lines.

What my son heard, though, was "Blah blah blah blah blah blah MINIVAN!!!! blah blah blah."

I'm fairly certain this is how he hears most of what I say anyway.  

Fast forward a few weeks.  The word 'Minivan' has taken on an entirely new meaning to my son.  It no longer refers to the vehicle in which he is riding.  It has been redefined to mean a strategic driving maneuver, exuding both coolness and speed.  I truly think he believes there is a button or something that can be pushed to enter into totally sweet, blazing speed "Minivan mode."  Note: Please request this feature on all cars you purchase from this day forth.  It will boggle the mind of car salespeople far and wide.

"The Minivan" has become one of his favorite requests, I might add.  These are phrases I now hear on a daily basis:

"Mom, can you do the Minivan?!"

"Are we doing the Minivan right now? Or are we just driving regular?"

"Put on the Minivan, Mom!  Let's go catch that other car!"

"Mom, we need to do the Minivan.  We are losing the race!"

[At this point, I should also mention he has watched "Cars" more times than any human being should.  He, therefore, believes every time we are in a vehicle, we are in a race.  And because there are always cars in front of us, we are always losing.  In his mind, his mom is a total disgrace to Lightning McQueen and all his name represents.]

My personal favorite was when he said this to me last week: 

"We're gonna be late, Mom.  You better turn on the Minivan!"...while I was driving my uncle's Ford Escape.  

No matter what you are driving, and whether you can do "The Minivan" or not, You Are a Good Mom.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Until I Became a Mom

There were a lot of things I thought I knew about being a Mom before I became a Mom.  But come to find out, there were actually a lot of things I didn't know -- things no one could have just "told" me; things I had to experience for myself -- until I became a Mom.

Until I became a Mom, I didn't know...

...I'd run a full dishwasher on a daily basis. would become commonplace to remove boogers from someone's nose other than my own. many of my conversations would be about poop or pee...when, how much, what color...

..."nap time" would be the two sweetest words my tired ears could hope to hear.

...I'd keep my 2-year-old company by sitting on the bathroom floor and reading her books as she sat on the potty, and I'd actually be excited that day had arrived. decisions would carry such weight; not just for me, but for my children and my family, too.

Until I became a Mom, I didn't know...

...the theme song from "Wonder Pets" and "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" would be sung nearly 'round the clock in my house...frequently, by me.

...just how difficult, yet important, carving out time for myself; time with my husband; time with my girlfriends would be in maintaining my own sanity.

...I'd hear my mother's words coming out of my own mouth.

...I would spend the night in a steam-filled bathroom with my croupy 4-year-old to make sure he could breathe, and I'd be full of worry and compassion, not frustration and impatience.

...there would permanently be Cheerios or graham cracker crumbs in some part of my house or car at any given time.

...I would want so badly to  be able to take someone else's pain away and make it my own.

...the laundry would never, ever be "done" again.

Until I became a Mom, I didn't know...

...I would purposefully take the "long way" home, based on the sliver of hope that the extra time in the car would get my infant to fall asleep.

...I'd be able to have my heart nearly burst with love and adoration, just watching someone sleep.

...I could be out-negotiated and out-stubborned by a toddler.

...reading the words "I love you, Mom" in preschooler script could completely melt my heart.

...that 7:00am would now be considered "sleeping in."

Until I became a Mom, I didn't know...

...sometimes just taking a shower would be a victory for the day.

...I would laugh out loud everyday, just from the things my kids would say and do.

...I'd be wearing maternity clothes long after that baby was here and in my arms.   

...that Popsicles and Band-Aids can fix just about anything. hard it would be, how rewarding it would be, how exhausting it would be, how amazing it would be and how nothing else on earth could truly prepare me for all that it meant to answer to the title of "Mom."

Until I became a Mom, I didn't know...

...a piece of my heart would now forever live outside of me.

Until I became a Mom, I had no idea just how precious those words -- You Are a Good Mom -- would be, and how I would carry them with me long after hearing them.  I didn't know how much I'd need to hear them, to remind myself of them, especially in the moments when I least felt like I was living up to them.  

Whether you are desperately in of need them today, or they are just a happy reminder, from the very bottom of my heart to yours, please know You Are a Good Mom.

What things did you not know until you became a Mom (or Dad)?  Write in the "post a comment" box below, or click on "# comments" and a comment box to write in will open so you can add yours to the list.  Thanks so much for taking the time to share! (Feel free to share any other thoughts, feelings or reactions to this post, too!)
site design by designer blogs