One Step At A Time

One Step At A Time

I came into the bedroom to give Chelsea her bottle of milk. She still wakes up most nights around 1:00 to have a drink. She drank her milk and handed me her bottle, and then crawled into my lap (I had put her on my bed and sat next to her, that’s what she prefers at night).  She put her head on my shoulder, wrapped her arm around me, grabbed my shirt, and went immediately back to sleep. I’m still sitting here, ten minutes later enjoying the weight of her here on my shoulder. Smelling her sweet baby smell. Kissing her sweet little face.

I realized today that she doesn’t want to snuggle unless she’s sleepy anymore. I realized that although she wants constant reassurance that I’m still here, she’s more interested in chasing Briana around these days than cuddling with mama for very long.

She’s growing and changing so quickly. And I thought I was ready this time, that I knew how fast it would go. I was wrong. It goes so much more quickly when you have two to chase after and divide your attention between. And when you’re pregnant as well, everything goes on fast forward.

I realized that in 14 short weeks, she won’t be my youngest anymore. That I will have three babies to look after and love and chase and teach and giggle with and marvel over. That I will no longer have enough hands to keep hold of everyone when I am by myself. That someone will always be left feeling as if they are being cheated of my attention. 

But earlier, Chelsea fell, and I was all the way across the apartment, and she cried out that heartbreaking “I really hurt myself” cry, and before I could get to her, Briana was there. 

“It’s okay Chelsea, I’ve got you. Sissy is here. Did you get an ouchie? Do you need a Bandaid? Let me help you up.”

Chelsea stopped crying and let Bri help her up. Bri kissed her forehead and held her hand and said “Let’s be careful so you don’t fall, okay?” 

And my eyes welled up a little bit as Chelsea giggled and started walking along with Briana, not even looking around to see where I had gone.

And just like that, another stage passes. Just like that, they’re a second, minute, hour older. Every time you blink. Every time you glance away. Every time you sleep, wake up, and start another long and exhausting day.

Just like that they’re one step further away from you, one step closer to independence. They’re learning to lean on each other. They’re forming a friendship, and it’s the kind only siblings can have. It’s amazing and beautiful. 

And it means they need me just a little less. And that’s beautiful, too. And also a little heartbreaking. And a little scary.

Some days the thought of having another baby is completely overwhelming. I feel as if I can barely handle two. My PPD is under much better control now, but there are still days that I feel like I’m drowning. 

But then, on days like today, when Bri steps in and helps her sister, even with something small. When I hear her tell Chelsea not to do something so she won’t get hurt. When she sees me getting frustrated because the kids aren’t cooperating and says “I’m sorry mama. I’m ready to listen.”

On days like today, I know I will figure it out. That David will be there to help me. That David’s parents and my family and our friends will always be willing to reach out and jump in with extra hands when I need them. 

On days like today, I know I will be okay. On days like today, I hold onto the fact that all my babies are still little, and still need me, but that their growing independence will be what helps us transition from a family of four to a family of five. 

One step at a time. For them, and for me. For all of us.

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Success

Success

Sometimes, I let life get to me. The struggle of keeping my head above water on days when my PTSD and PPD make just getting out of bed hard, and I have two little people who need me to do nearly everything for them. And it’s not just the struggle to get up and take care of them, but the struggle to be present for them in the way they deserve.

Today, there was a big mix of failures and successes. I am learning that just because I failed at some parts of the day does not mean the whole day was a waste, or that I’m a failure. I’m learning, slowly, to move past the rough moments and enjoy the good ones, even on the days when there are more rough moments than good.

If you had asked me a month ago if I succeeded or failed at a day like today, I would have said, without hesitation, that I failed. I raised my voice more than once. I lost patience many times. There were timeouts and there were a couple yelling matches with my three year old when I forgot to be the adult.

But I also fed the kids three real meals and two non-packaged snacks today. And we had a mini-dance party in my room after I changed the baby’s diaper. Briana and I spent twenty minutes looking at a Mickey Mouse book that is similar to a “Where’s Waldo” book…a find it sort of book, and the look on her face the first time she found something in the sea of objects on the page without my help was pure magic. We used straws for magic wands and had a “magic fight” that mostly involved a lot of giggling and saying “hex, hex, unhex!” Bri went through three outfits today before settling on the perfect dress. The baby shared her graham cracker with me, and giggled like crazy with every bite I took.

I used to feel like all the moments I stumbled as a parent far outweighed the moments when I got it right. But at the end of the day, after I rock my snugly, sleepy, happy 1 year old baby to sleep and get her settled into her crib, and walk across the apartment to my 3 and a half year old’s room to say goodnight, she doesn’t want to talk about the moments we slipped up. She wants to snuggle up to me while I play a song for her on my phone and we sing about taking on the world. She wants me to read her a story and give her a kiss and “Please, Mommy, lay with me just a little bit longer? I need your attention. Your attention makes me happy. How about we read a story?”

Kids are great at moving past the negative and holding onto the good stuff. Somewhere along the way, I lost my ability to do that. My kids are reminding me how. Every day.

Something happened at my nephew’s birthday party on Sunday with Briana that keeps making me smile, because it shows me that, even though I may forget how to “bounce back” myself sometimes, I’m doing an okay job at teaching her how to handle her emotions in a more healthy and constructive way than I do.

Her cousin got a cool ride-in truck for his birthday, but was a little leery of getting in. So they had Bri jump in…well…she’s three. So of course she didn’t want to jump out! I went over and lifted her up out of the truck and told her it was someone else’s turn and set her down in the dining room. She was facing away from me, so I couldn’t see her face, but I could tell from my mom’s face that it was a sad one, and before I could get her turned around to talk to her, she had taken off for her cousin’s room.

I followed her and found her face down on the floor, hands covering her little eyes, crying. I sat down next to her and scooped her into my lap and she put her head on my shoulder and I asked her to tell me what was wrong. Between big sobs, she said that she wanted the truck, and she was sad that it wasn’t her turn. She was sad that it wasn’t her birthday.

I reminded her of her own birthday party, when she got lots of presents, and asked her how she would have felt if someone took one of her presents and wouldn’t let her have a turn. Her crying got quieter, and she said “I wouldn’t like that. And that’s his truck, huh? And I had a turn and now it’s his turn?” I agreed with her. She still sounded pretty teary, but she wiped her eyes and said in a trembling sort of voice, “Mommy, will you just play with me for a minute? I feel sad.”

So we sat there on the floor and played with some of her cousin’s toys, for maybe three minutes. She jabbered at me about this toy and that toy, and how they were her cousin’s toys but we could take a turn since he wasn’t using them. And then she popped to her feet and said “I feel a little better now. Thanks, Mommy.” And just like that, the rough moment was a distant memory, and she was ready to fly off and play with her cousins again, while I trailed along after her down the hall.

My three year old is better at moving past things than I am…my kids are going to teach me through me teaching them. How crazy is that? Life is crazy. But life is also good. And today, I succeeded at life.

One step, one minute, one hour, one day at a time. And each success matters, and the moments I mess up don’t take away from the moments I get it right.

I’m learning. Slower than my three year old maybe, but I’m learning.

 

 

Not Enough

Not Enough

I worry so much that neither of my girls are getting everything they need from me. Especially Briana. I feel like, since Chelsea has been born, Briana feels desperate for more attention. It makes me feel bad that she doesn’t feel she is getting enough. I try hard, I do, but the baby takes such short naps, and when she’s up she is my superglue baby, never wanting to be far from me and needing so much attention.

Some days I do better than others. Today I felt like I didn’t do very well.

I think it may be time to plan something for just Bri and me to do together, and find someone to keep the baby for a couple of hours. Maybe take her to the park if the weather is nice, or take her swimming at our apartment complex pool. I don’t know. Just do something with just the two of us. I miss that with her. And I know she misses it, too.

She is handling the change, the switch from being an only child to a sister, really well. But she is still only three. I was watching her sleep for a moment when I checked on her before I went to bed, and it really hit me how young she still is. She’s not much more than a baby herself, and I’m asking so much of her…I mean, not too much, not being unrealistic or anything. But it’s a big deal learning how to be patient and learning how to share toys and learning how to share your mommy and daddy when you had them all to yourself for two and a half years. I’ve started picking her up and carrying her around sometimes again, like I do with Chelsea, and it just makes her whole face light up. I can’t carry her for long though…she’s so tall and she’s getting too heavy for me, with my non-muscles from my non-workouts.

I just want both of my kids to feel loved, and lately I feel there isn’t enough of me to go around. It’s frustrating. Hopefully, as Chelsea gets a little older, she will be a little more independent and I can start spreading my attention a bit more evenly. Until then, I’ll just worry that I’m scarring both of them for life. (That’s a joke…kind of.)

Kids Grow Up Too Fast

Kids Grow Up Too Fast

I love it when my daughter hands out hugs and kisses, and lately, she hands out A LOT of them!

She is just the sweetest little girl ever. She runs up to me while I am doing dishes or making lunch or doing laundry, and she hugs my legs and giggles. When I turn around and swoop her up and give her a hug and tell her I love her, she gives me a big kiss complete with sound effects (“MWAH”) and giggles again, often leaning back in for a second or even third kiss before wiggling to get down. Once she’s on the floor, she’s off and running again, but not for long before coming back for more hugs and kisses.

I love how affectionate and loving she is. I love that she isn’t shy about doling out that affection to her daddy and me. Not to mention her grandparents and other relatives…and her stuffed toys and dolls! Today I even saw her hugging a blanket. It’s so cute!

She is just full of surprises. Like, today, I finally figured out that one of the words she’s been trying so hard to say for three days is “share.” I figured this out as she insistently pointed at the soda I was drinking and repeatedly said “sure, sure, sure.” And then she made the sound she makes when she’s thirsty. “No, mama’s not going to share that, baby. Drink your milk.” And she did. I can’t believe how fast her vocabulary is growing. And how quickly her babyish characteristics disappeared.

I was telling David the other day that we need to convert her crib to a toddler bed. He shook his head in denial, and I asked him why. He said “Well, aside from the fact that I don’t want to admit she isn’t a baby anymore, how in the world are we going to keep her in bed?” Good question? It’s just about time to pack away her high chair, too, and put her booster seat on one of the dining room chairs. She really likes sitting at the table with us. Where did the time go? Where is that little newborn I just put to bed last night?!

She’s changing so fast. Growing up, learning new things every day, testing limits. I am so not ready for this.

A Mom Who Isn’t Ready 

18 Months Old Already?!

18 Months Old Already?!

We took B to the doctor for her 18 month check-up yesterday. She was officially a year and a half old on May 5th. I can’t believe that so much time has gone by. I was watching some old videos of her on my phone today, from when she first rolled over, sat up, crawled, laughed. It was crazy to see how little she was just a few months ago, and how much she truly has changed, even just in the last few weeks.

I decided to do a blog just kind of outlining B’s current “stats” if you will. Her weight and height and vocabulary. I haven’t done one of those in a while, and I feel like now is as good a time as any to catch up.

She currently weighs in at 24 pounds and is 32 inches tall. (I think she may actually be taller, but Miss Wiggle Worm made it difficult to get an accurate measurement, so we’ll go with 32 inches.)

B’s vocabulary is growing every day (in fact she learned another new word today!), but here’s the current list of mastered words:

  1. Hi
  2. Bye/Bye-bye
  3. Keys
  4. Car
  5. Book (When she’s really excited, this word becomes “boo boo”)
  6. Mama
  7. Daddy
  8. Papa
  9. Uh oh
  10. Okay
  11. Puppy
  12. Woof
  13. Ball
  14. GG (Great Grandma’s name)
  15. Hello
  16. Coat
  17. All done/All gone (It’s hard to tell which one she’s saying sometimes, but I’m pretty sure I’ve heard both)
  18. Mom (oddly used more than “mama”)
  19. Shoe
  20. Go bye-bye (she only ever says this as a phrase, never just “go”)
  21. Wow
  22. Nose
  23. Baby

B is insanely curious about everything, and she wants to know what everything is called. She laughs easily and often. She has a mischievous streak, and when she’s caught doing something wrong, her standard reaction is to run up to you, throw her arms around your legs, and positively BEAM her smile up at you while giggling like a maniac. (I’m in so much trouble.) 

She loves being read to, and we’re learning how much patience is required to read the same book three hundred times in a row. Her favorite book right now, which is our designated Bedtime Book, is The Bear Snores On. It’s a very cute story, and I highly recommend it to anyone with kids. She loves it so much she’s been refusing to let go of it after we read it (twice in a row) before bed, so I decided it wasn’t worth fighting her. She’s been sleeping holding onto her puppy with one hand and her book with the other. (Parenting done right?)

She loves fruit. Raspberries seem to be her go-to favorite, but she’ll gobble down pretty much any fruit you put in front of her. She also loves her vegetables, yogurt, and chicken. Knock on wood, she has thus far been NOT picky at all about what she eats, though she hates tomatoes. (That could be because she grabbed it thinking it was a grape, though. :))

Our girl loves shoes. Her shoes, our shoes, your shoes, it doesn’t matter. She will find them, and she will try to put them on herself or whomever they belong to. I sense a very large shoe budget in her future! Oh, and when we took her to the doctor the other day, she refused to leave the apartment without her purse. *dies of cuteness overload* Sorry…I’m okay now. 

She’s also been going around hugging her teddy bears and puppy dogs, and dragging her blanket all around the apartment with her. Today, out of the blue, we had a hugging marathon. We were sitting on my bed, and she walked across the bed and gave me a hug. Then sat back down. Then gave me another hug. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. It was adorable!

She’s definitely a toddler though, throwing her tantrums and fighting her naps. I feel like we’ve got a pretty good handle on that part of it though. I’m actually somewhat proud of us, as parents. Not trying to brag…just proud of how we’ve learned right along with B how to handle certain situations and read between the lines and figure out what she needs from us. It’s nice to not feel lost or overwhelmed when it comes to our kiddo. I’m starting to feel like I’m not such a newbie anymore. I know there’s still a lot of stuff that hasn’t hit yet (I’m trying really hard not to panic about potty training), but for now, I’ve got this, and that feels good.

 

Not Such a New Mom

 

Playing Pretend, Tickle Monster, and “Tag”

Playing Pretend, Tickle Monster, and “Tag”

I never anticipated how cute and fun it would be to play pretend with B. She loves her little teapot and the plate that came with it with three little treats, the two teacups…she constantly brings them to me and wants me to play with her. She hasn’t quite figured out that she’s supposed to sip her cup and I’m supposed to sip mine though. I’m constantly getting a cup shoved in my face, and if I don’t return the “favor” then I get a very stern “eh!”

I love every second of it.

She also loves pretending she’s leaving with her purse. She puts it on her arm and waves and says “Bye!” and walks away. And then she comes right back and says “Hi” turns around like she’s leaving again and says “Bye.” Repeat ten times (or until she’s bored), and you’ve got the game figured out. 

(Random side note: Last night she was sitting in my mother-in-law’s lap and I said, “B, it’s bedtime. Are you ready to go nite-nite?” She responded by waving at me and saying “Bye” and settling down into MIL’s lap! Like “Okay mom, if you want to go to bed, I’ll see you later!” It was SO cute!)

My little girl loves to be tickled. She throws her head back and belly laughs, and when you try to pull your hand away, she grabs your arm and puts your hand back on her belly as if to say “more tickling!” Today I was tickling her until she was out of breath, and I kept trying to stop, because I was worried she’d like, choke or something, but she wouldn’t let me! I was the Tickle Monster for a good five minutes! She was laughing so hard, and I was laughing, and it was just a good Mommy/Daughter moment. It made me so happy!

B loves being chased right now, it’s like her own little version of tag. She makes sure she has your attention and then she runs away as fast as her little legs can carry her. Then we chase her. And she squeals and laughs and screams, and then when you catch her, she throws her arms around you and gives you the biggest hug she can, kisses you, then wiggles to be let down so that you can repeat the process. 

Her other favorite game is when people are going to go sit down (we all sort of have regular spots in the family room) she races them to where they normally sit and throws herself in their spot and then laughs maniacally like “Haha! I took your spot!”

I love that she is so playful, and that she already has an imagination. It’s adorable!

In other developments, she’s been completely off of bottles for three weeks, and *knock on wood* it’s been a very smooth transition. No crying or cries of “ba ba” at all, really, I was surprised! I got a little teary eyed putting the bottles out in the garage with the rest of her “outgrown” stuff. I can’t believe how fast she is growing up.

The big move is next Friday, the 28th. I’m a little concerned about how the transition is going to affect her, but she seems to be pretty adaptable, so I’m hoping all will go okay. Mainly, I’m worried about moving AND putting her into her own room in one fell swoop, but it’s time, so we’ll just see how it goes. Maybe I’ll sleep in her room for the first couple nights, ease the transition. I’m open to recommendations here! What did you do when you moved your little one to his or her own room?

I’m so excited to get our own space, our own apartment! I’m a little nervous about not having a roommate to share the bills with, but as long as we actually stick to our budget, we’ll be fine!

That’s all I’ve got for today. Sorry it’s not especially funny or anything. I’ve been so distracted with the move and everything lately that I’ve been having a hard time focusing on writing. I’m hoping that once we settle into a routine at our new place that I’ll get some of my focus and drive back when it comes to the blog and my Facebook page. 

Apparently a Fun Mommy

Aside

Just a Little Blog Today

In just over two weeks, we will once again be living on our own, in a nice two bedroom apartment that we can call “ours.” Well, we’re renting, but it’ll be ours just the same.

I am so excited to finally be able to provide B with her own room, and decorate it nicely. We spent a nice chunk of our tax return this year purchasing decor and furniture for her room and bathroom. The most devastating thing for me about losing our apartment back in May 2013 and having to move into a smaller place was losing the chance to decorate B’s room. Since she was still sleeping in with us, there hadn’t been a big hurry, and then suddenly, my plans for decorating her nursery were just…gone.

I’m so happy. Grateful. Ecstatic. It’s been five years since we’ve really had our own place. We’ve either been living with my in-laws or living with roommates practically since we got married. It’s beyond time to have our own space again, and now, on February 28th, we will!

The last shipment came in today, so all of B’s stuff is here and ready to be moved to the new place. I suppose if I had been smart about it I would have just waited to order it until we moved, but I was excited, so I ordered it. 🙂

I don’t really have much to say today, I just wanted to start being better about blogging more often! I actually set a reminder so that I will hopefully actually blog at least once a week. I’m sure B will give me a lot to write about!

Moving Mommy