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.

 

 

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

 

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!

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Today, after work, I picked up my daughter from my friend’s house (thank friend, I love you), and buckle her in her car-seat to head home. The drive wasn’t long, and as I unbuckled her once we arrived home, she said “I walk.” As in, she wants to walk inside, not be carried. So I gather up the diaper bag and my purse and her little lunch bag and set her down on the ground.

“Hold my hand please.” She complies. We step up onto the sidewalk, carefully step up a couple of steps, and very carefully step down a few more steps. She immediately lets go of my hand. She knows this is a safe place and that she’s allowed to run ahead to our door. She points at my keys. “Keys!” She points at the door. “Door!” She points at and simultaneously touches the exterior dryer vent and says “No touch!” Well, at least she listens?

I open the door and she immediately runs inside and tries to close the door before I can step over the threshold. “Please let mama inside, Bri.” She’s already tornado danced into the living room and is happily dismantling a pile of books by the fireplace while talking incessantly, some real words, some not. Before I have had time to lock the door, drop my purse and the diaper bag by the front door and put my keys down on the kitchen counter, Briana has spread her book collection across the living room, dumped out her toy box, and run into her bedroom in search of more books.

As I exit the kitchen, she meets me there, book in hand, and drops down to the floor. “Book!” She wants me to read. I sit behind her and pull her into my lap and we go through her “First 100 Words” book 100 times, right there on the hallway floor. She can say many more of them than she used to be able to. Truck. Strawberry. Car. Cup. Bear. Bird. Kitty. Many more. I hug her close. She’s growing up too fast, learning too quickly.

Suddenly, she is tired of the book. She flies away. “Food! Yum. Food? Cracker. Cracker. Milk. Food.” Dinner time.

I decide to give her a no-cook dinner, simple and no-fuss, since it’s so hot outside and she won’t eat much of it anyway. I put her in her booster seat and give her yogurt, and am shocked when she says “Yogurt! Yum!” Another word I didn’t know she knew. She takes three bites of yogurt while I’m cutting up her strawberries and grapes. Then she dips her hand in it and puts a glob of it on the back of her head and rubs it in. Good thing it’s hair wash day anyway.

She gobbles down her dinner and then demands to be let down. “Down. Out. Down. Out. All gone!” I release her from her booster chair prison, and she tries to turn on the television. I start her bath, and wrangle her into her room to get her undressed. I help her stand up and say “Bath time, Bri. You’d better run!” She runs, laughing and naked, into the bathroom while I chase her saying “Run run run! Bath time!” It’s one of her favorite games, being chased to the bath.

She even has books in her bath, “bath books” that are made out of a plastic material. She looks at her books while I wash the yogurt glob out of her hair. She giggles and kicks her feet and says “tickles” when I wash her toes.

I get her dressed in her pajamas, comb her hair, brush her teeth. She sits down and plays with her castle, then reads a couple of books. I watch her growing before my very eyes, and choke back tears. Silly me.

We read her Frozen book before bed. It’s actually two books, one from Anna’s perspective, one from Elsa’s. She loves it. She cries when I put it away and tell her it’s bedtime, but when I kiss her face and tell her to get into bed, she gathers up her blanket and lays down on her pillow, reaches up her arms for a hug. “I love you baby Bri.” “‘Uv oo mama.” My heart melts. I kiss her forehead and tell her “Sleep good, baby. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

I walk out of her room and shut the door. I am greeted by a mess. My purse and the diaper bag have been dumped out by the front door where I left them sitting, contents strewn halfway down the hallway. My shoes are kicked off by the kitchen, her sandals are in the middle of the hallway. There are toys on the kitchen floor, toys in the hallway, toys on the couch and on the floor in the living room. Her books are everywhere. Her clothes from earlier are in the dining room, where she apparently put them after I got her out of her bath. Her dinner is still on the table, and under the table, and on the chair. There is water all over the floor in the bathroom, and her toothbrush is sitting by the sink, not yet rinsed.

Today was long, and Bri was a bundle of energy when we got home, while I was exhausted and ready to fall asleep where I stood. I played with her anyway, let her makes messes, laughed with her, delighted over every new word that came out of her mouth, just drank all of her in, enjoyed spending time with her. This is a typical “I worked until 4:30 and got home at 5:15” day. That’s not always my schedule, but when it is, this is usually about the way we spend our hour and 45 minutes before bedtime. We make messes. I run my eyes over all of it. I’m tired. I don’t feel like cleaning. I sigh.

And then I spot a picture on the mantle above the fireplace. Me, in a hospital bed, in a hospital gown, holding a precious newborn bundle in my arms. My dad, leaning over me, kissing my  head. Kissing his baby. His grown up, having-her-own-baby baby.

I straighten up the living room with a sad smile. Yesterday, she was born. Today, she’s a toddler. Tomorrow, she’ll be grown and gone.

Misty Eyed Mama

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 

Firsts

Firsts

We are moved into our new apartment, barring a few items that still need to be moved from my in-laws house to here, and I am very excited. It feels so nice to have our own apartment again, and I am going to turn on my music and dance around the living room the first chance that I get.

Last night, for the first time since B was born, she slept in her own room. I cried a little, not gonna lie. And I still can’t figure out if I was crying because I was so happy to finally be able to provide her with her own room, or if I was sad that she wasn’t going to be in our room anymore. Either way, I cried.

I had the baby monitor turned up really loud in our room. I was really nervous that I wouldn’t wake up for her if she needed me. Of course, this was a ridiculous fear. The very first time she made a tiny sound, I sat bolt upright in bed and was ready to fly across the apartment to her bedroom. 🙂

She slept fine. She woke up once at about 4:30 in the morning. Her diaper was wet, but I also think she may have been cold, so I added another layer of clothes after I changed her diaper, gave her a hug and a kiss, put her down, and she went right back to sleep.

In the last two weeks or so, she has refused to be rocked to sleep anymore. She allows you to rock her for a minute or two, but then she wants to be in her crib and puts herself to sleep. I know this is a healthy development, and that I should be happy I don’t have to rock her for an hour on nights she is restless and fighting sleep, but really my heart is aching a bit. I can’t believe how fast she is growing up.

Another first happened just minutes ago. I was trying to rock her to put her down for a nap (she has still been wanting to be rocked for naps, just not for bedtime), and she started fighting me, so I put her down in her crib. But then she was trying to turn it into a game and wasn’t laying down, and I was getting frustrated…so I walked out and shut the door.

She immediately started crying, and I really wanted to rush back in and pick her up and kiss her and tell her it was okay, but I was too frustrated, and I knew she needed to sleep. So, also for the first time ever when I was trying to get her to sleep, I let her cry.

She only cried for maybe a minute, then calmed down. I heard her “talking” to her stuffed puppy, and then she went to sleep.

Darn. She doesn’t need me so much anymore.

And now that she is asleep I should be finishing unpacking the kitchen, but I’m sitting on my brand new couch, feeling sad about my daughter growing up instead. She will be 16 months old in 2 days! Where has the time gone?

First Time Mommy
(Wanting to Turn Back Time)

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