Dear Briana,

Dear Briana,

Dear Briana,

You are growing so quickly, sometimes when I look away and look back at you, I swear you’ve grown an inch. It’s amazing to see you blossom from a beautiful baby into a beautiful child. Never forget that you are beautiful.

The other day, you saw Daddy tying my shoes because I am getting more and more pregnant and every day, and it is getting hard for me to tie my own shoes. You thought I might be scared, because Daddy tying my shoes was new and different, something you hadn’t seen before. So you ran over and said “Mommy, hold my hand!” And then you held my hand and patted it and said “It’s okay, Mommy. It’s okay. I’m here. I got you.” And every time you see Daddy tying my shoes, you come and hold my hand, and you tell me that it’s okay. And it is. Because you’re there. Never stop caring about people, baby girl.

You love to sing, and to have others sing to you. Your favorite song right now is “Hakuna Matata” from the Lion King. You sing it softly to yourself in the car, so softly that I can barely hear you. Unless Uncle AJ is in the car singing with you in the backseat. Then you sing loudly, and I can hear your beautiful voice. Never lose that love of music, and always sing loud and proud.

You love to talk about your baby sister. She’s not here yet, but you talk about her all the time, and about being a sister. I hope that your love for your sister grows a hundred times stronger once she’s born, and that you have the kind of bond with her that I have seen between other sisters. Never stop loving your sister. I know she’ll love you, too.

You are learning so many words, so quickly. And you’re learning how to use those words to communicate to others more effectively. (Mommy is throwing big words at you right now. All that means is that you are talking so people can understand what you need and what you want to do!) Right now, you like practicing how to say hello and ask people how they are doing. And you love it when people ask you the same question so that you can say “I’m fine.” You love telling us what you are doing (“I’m playing with my blocks.” Or “I’m reading my book.”) You love to learn the new words. You get so excited and say them as often as you can. Speaking of excited, you love jumping up and down and shouting “I’m so excited!” Never lose that excitement for learning new things, little love.

You love to look at books and be read to. Don’t EVER lose your love of reading.

You love to color and scribble and draw, and you love to watch Daddy draw, and ask me to draw pictures for you. You are learning how to draw hearts with me right now. Don’t ever lose your appreciation for creativity and art.

In short, Bri Bee, hold onto all the good parts of you. Remember the pure essence of you. Adding to it is okay, as you grow older and gain new interests and skills. But don’t forget the simple things that bring you pleasure. Because too many people, mommy included, do that. And then they are sad. I want you to be happy.

I love you forever and always,

Mommy

 

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She Takes My Breath Away

She Takes My Breath Away

I’ve mentioned in recent blogs that Briana’s vocabulary is very rapidly expanding, but I don’t know that I’ve really gotten too far into how much, or how her little mind seems to soak up ideas really easily, and she seems to be understanding more and more about what is happening around her, what she is seeing on screens, and what she is having read to her in books.

We were in my room the other day, playing around having tickle wars on the bed and just being silly, when she suddenly stopped and looked at me, very alarmed, and said “Something is scary!” She didn’t look at me and just start to cry, or yell, or run away in fear, she identified what was wrong and told me about it. I immediately scooped her into my lap and said “What’s scary, baby?” She burrowed into my chest and mumbled something. “What’s scary, hon? Mama can’t hear you.” She pulled away from me just enough to whisper “I hear a noise!”

I listened.

All I could hear was the fan in the bathroom, which had been running the whole time we had been in my room. I said, “Let’s go see what it is. You might feel better. Is that okay?” I stood up, holding her, and started to cross the room, but she yelled “No!” So I said “Okay, mama will put you on the bed and make the noise go away. Is that okay?” She thought. “Okay.” So I set her back on the bed, crossed the room, and flipped off the switch for the bathroom fan. I turned back to her. “Is that better?” She listened. “No more noise. No more something scary. Better.”

I love that she is now able to identify what is wrong or what she needs, and I love how fast she is learning new words and ideas.

I also love how kind her heart is, and how sweet she is. I posted this on Facebook just a few minutes ago:

Bri and I were sitting on the couch together, and I was tickling her and playing with her, and I started to get out of breath, so I stopped and said “Okay, honey, give mama a minute. She needs to rest.”

Briana stops, and looks at me really seriously for a minute, and then stands behind me on the couch, puts her hands on my shoulders and kind of rubs them for a second, then leans her little face onto my head like I do when she is snuggled up next to me and whispers, “It’s okay, baby, you’re tired. Rest.”

David rubs my shoulders when I am tired and sore after work. If she’s getting really upset over nothing, or is just over-tired, I’ll usually say something like “It’s okay, baby. You’re so tired. Lay here and rest with mama.” The fact that she did that when I said I needed to rest just melted my heart. It brought tears to my eyes. She is only two! How can she be only two and growing up so fast at the same time? On the one hand, it’s amazing and beautiful and I love it! But on the other hand, she’s my baby girl, and I want her to stay my baby girl forever.

She has started laughing at movies. She loves the baby sea turtles on Finding Nemo. When she watched Beauty and the Beast today, she would be watching a scene and turn to me and say “She’s crying. She’s sad.” or “He’s  mad, mama. He’s scary.” Just last week, she wasn’t doing that. Now, she is naming characters left and right (Daniel from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, James and Sofia and Amber from Sofia the First, even the Beast from Beauty and the Beast), laughing at jokes, and seemingly following simple story-lines. It’s crazy!

Today she also announced twice that she needed to go to the potty. She’s been doing this sort of randomly over the last couple of weeks, but usually would just go in and sit on the toilet for a few minutes and then say she was done without doing anything. Today, she said “I need to go to the potty!” She ran in there and put her potty seat on the toilet and helped us get her pants down, and then she actually went both number one and number two! She got the biggest grin on her face when we praised her and said, matter-of-factly, “I went potty! Wash my hands now, please.”

And then, right before bed, she told me again she needed to use the potty, and actually did!

We had stopped potty training her a couple of months ago because she was turning it into a power struggle, and we didn’t want it to be such a traumatic thing for her. Now, she’s volunteering to use the bathroom. I’m hoping if we just keep at it this way, letting her decide when to go, and then just gently start encouraging her to go more often and not use her diaper, we will have her 100% potty trained before Chelsea is born in May. I don’t know how well this will work, but I am encouraged by her wanting to go twice today. So I guess we will just take it one day at a time…and let her watch the Daniel Tiger episode about using the potty A LOT. 😀

I just find how fast Briana is changing and developing her vocabulary and becoming a little girl instead of a toddler…a bit alarming. And amazing. And wonderful. And absolutely terrifying. I was reading something the other day that told me she is technically a pre-schooler instead of a toddler now. I was like “Seriously? At TWO?” But I guess it’s true? Who knows.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment or share if you found it particularly fabulous. 😉

Good Surprises, Baby’s Name, and Briana Updates!

Good Surprises, Baby’s Name, and Briana Updates!

Today, we received our lease renewal offer from our apartment complex. We were expecting a huge jump in rent due to our apartment complex’s website’s stated “market rate,” and many of our neighbors moving and telling us rent was climbing too high to afford living here. I was prepared for the worst, and feeling completely overwhelmed about moving in the middle of a pregnancy and with David being unemployed. I expected at least a one hundred-dollar jump, but was actually expecting more along the lines of two or three hundred dollars.

So imagine my pleasant surprise to discover they had only upped rent by about twenty dollars, plus parking!

I feel so relieved. That is one ginormous load off of my shoulders. We’ve decided to renew our lease and stay here for at least another year. The baby will be in our room for at least a year anyway, and even after she turns one, she can share a room with Briana until we get our feet under us and are ready to move to a different place. Hopefully by then we’ll be able to rent a house, at the very least. I have to repair my credit before we can purchase. Sad day. But anyway.

Knowing that we’re staying here, I can stop feeling so stuck when it comes to figuring out how to prepare for baby! Before I felt like I couldn’t do anything, because what was the point of rearranging and reorganizing if we were going to have to pack everything up and move anyway?

David finding out that we were staying resulted in a very relieved expression and a visible relaxation in his shoulders…followed by him looking a wee bit harried as I started expounding upon all of my plans for organizing the apartment and our porch storage unit, downsizing and getting rid of some shelving that takes up too much space, de-cluttering everything, and rearranging our bedroom. I’d guess his stress comes from him knowing I’ll need a lot of help, and be giving him lists of projects, haha. Poor guy. He’s not a fan of change, even change as small as rearranging furniture.

Another positive today was my new breast pump showing up in the mail. My insurance covered it fully, and the company I ordered it through didn’t even charge shipping and handling! How cool is that? They also sent me six bottles for free, I’m guessing just because I ordered it through them instead of trying to figure out insurance by myself? Whatever the reason, it’s always nice to get free things, especially when it’s something I know we’ll use. I plan on exclusively breastfeeding, but I also want David and Briana to be able to get in on the feeding action, and having the bottles is handy!

Finding out that we have a place to live for the next year put me in a completely different mindset today. I don’t feel quite so overwhelmed. David’s unemployment claim was also processed, so soon we will have a small amount of money coming in from that, which will help with not falling so completely behind while he looks for a new job. We have two really good ones that we are keeping our fingers crossed for, and then two that are kind of “meh” but that he would accept just in the meantime while looking for something better. Keep us in your thoughts!

I realized that I never shared our baby girl’s name with you guys yesterday, because I was so overwhelmed about the apartment thing. We have decided to name her Chelsea Rose. Chelsea is after my very close friend (who is also Briana’s godmother, and will be little Chelsea’s godmother as well), and Rose is after my husband’s grandmother, Rosie. We’re very excited to have another little girl. I’ve gone a bit crazy today since we found out we’re staying here, pulling out boxes of clothes and toys, sorting through everything. I’m glad that we are having another girl, because we can re-use everything. I would have been thrilled to have a boy, too, but it would have meant a lot of extra money to shell out for clothes and car seats and…everything. Hardly anything that we have from Briana is gender neutral. She was very much dressed in pink, girly stuff most of the time, and even her infant car seat has a pink plaid pattern!

I ordered a baby book for Chelsea already, I guess some people call them “memory books” but I think of them as baby books. It’s by the same company that made the one we used for Briana. I LOVE their products. C. R. Gibson has amazing quality stuff. If you’re looking for a good memory/baby book, go Google them! They’re a little more expensive than what you might find at Target or Wal-Mart, but the quality is great. (There’s my product plug, heh heh.)

I am sorry that my blog has been so negative for the past few posts. Life isn’t horrible, it’s just stressful right now. I’m truly trying to stay positive, but sometimes the fear and negativity takes over. And since I’m trying not to stress out the people I love, it has to have an outlet somewhere, and that’s usually my blog, unfortunately. Please try to stick around. I promise I will not be so doom and gloom ALL the time. 😀

Let’s see. A quick update on Miss Bri Bee before I go. Her vocabulary is expanding so rapidly that I literally cannot keep track of all the new words she throws at us in a day. Today alone I think I heard at least five new words and two or three new “phrases” that she has picked up from us. It’s mind-blowing! I love how quickly she learns, she’s like a little sponge.

She’s also definitely testing limits and pushing boundaries lately, figuring out how far she can go before we stop her. We’ve set firm limits and stick to them, and that seems to help. She pushes right up to the edge of the boundary, and sometimes puts a foot over, but when she knows she’s crossed the line, she gets her act together pretty quickly. She has learned how to say “I’m sorry,” and although sometimes she tests my patience and makes me want to scream, when I hear her little voice pipe up and say “I’m sorry, mama,” without prompting or pushing, it makes everything okay again. We’re trying to encourage her to use her words, and she’s trying really hard to do that. Except when she gets really angry or frustrated, and then she does the temper tantrum thing…we’re working on it.

It’s hard to give her the tools I know she needs, when the need for the words and tools doesn’t come up until she’s too upset to listen and absorb. I don’t know that prime teaching time is when she’s kicking her limbs and flailing about on the floor, hitting at anything or anyone that comes close to her. So I stand back and wait until she’s a tiny bit calmer and then kneel down and talk to her. “It’s okay to be angry (or frustrated or sad or whatever), but it’s not okay to hit (or bite or kick or run away or not listen). Okay? Let’s try to use our words next time. Say ‘I’m mad’ (or ‘I’m sad’) instead of .” I hope that’s helping. Sometimes it feels like I’m talking to myself, and I don’t really know if it’s an effective way to teach her, but darnit, I’m trying! I want to be a good mom. I try really hard to do the right thing. I worry that I don’t do the right thing more often than I do, but part of that is just me being hard on myself, I think.

Briana keeps running up to me and saying “Kiss the baby?” And then she likes to pull up my shirt and kiss my expanding baby bump. It’s adorable. I don’t know if she truly understands yet that there is going to be another baby in the house and she is going to be a big sister, but whenever we talk about the baby, she gets really excited. She loves babies, and she asks about her baby cousin (he’s about a year and a half old now) a lot and loves seeing him, but I don’t know how she’ll be when the baby is actually living in the house!

Briana is still obsessed with the Frozen soundtrack, and insists on listening to it every time we are in the car, but at home she is more into Daniel Tiger, Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, and The Lion King right now. Thank goodness. I still love the Frozen movie, but I’m glad for a break from watching it so often.

I’m trying to figure out when we should potty train Briana. I tried on a whim today putting her in some underwear and taking her to the bathroom every half hour or so, but she didn’t pee on the toilet. She peed her underwear and then didn’t tell me about it. She didn’t act bothered at all by the wetness, so I’m guessing that might mean she isn’t quite ready? I’m very intimidated by potty-training. She did use the bathroom later in the evening, but that was after I had put her back in a diaper, and she randomly announced she wanted to use the potty. *sigh* I know we’ll get there eventually, but I was kind of hoping it would happen before Chelsea was born. I guess we still have about 20 weeks to make it happen. 😀

That’s all I can really think of for now, and I guess the blog is getting kind of long today. Hope you’ve enjoyed it more than the last couple though! I’ll be back soon with more updates. 😀

 

 

Bedtime Fear

Bedtime Fear

I feel as if the more ideas I have for my blog, the less time I have to sit down and actually write them out. I’m hoping that will change soon, but as of right now, it’s the sad truth.

Now that I have the time to sit, the myriad of ideas that have popped up in my head over the past few days/weeks have flown the coup. My mind is completely blank. So, for now, I’m going to sort of go with a stream-of-consciousness sort of thing and see where it leads me.

Briana’s vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds every single day. I’ve stopped trying to record every new word that she learns, because there are simply too many of them every day, and I was having trouble remembering which ones I had written down and which ones I hadn’t. It was taking up a lot of unnecessary time and energy, and I’m a little short on both of those things. So, suffice it to say, she’s learned a lot of new words. Some of those words are Frozen related. Olaf, Ana, Elsa, etc. Of course.

The potty training thing is sort of at a standstill. It’s frustrating because she was super good about it all for the first week or two, and now she’s sort of being difficult about it. She’ll happily announce “potty” after she has gone in her Pull-Up, but she won’t tell us before anymore. For a few days in there somewhere she refused to pee on the toilet OR in her Pull-Up, but would wait until we put her in a diaper for her nap and then go in that instead. What I get out of that is that she is getting the bladder control and just refusing to go on the toilet? I’m not really super worried. At this point my biggest concern is whether to keep on with the potty training or just give up for a couple of months and go back to diapers. I’m really hesitant to go back to diapers because I don’t want her to think it’s no big deal…but right now it’s kind of not a big deal. Does that make sense? I don’t know.

Briana can count to three. She spontaneously demonstrated this a few days ago. “One, two, fwee!” It’s so adorable. I’m wondering if she’ll count higher in the next week or so. One of her favorite books right now is a Frozen counting book that goes up to ten. She’s been requesting it a lot, so we’ll see.

A few nights here and there over the last few weeks, Briana has been getting absolutely hysterical around bedtime. She usually just goes down as easy as anything after her story, but several nights when I have closed the door, she has lost her ever-loving mind. She screams and cries and sobs and begs for “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” And it’s not that “wah, I don’t want to be alone” cry, but that genuine terror that rips at your heart and pulls you back into her room very quickly because you HAVE to make it okay for her. That gasping for breath, hiccuping, cry so hard she gags kind of cry.

I thought maybe it was fear of the dark, but she already has a nightlight. She always has. It’s dim, but it projects a little drawing of a princess and a castle and a horse (or is it a unicorn? I’ve never looked that close) onto her ceiling, so it provides decent light. Nevertheless, I started turning on this little light stuffed animal thing that projects stars and moons onto the walls and ceiling as well. (She says “wow!” every time I turn it on.) That didn’t do the trick either. The only thing that I can figure out is possibly a return of separation anxiety? We haven’t had a problem with that since before her first birthday, but I hear that it comes back in the toddler years sometimes.

At any rate, it’s heartbreaking. I will go in there and rock with her and sing to her and talk to her until she is all calm, almost asleep even. But as soon as I lay her in her bed, kiss her forehead, say goodnight, and walk out and shut the door, she starts screaming again. Three nights in a row it took two hours to get her to stop screaming. If I leave the door open, she gets out of bed and follows me into the living room. I’m kind of at a loss. I can’t let her scream like that, and I won’t listen to people who suggest it. This isn’t her screaming and crying to manipulate me…this is genuine fear. She just isn’t old enough to tell me what she is afraid of yet. I need her to know that I will be there for her when she is afraid. Always. I refuse to trivialize her fear just because I don’t understand it.

Tonight, I read Briana her bedtime story with her already in bed, and let her hold onto the book after I shut out the lights. She cried, but this time it wasn’t hysterical, fearful crying. It was “I’m tired but I don’t want to sleep” crying. So I let her cry and it stopped within 30 seconds. I’ll try that again tomorrow I suppose, and see if it helps in the long run.

Anyway…perhaps tomorrow one of my brilliant “I should totally blog about that!” ideas will crop up and I’ll remember to jot it down so I can actually write something entertaining!

 

Potty Training

Potty Training

This ENTIRE post is about Potty Training because I am obsessed with intensely focused on it for Bri right now. Feel free to skip it if you aren’t interested!

Briana will be two in (gulp) less than two months time. A couple of months ago, she started showing interest in using the toilet. And if you put her up on the toilet, she would go pee in the toilet, but it didn’t really seem to be an on purpose sort of thing. More of a timing sort of thing.So I didn’t think too much of it, and sure enough, interest waned and she didn’t want anything to do with the toilet after a week or so.

But a couple weeks ago (or maybe just ten days or a week, I’m not sure) she saw an episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood in which they’re putting a huge focus on using the potty. Complete with a little jingle that I cannot for the life of me get out of my head. (“If you have to go potty, stop, and go right away. Flush and wash and be on your way.” It’s stuck in my head, rattling around, and I. Cannot. Stop. It.) Anyway, that sparked something different. In the middle of that episode, she yelled “potty” and took off for the bathroom. As soon as we got her on the toilet, she peed. She did the same thing after dinner.

Alrighty then. Time to get serious about this?

We got a “potty seat” for her that fits over the regular toilet seat so that she can sit by herself with no fear (on either one of our parts, lol) of her falling into the toilet. We got her a little stepping stool so that she could more easily get onto the toilet. My mother-in-law picked up some Pull-Ups for us. We were armed and ready for…well, not take-off, but you know…the other thing.

I was unsure about actually starting this at first, because everyone a lot of people said that it was too soon and I’d be better off waiting. And then I wasn’t sure about using the Pull-Ups because a lot of people said those were a waste as well, and we should go straight to underwear and “never look back.”

I thought it through from a few different angles and decided that I would continue potty training Briana unless she lost interest again, and then I’d not fight it. She’s still really young, and while it would be wonderful to get her out of diapers completely (including the Pull-Ups), I don’t want to push for the sake of pushing. I also decided to start with the Pull-Ups, because they made me feel a little bit less unsure, a little more confident in trying to embark on the big Potty Training road with Briana. Also, because I’m her mom and she’s my kid, and my hubby is her dad, and the decision is ours and not a lot of other people’s. (Trying really hard to remember that every time someone second guesses me!)

So, a few days ago, we started putting her on the toilet every 20 minutes, and sooner if she said “potty.” Sometimes she went and sometimes she didn’t, but we celebrated every time she did, and praised her for staying dry in between, which was nearly every time. I was at work Monday and Tuesday for a good chunk of the day, but she stayed dry all but once in the afternoon with me Monday and once on Tuesday. I’ve noticed that later in the day it gets more difficult for her. She’s less focused and so she forgets to tell me she needs to go.

Wednesday was the first day I was at home with her all day, and also the first day I took her somewhere in a pull-up. (I’m pretty sure hubby told me Monday and Tuesday he had forgotten and put her in diapers when it was time to take her to my uncle’s house so he could head to work.) At any rate, I needed to go to the library, which is about half an hour away. I put her on the toilet before we left, but she didn’t go, so I was thinking we were probably going to have a wet pull-up once we got to the library, but I figured that’s what the pull-ups are for, so off we went.

When we got to the library, I hustled her straight into the bathroom and was surprised to find a dry pull-up. Yay! Success. And she went to the bathroom before we left and was dry when we got home. I was all sorts of excited. She still ended up having just that one wet pull-up at the end of the day though, right before bed, even with us taking her to the bathroom every 20 minutes.

I want to call today our most successful day. She did have a wet pull-up in the car, but we took a long drive to my mother-in-laws work, and I can’t blame her for not holding it for an hour when she’s just learning. She told me while were there that she needed to go to the bathroom, and she stayed dry on the way back, even though she fell asleep in the car.

Wow….LOTS OF DETAIL ABOUT PEE AND PULL-UPS AND BATHROOM USAGE. I’m weird. I feel the need to share things. It helps me catalogue and process and keep track and understand things. So, I’m sorry, but you’re just going to have to suffer through or stop reading.

Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is that for now, we’re sticking with the 20-30 minute thing. If she starts to stay dry for longer, then we’ll extend it out by five or ten minutes at a time. Maybe once she can hold it for an hour we’ll ditch the pull-ups during the day. I’m not sure how to go about night-training, so I haven’t tried it. I think it’s too soon anyway. I’m focusing on day-training her for now. Maybe once she starts waking up dry most mornings we’ll start night-training her, but I’m pretty sure that she will be closer to 2 and a half before that happens. But, then again, I never expected her to be even this far into potty training before she was 2. We’ll see how things go.

Potty training isn’t hard exactly, at least not at the level we are attempting it right now, but it’s time-consuming and requires a lot of patience. Maybe in a couple of weeks I’ll feel brave enough to ditch the pull-ups except when we are going out and about. I’d be braver about it now, except I don’t have hardwood floors – it’s all carpet. And I don’t fancy crawling around on my hands and knees with carpet cleaner every day, cleaning pee out of the carpet. So, you know. Baby steps.

If you have any helpful tips (other than to ditch the pull-ups, because, remember, we’ve covered this already), please share them with me!

Words you wish they wouldn’t learn…

Words you wish they wouldn’t learn…

“No!”

“Stop!”

“Move!”

Oh, dear. She’s learned those words. She’s learning quickly how best to use them, too.

The other day, her grandma bought her a Frozen water bottle, but Briana was seemingly having a tough time getting any water out of it. So I picked it up and tried to take a drink.

Her reaction was about what you would expect any nearly-two-year old’s reaction to be. She got angry and reached for the bottle, letting out a stream of unintelligible Briana Speak. I fixed the straw and handed it back. She took it from me, said “No, mommy! No!” And then went about her business. I had to turn away so that she wouldn’t see my laughter.

We were on our way out the door the other day and Briana planted herself in the middle of the doorway, preventing me from opening it. And she just stood there. In my way. As we were running late and frustrations were already running high. So I very rudely said “Briana, honey, will you just move?!” She did move, and I did apologize in the car for being rude.

Later that day, at the aquarium, two boys kept getting in Briana’s way as we were trying to look at the octopus. She darted this way and that, trying to get around them to see, but they were still in her way. So she said, “Move! Move!” Um, oops? I guess that one is my fault. I apologized to the boys’ mother, but she just laughed and said “New word?”

And then there is “stop.”

Yesterday, my darling daughter hit me and told me to “stop” when I touched one of her toys. And then she did it again. Timeout!

It’s so funny, because, as a parent, I am absolutely ecstatic when she learns a new word. Any word, really! But then there are those words that present you with a whole new set of issues. How do you teach the concept of rudeness to a child baby toddler who doesn’t even really understand what feelings or manners are yet?

I’ve started teaching her what manners I can. Feet don’t go on the table, no talking with our mouth full, food goes on our plate not on the floor…I have to repeat it twenty times a meal, but I’m trying. This other thing though, words…toddlers are just going to say stuff! You can’t control what comes out of their mouths!

I have accepted (if not embraced) the fact that my child is going to royally embarrass me at one point or another (or several hundred times). But I still want to try to teach her to be polite…as far as you can teach a two year old to be polite. So we have started talking about gentle words and hurt feelings. It may not work, but it’s a start…you have to start somewhere, right?

I’m just hoping she doesn’t drop any inappropriate four-letter words any time soon. Hubby and I are both much better about curse-words than we used to be, but I admit that we still swear more than we should. My weakest moments are when I am driving and other drivers are not being very smart. Keep your fingers crossed for me…going from having the mouth of a sailor to having the mouth of a trying-really-hard-to-keep-it-clean mom is one tough job.

Anyway, my point is, expanding vocabularies are cause for celebration. Except when they aren’t. 🙂

See Them Shine

See Them Shine

Yesterday, David and I were at the mall with Briana, and we went to the food court to get something to eat. The very kind family that ran the restaurant we decided on said “Oh, your daughter is so cute. But, oooooh. What happened to her eye, poor thing?”

Briana was wearing her eye patch. 

This isn’t the first time someone has asked us why Briana is wearing the patch, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. David or I just explains she’s not hurt (which is what people are assuming), but she has a slight wandering eye and that we are using the patch to try to correct it without any other intervention. 

David explained, and the kind woman behind the counter said, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” David moved right on past the whole thing and ordered our food. But I stepped away with Briana and went in search of a table. I wasn’t sure why, but the exchange had bothered me, and I was trying to step back from the situation and figure out why I had reacted the way I was reacting.

I found myself wanting to take Briana’s patch off, even though she’d only had it on for about 20 minutes, and she’s supposed to wear it for an hour a day. I even mentioned taking it off early when David came to the table. David said, “Nah, keep it on for another 20 minutes at least.”

Briana isn’t bothered by her eye patch at all. In fact, a couple of days ago, she found the box of eye patches in the kitchen and started trying to open it. She grew upset when I took the box and said “you already had your patch today, honey.” She wanted me to put another patch on her.

It took me until right before we got into bed that night to finally put my feelings into words and share them with David. “It makes me feel defensive. I hate that people think that there’s something wrong with her, and I hate that they feel sorry for her. And I really hate that even after we explain it’s nothing major, they say ‘oh, I’m so sorry.’ Like Briana is defective.”

David is a pretty straightforward sort of guy, so his response to my thoughts was pretty much “Who cares what anyone else thinks?”

And he’s right. I shouldn’t care. And I even told David that he was right. But I had more to say. “I’m more worried about my reaction to them than their reaction to her. I don’t want Briana to see me acting uncomfortable and think I’m embarrassed by her patch. I’m not embarrassed by her patch. I’m angry about people’s reaction to it. But I’m afraid she’ll pick up on my reaction and start not wanting to wear the patch when we leave the apartment.”

He understood that part better. He agreed we wouldn’t want that to happen. But he still couldn’t understand why it made me angry. He pointed out that if they don’t know how to react, “I’m sorry” is a generally acceptable social response. And again, he’s right. But it still makes me bristle.

My child is gorgeous. Plain and simple. There should never be a qualifier. “Oh, your baby is so cute. But what’s wrong with her eye?” She’s so pretty, but That’s what I latch onto. As if she can’t be pretty because she’s wearing an eye patch. It may not be how they meant it at all, but that’s how it’s coming into my head and being processed. And it makes my heart ache, and it makes me want to take her patch off so that they can see there is no “but.” She’s simply beautiful.

I don’t know how I want people to react. I know they’re going to be curious. And I don’t mind explaining, I guess. I just want people to know that regardless of her need for an eyepatch, my daughter doesn’t need anyone’s sympathy. She’s a beautiful, smart, inquisitive, friendly, happy, amazing little girl. She shines, and I don’t want anyone to take her shine away, simply because of an eye patch.

So, if you ever run into someone who has a child with an eyepatch, or who is in a wheelchair, or who has a feeding tube, or is autistic, or who just looks a little different, just say “Oh, your child is beautiful.” Leave off the “but.” Leave off the question at all. You don’t need to satisfy your curiosity, and they don’t need your sympathy. They’re just like any other family – they want you to see their child shine.

Proud Mama of a Shining Little Girl