Growing up overnight

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When your child turns 1, a lot of people seem to think your child is all grown up.  I didn’t quite see Cora as all grown up by any means.  She was still my baby with a diaper butt and a binky in that chubby hand.  She turned two and I remember rocking her to sleep that birthday night thinking, it will all be very different soon.  I knew that soon she really would start growing up on me.  It took her until these past couple of weeks but man, my baby is gone and a full toddler is in front of me.

First it was my husband removing the rocking chair in her room.  We had to take it out to get the carpets cleaned and my husband thought we might just go ahead and leave it out.  No more rocking my baby, while reading books before bed.  I cried because I didn’t know the previous night was our last night to rock.  It hurt me more than her because she was excited to have a new reading nook with her own little chair.

At 14 months Cora started showing signs of potty training and we bought the potty, bribed with stickers and pretty much left it at that.  Some days she would be great all day and other days she would stick to her diaper.  We didn’t push.  Then a few weeks ago she decided panties were cool and diapers were not.  She is now potty trained aside from wearing a diaper at night, although those have been dry the past few nights so we might be done with that.  The changing pad and diaper pail was moved to storage, creating more space in her room.

Remember the great big girl bed fail? The weekend she decided she was done with diapers was the same weekend she asked for her big girl bed back.  (It is still her crib but with a toddler railing on the side that opens.)  Aside from falling out of it on a daily basis, we are having total success with it.  But seriously, this kid flips every which way allllll night long.

Just like that her room is changing from the nursery to a toddler’s room.  The last of the baby items are being tucked away and the house is filling with toddler everything.  It is bittersweet moment and seems to be happening all at once.  At the same time I can’t help but think, yep, we made it through that baby stage. Whew!

Getting Comfortable

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I remember the days when writing was my crutch, my life support, and my way to make it through the day.  The words would pour out of my fingers and it was absolutely healing.  I really needed it in those days.  Soon days turned to weeks, then to months and now that has turned to years, where things have grown easier and life has changed.  I don’t feel that constant need to turn to writing out the words as my therapy.

When we had Cora we agreed to just pause life and breathe for a while.  No huge projects, no life alternating plans, just stop and soak in it all for a bit.  We have certainly done that.  Sure, we have had new parent moments and loss of sleep but all in all, our kid is pretty kick ass. Our marriage is pretty amazing.  I fall in love with my husband and our life journey more each day.  I don’t have a lot to complain about.

Cue romantic music, doves flying over us, as we sing kumbayah, in a circle, holding hands.  I KNOW. Gross.

Well, we all know when we get comfortable in life, God will throw you some curve balls.  We have had some over the past couple years (Currently dealing with a few)  but man, I will always go back to THIS WAS NOTHING LIKE THAT DIVORCE TIME IN MY LIFE.  Yes, everything gets measured to that moment and if I survived that, I can survive anything.  It gives you an appreciation for what you have.  Or maybe part of it is age.  Either way…perspective.

Several months ago my husband had some health stuff happen.  He spoke with his doctor, ran a few tests and came to the conclusion that it seemed to be a fluke situation.  We aren’t ones to get over dramatic so we left it at that.  Then last week the “episodes” happened again and at a larger intensity that actually caused him to have a seizure.  I won’t go into the details because they don’t matter.  Back to the doctor he went, who is doing a bit of head scratching and listing out possibilities that range from something we can handle to are you fucking kidding me. I’m pretty sure those are medical terms.

Blood tests, EKG, and yesterday was the CT scan.  All came back normal, so those are crossed off the list and specialists are being lined up. Normal means good but at the same time we want an answer, as much as we are fearing it.  It feels like fighting infertility all over again in a way.

At the moment, we are keeping this to ourselves and trying to not let it get to us.  Yet, there it is hovering over us at the dinner table, more emphasis is behind every I love you, it sits in the back of my mind at work and it hangs in the air when we talk on our lunch break.  Honestly, just unsure of how to truly feel and scared of what could be lurking around the corner.

My husband canceled some side jobs, moved some others around.  He decided to lower his weekend work loads until we get this all sorted, whether it is something minor or something much larger.

It is strange, I’m the one with the bad heart problems.  We tackle those, we adjust life to that and we plan on me falling over dead randomly.  We don’t so much plan for my husband to do that.  Him fall out of a tree, slice off a finger? Sure! Health problems to alter our world? Nope.

Which brings me back here.  To the little spot that helps me sort my thoughts and my words, in that calming way I have come to count on.  The place where I have dedicated many hours and logged my life with all the good, bad ugly and beautiful.  We shall now see where it takes us next.

 

Learning Patience

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I think one of the main things a mother will say that her children taught her is patience.  I couldn’t agree with this more.  I have never spent so much time telling myself to stop, breathe, wait, and have patience.  This moment shall pass, we will get to where we are headed, don’t explode, give her a moment.

I have a pretty easy toddler but it doesn’t mean we don’t have our moments.  Our moments of trying to get out the door, of mamma just needing to pee, of dinner on the stove or cleaning needing to be accomplished.  She is hanging on a leg, asking me to sit and play with her, requiring a cup of water or a snack.

For the love of God child can you just please get in your car seat and not literally stop and smell the flowers along the way?

But then I remember she is still new to this world.  She doesn’t understand the rush, she needs a moment to have a tantrum because learning shoes is tough, she wants to stop me to discuss the poopy she did in the potty earlier in the day, she needs to inspect the flowers that spring is slowly trying to produce and is that a bug? Better follow it somewhere. All these things I quickly do myself, quickly glance at, shove feelings down to be dealt with later, and don’t give a second thought about.  She is discovering the world around her, learning and processing it all.

Therefore, she gives me patience.  She teaches me daily to take a step back, listen, feel, and pay attention to all the little details of life.  It is such a cliché what kids can do for us but a cliché that many of us take for granted. Even find down right annoying because dude I can’t fetch you a 4th blanket because the water is boiling over on the stove.

It isn’t always possible, but giving her the extra time and space has been a game changer.  The art of letting go a bit and letting her, not take charge, but lead at times, has taught me more than I thought it could.

What has your toddler taught you lately?

 

Big Girl Bed

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At 2 1/2 Cora is still in her crib.  We asked her pediatrician at her last appointment when she thought the best time to move her would be.  She said every kiddo is different and you’ll just know when it is time but a lot of kids are around the age of three or when a sibling comes along to kick them out.  Since the sibling thing isn’t true for us then we figured we would just let her tell us one day.  She has never made a move to climb out and really loves her crib so we just let it be.

We have occasionally asked her if she would like a big girl bed like her friends or her cousin and she always answered, no, I am fine with my crib.  We watched my nephew seamlessly go to a toddler bed a few months ago so we figured it would be simple when the day came.

Fast forward to our recent night of sleepless hell due to nightmares.  Top that with this weird habit she has with needing her feet perfectly covered at night.  Both things will wake her and Lord help me I’ll just assume I’m never sleeping through the night again.  Cora sleeps with 200 blankets but not a true comforter that fits her crib.  I got to thinking that maybe ordering her big girl bedding and transitioning her crib to the toddler stage would be a good idea.  Maybe it would solve some sort of problem.  Yes, I was reaching for anything.

So we ordered the bedding, made a big damn deal of it all, waited for the weekend and Daddy took down the front rail and put up the toddler railing.  Wonderful! She was pumped.  She talked about how she could get in and out of her crib by herself. She played in her room all day, taking her baby dolls in and out of her bed.  Then nap time rolled around.  Normally we stick her in her crib and that is that, she sleeps.  Not this time. Crying for an hour took place until I sat on the floor, in her room, and she finally fell asleep. Then bed time came around.  Bath, we read books, she talked excitedly about her big girl bed and then we laid her down and walked out.  Crying, tantrums, whining, pleading, negotiating, bribing, wine…..Three fucking hours later this child stood in the middle of her room and demanded that daddy put her crib railing back.  So 10:30 at night he put that thing back together and she fell asleep 3 minutes later.

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The next morning she asked to call daddy and the conversation went like this.  Daddy can you come home and put my big girl bed back up?

I can’t even with this kid.

We told her she has to wait two weeks before we try again.  I’ll let you know how that one goes.  On the positive side, the big girl bedding is a huge hit.

What is the game plan in your household for a crib to toddler bed transition?

The Great Binky Take Away

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Before we left for Aruba, the binky attachment was at an all time high.  We told Cora that when we returned, the binky was going to go bye-bye. We talked about how her friends don’t have binkies and she was a big girl now.  She basically gave zero shits about those reasoning’s and every time we face timed her from Aruba she waved around her binky, taunting us.

I will say, my husband was much more adamant about getting rid of it than I was.  I’m not sure why, it has just never stressed me out.  It wasn’t in her mouth 24/7 so it didn’t bother me.  Never the less we came back and operation take away binky was in full force, with zero plan of how to go about it.  We heard every plan in the book from other parents and all I knew was that cold turkey was not going to be our method.  We decided to narrow it back down to nap time and bedtime.  While there were some meltdowns, especially in the car, she was fine with it.  Within a couple of days she quit asking for it at nap time and completely didn’t have it at daycare.  Within one week we were down to just bedtime and that is where we currently stand.  There has been a few nights she forgot to ask for it and she went to bed without it.  She comes out every morning, sets it on the counter and goes about her day, never asking for it.

We are really at this point where I think she will just forget it one night and that will be that.  Why are we not pushing to just take away night binky? We are having some sleep issues again.  Mainly, nightmares. She goes to sleep fine each night and for naps.  It is the middle of the night when she wakes up screaming and I have to go in and cover her back up, rub her back for a few seconds and that is it.  If the binky helps get her back to sleep when we are doing this upwards of 5 times a night then I really don’t care if she still has it.  It is all about sanity.

How is operation not binky in your household?  I have to say, I thought the fight would have been stronger with her but I think giving her the heads up was the best plan.

Baby Brother

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I’ve mentioned before that part of my coming around to the possibility of having another baby has a lot to do with Cora wanting one.  Since our big baby talk, it is like she KNOWS something we don’t.  This kid has been relentless, on a daily basis, asking about a baby brother.  Not sister, brother.  Everyone at daycare has new baby sisters, that she loves, but she is foot down, dead set on this baby brother talk.

In Target- Me: Do we need anything else while we are here? Cora: A baby brother.

Rocking her to sleep- Cora: I just miss my baby brother, bring him here. Me: Did you leave him behind? Cora: Yes.

With her friends- Cora: I will get baby brother. Me: Not pregnant dude, quit telling people that.

Driving in car- Cora: Uh baby brother at home yet? Me: Not the way it works.

Potty time- Me: Did you do a pee pee yet? Cora: Where baby brother?

I wish I was exaggerating but it is just now the running joke because I don’t know what else to say or do. She tells everyone about him.  I have a lot of explaining to do on a regular basis.  For the record-not pregnant, not trying.

 

 

Removing the Noise

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The husband and I just returned from 7 days in Aruba at an all-inclusive resort.  Some shake their heads at me for all-inclusive but to me it means I don’t pick up a damn thing in my room, I don’t worry about money, I don’t pay for anything, I can fall asleep in the middle of my rum punch and don’t care, I can eat all I want without making it or cleaning up dishes.  Basically I can shed the mom clothing for a while and just be.

I think we can all learn from any vacation if we really want to.  This vacation I would say I learned that I need to start getting better about removing the noise in my life. As we flew further away from our home and closer to a few days of paradise, I could feel my body relax, my stress go away and my brain empty of all the chaos it had been holding.  I’ve had a lot of friends use me as a sounding board lately, which I’m cool with but sometimes it can make yourself feel heavy.  Work was to a breaking point.  The winter blues were becoming suffocating and I felt like the I couldn’t get my brain to stop.

Once we landed there was nothing I could do about any of it.  I had to let it all go.  Power down.  Restart.  Whatever you want to call it.  I had to find my way back to a better place and that we did.

I was no longer the Mom in yoga pants, the supportive friend, the co-worker, the chef worried about what to make for dinner, the maid worried about the laundry and beds being made, the late person to yoga class, or the one balancing everyone’s schedules.  I was just a wife with my husband.  I had no worries for 7 days except to make sure I put on more sunscreen.  I could feel sexy again, I could eat my meal all at once, I could ignore my phone, I could sleep or not sleep, we could have sex every day,  drink more or not, and I could just sit next to my husband and watch the sunset at night with no place else to be.

I emptied the noise from my head.

I emptied the chaos.

I lifted the weights from my shoulders.

I fell more in love with my husband.

I came back feeling more whole.

We do all these things, every year, when we take a trip.  Unfortunately life gears back up and the months float by and the noise fills my brain again.  Which is actually okay because that means we are living.  We are doing the roller coaster ride of life and this is all part of it. I can find myself going back to that place when I need to though.  Finding a few minutes of bliss in memories and that makes it all worth it.

A start to my day

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My work day starts with a 4:30am alarm. Pending the hubs alarm, it could be as early as 3:30am.  I stare at the alarm clock and will myself out of bed, always wondering why the hell the coffee can’t come to me. I return to bed with said coffee and stare at the morning news.  I am not one that can just jump out of bed and start functioning.  Then it is shower, getting dressed, making my breakfast, picking up things as I go, packing Cora for daycare, me for work, wake said child, and fight her to do basically anything because I think she also needs coffee.  Because it is the god damn North Pole outside so we start the truck, did I feed the dog yet? Load the truck, bundle ourselves, load up, and head to daycare.  After drop off I can sometimes make a coffee stop before my 30-45 minute commute, depending on traffic. At my desk to start my day at 8am.

I only do this three days a week.  Much easier than most people and the same routine happening across the country.  A fourth day is similar but it is to get the dog to daycare and Cora to swim lessons in the city.  Not near as stressful.

The world has finally frozen over here and my husband gets a chance to take some days off, today being the first.  I did my routine around him as he watched and got in the way more than anything, then I headed out the door.

He called me, at work, at 8:03am to tell me this:

Did you make it to work? You know, I’m out the door before you 98% of the time and I had no idea how much work it takes to get you and Cora out the door.  All that before your work day has truly started.  I wake up, put my pants on and walk out the door.  No wonder you are tired by the time you hit work.  Thanks for kicking ass at that. I’m sorry I take that for granted.

I sat back in my desk chair and about started crying. That man helps, he helps a ton, he does his fair share in the parenting and household department that I know most women would kill for.  However, the truth is, he isn’t home much to be able to do it.  He thanks me, I know he appreciates what I do and he does often acknowledge me but for some reason, this acknowledgement blew me away.

This was the first time he truly observed, recognized and it all sunk in.  He can say, thanks for making dinner but he didn’t see the true task it took to make dinner. He knows I get up and get out the door in the morning but he doesn’t know how much effort it takes some mornings.  This morning was fairly smooth too.

You, as a mother, are reading this, nodding your head, right there with me.  Power to the mammas…

BUT

Hey, two-way street, I have no idea how labor intensive and crazy his job is.  I mean, I know, but I don’t stand there and witness every move all day.  I can imagine, just as he can but that is really all we can do most of the time.  He is also the one normally getting out of bed an hour before me, going out in the crazy heat or freezing temps and working 15 hour days.  I thank him often for how hard he works for us but unless I walk a mile in his shoes…..

Here’s the thing, it is easy to stand in your own corners and try to one up your partner on who does more, or better, or harder or what the hell else there is to bitch about but isn’t that exhausting after we are already exhausted? I think if a lot of spouses quit competing with one another they would get a lot more done as a team, as parents.  So I urge you today to go home and thank your significant other.  Truly tell them that your are grateful and work towards THAT each day instead of a tally list.  See how far you get.