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The Worries of a First Time Kindergarten Mom

My eldest is about to start kindergarten. She has all her supplies, and her new school clothes. We are going to get her hair trimmed and buy her new shoes. I’ve got her bus pick up and drop off times, we went to orientation, we are all set.

She asks me every day how many days left until she starts school. She cannot wait to ride the bus, eat in the cafeteria, and explore her new playground. She is so excited. I am so excited for her.

I am also scared.

I’ve done my best to encourage her to love herself. I’ve tried so hard to teach her that, while not everyone is kind, we can choose to be kind to everyone.

I’ve tried to help her see how it doesn’t matter what others think of us, as long as we are happy with the way we act and the way we treat people, as long as we love the clothes we are wearing or the backpack we have, it’s okay if someone else doesn’t like it. That their opinion doesn’t take away from who we are and what we like.

I’ve tried to instill confidence in her. To give her a shield (or ten) against the onslaught of negativity I know the world is waiting to throw at her. I’ve tried to take negative experiences for her and turn them into teaching moments.

I’ve tried to help her learn that friends are nice to each other, that you don’t have to play with someone who is choosing to be unkind to you. That it’s okay to say “You are not being nice, and I don’t want to play anymore.”

I’ve tried so hard to make sure that she only keeps the best parts of me and the best parts of her daddy, and left all our insecurities and faults behind.

I’ve done everything I can.

But when she gets on that bus in a little over a week, will she remember?

Will someone make fun on her on her first day? Will they make my baby cry? Have I taught her enough, along with her dad and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and preschool teachers, to let it roll off her back and keep on shining?

When she chooses kindness, will the other kids in her class reciprocate?

What about the older kids? Will they be nice to her? This is the first time she will be at a school with kids who are older than her. And ten year olds must seem pretty huge when you’re five.

Have I done enough? Have I given her enough? Have I loved her enough?

I watched her at orientation last week – she had almost every child in that classroom gathered around her to play a game she had gotten started with two children while the grownups wandered around the classroom, trying not to cry. (Okay, maybe just me, but still.)

I think she may have two best friends already, and school hasn’t even started.

She’s informed me she wants to ride the bus the first day, that she doesn’t need me to walk her to class.

She says she doesn’t need me.

She says, “Mommy, it will be fine!”

She is creative and beautiful and intelligent. And she KNOWS it. She KNOWS.

She is a confident little social butterfly who loves everyone she meets and thinks she is beautiful and thinks she is funny and thinks she is nice and smart and good at art and is learning to read and SO proud of herself.

So I have to trust her. I have to believe that my baby is as ready as she can be. That what we have been able to teach her for the last five years is enough. That she will take the strength of our love with her, and thrive.

And, let’s face it.

She has always been strong. Certainly stronger than me.

Run, baby, run.

You’re going to be fine.

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Mommy as a Human

I’m Doing Everything Wrong

Sometimes, I worry that I am screwing up my kids. That I’m doing everything wrong, and some day they will get a therapist and their therapist will tell them that their issues stem from me being a bad mother.

Some of that is standard mom worry, I think. But some of it…? I don’t know. I am not a great mom.

I’ve gotten bad about yelling. I ask something of them calmly two or three times, and then I get frustrated because they aren’t listening, and instead of really getting their attention and helping them focus, I explode.

I immediately feel awful, and I apologize for losing my temper. But I hate that. I hate the example I am giving them when instead of being patient with them, I yell.

I know timeouts don’t work with my kids, but I’ve been falling back into the habit of using them out of desperation. When I’m holding onto control with the bare edges of my fingertips, putting them on timeout and giving myself time to calm down seems easiest in the moment.

But really, banishing them to their room every time I get angry doesn’t accomplish anything except to make them feel frustrated and turn getting them into their room a whole other battle.

Especially Miss B. She and I are so much alike. All she wants is to feel like I hear her. And I know that. So why is it so hard when my temper is flaring to acknowledge what she is saying and reassure her that I hear her? That I’m not ignoring what she is saying, but I need her to hear me?

And Miss C is almost three and going through her “why” phase. I’m trying so hard to give her real answers, but eventually I just say “because” or “that’s just the way it is.” I don’t want to discourage her from asking questions, but I mean…how much detail can one possibly go into about why we have to go pick up her daddy from work or why her sister goes to school? I give a LOT of answers before resorting to “because.” Good grief. She’s inexhaustible.

Miss E, my one year old, has started scratching my face in addition to hitting me and biting me. I know it’s a stage that will hopefully pass quickly, but it’s making me so angry this time around and I know my reactions are exacerbating the problem. Ugh!

I think I have Burnt Out Mommy Syndrome. I’ve been trying to schedule some things for me lately, to get out and spend time with friends and do things for myself. I got my hair cut and styled a couple weeks ago and I love it. I also bought myself makeup with the help of two of my friends and started wearing it nearly every day…I’ve never done my own makeup before, and I’m about to turn 30!

So…weekly goals for this week:

1) Take at least fifteen minutes to myself every day.

2) Do not yell at the kids.

3) Use consequences that work instead of timeouts that don’t.

4) Unpack one box a day from our move.

I’ll check in and let you know how that actually works out.

In the meantime, I’m going to eat this butterscotch pudding and watch a Disney movie. 💕

Mommy as a Human

Life is Nuts

This blog has been on my mind lately. I’m not sure why, since I can’t seem to commit to writing on any sort of schedule. Maybe it’s because being a mom has been such a struggle lately.

Not because of my kids. Kids are crazy, that’s part of life. Just because I’ve got a lot going on in my brain.

I’m trying to help my five year old navigate the big emotions that come with having friends in a Pre-Kindergarten class. She is very competitive, and that’s causing her some stress with her (also competitive) friends. I’m also trying to prepare her for kindergarten in September, and keep my patience through her “that’s not fair” stage.

I’m trying to help my two year old prepare for starting preschool in the fall, and I’m trying to get the whole potty training thing going for her.

My almost 17 month old is going through a hitting/scratching/biting phase.

I’ve got a mountain of laundry. We moved in February and still aren’t unpacked. My husband injured his foot/ankle during said move and has an MRI scheduled soon to try to figure out what the heck is going on with it. He is in a walking boot and using a cane. They’ve done X-rays and it’s not broken, but a regular sprain should have healed by now. He isn’t very mobile so the household chores he would normally be helping with have fallen to me.

The girls are getting used to their uncle living with us, and he’s getting used to living with them, so adjustments on all sides.

I went back to work in October and then ended up leaving in February, for a variety of reasons. So we weren’t really adjusted to me being back and then I was home again and the kids are readjusting to that. My five year old keeps asking me in a worried voice if I “have to leave her again” to “go to work and not be home for her bedtime.”

I’ve started looking at going back to school. We are paying off debt and trying to get financially stable. I’ve started joining some committees and getting more involved with the preschool – and next year there will be two schools to be involved with, in two separate districts, since the preschool is in one and kindergarten is in another. I’m sure that will present a whole new list of challenges.

It’s just life. It’s nothing special. But when I think about it I start to feel overwhelmed and my patience grows thin and then parenting gets harder.

I’m hoping once we finally get everything unpacked and I make it through the mountain of laundry and figure out whether I’ll actually be able to go back to school and we know what’s wrong with my husband’s leg…maybe I can breathe for a minute.

I have two play dates scheduled for the kids this week, and I’m thinking about braving the Children’s Museum and the library to get the kids out of the house and doing something different.

I’ve also been thinking about doing some more work on my blog and maybe sharing recipes or fun stuff I’ve done with the kids. We shall see.

Until next time…hopefully sooner than ten months from now…

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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.)

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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 

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Miss B Bee

To My Darling Daughter,

Tonight, you woke up twice, crying out for me. I went to you, checked your diaper, offered you a drink. You didn’t need a diaper, you didn’t need a drink. I picked you up out of your crib, and you dragged your blanket with you.

I held you close, and you snuggled closer. You didn’t need anything. You just wanted to snuggle.

I sat down in our rocking chair, and we both got comfortable. You stretched yourself out, with your head snuggled next to my chest, and your legs hanging off of my lap. I remember when you were born, and I would swaddle you up and you would snuggle on my chest and not even reach my lap.

We rocked and rocked and snuggled. I sang your favorite lullaby. You touched my face and patted my arm. Your eyes started to close.

I stood up and walked to your crib. You grabbed a fistful of my shirt. You didn’t want me to put you down. I didn’t want to put you down yet either. Cradling you in my arms, I realized how fast you are growing. I realized that soon, you will be too big to cradle like a baby anymore; in fact, you’re close to being too big already.

You drifted off to sleep, but I held you for a little while longer, watching you sleep. Enjoying being your mommy. Getting my B snuggles in while I can.

I put you back in your crib and tiptoed out of the room.

When you woke up again an hour later, we repeated the process, only this time, we both fell asleep in the rocking chair. When I woke up a few minutes later, you had snuggled your face against mine, and you had your little hand wrapped up in my shirt again.

Since you’ll only be this small for a little while longer, since you’re growing up so fast, since I’m missing too many moments and opportunities to just enjoy holding you…I let you sleep on my shoulder for half an hour before I could force myself to gently put you back in your bed, so we could both get some proper sleep.

It’s the little moments, baby girl, more than anything, that make me so happy, so incredibly grateful, make me feel so lucky to be your mommy. You make my heart feel full, little one. You make mama’s heart happy.

Thank you for the snuggles. Thank you for the loves. Thank you baby, just for being you.

I love you,

Mommy