If one is pregnant, then both should be

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Over Labor Day weekend my SIL and brother announced they are pregnant with baby #2! My nephew was born 4 months after Cora was so it will be exciting to be graced with a new baby to sniff and snuggle in this family.  I knew they were having a bunch of sex trying for another baby so this wasn’t a shock to any of us.  It was nothing but happy news all around.

Fast forward a few weeks later and I’m learning that people suddenly think because her uterus is in full use, now mine should be as well?  As I tell other family and friends about the news, one of the first things they say is “Does that mean you are going to have another soon?”  “Are you guys trying?”  “Why haven’t you had another then?”

WHY?

Once more, WHY PEOPLE?

My answer each time has been something along the lines of, WINE. Or, her kid popped out sleeping through the night, mine still doesn’t.  JUST SAYIN.

I get everyone thought it was precious that we were pregnant the first time together but it isn’t a requirement for round two. I was perfectly happy to sit and sip my glass of wine, listening to how she is feeling this time around.

Look, we don’t know if we are done or not.  We have an idea of what our path to another baby might be but that could change. Either way, can’t my SIL have her moment?  I’m pretty sure it isn’t a competition here.

Honestly, it was hard to enjoy my nephew when he was little.  I had a stage-five clinger, non-sleeping child, while my nephew was a dream baby.  If my child was detached from me, I sure as hell didn’t have a desire to hold him.  I’m looking forward to sniffing this new one, in the Spring, right after I return from our adults trip to the islands, and then handing him or her right back to their parents!

Last call for the binky

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There are some things, I think we can all agree as parents, that are hard to let go of.  For me, it was the binky.  Cora has been attached to that thing from day one. I remember the day at the hospital when she first took to it and I told my husband that it had to be gone by the time she was three.  That was my cut off date.

Fast forward to last March where we cut the binky time down to just naps and then just bedtime without any real issue.  Her turning three was still forever away, in October, so I didn’t think much of it.  Slowly though, that nighttime habit became well, annoying.  She didn’t need it, we all knew that but suddenly I was having a hard time cutting her off from it.  I wasn’t sure why. Actually I did know why, it was the last “baby” thing she had.

Cora has been fully potty trained for some time now.  She sleeps in her toddler bed.  Bottles were long gone years ago.  She has conversations.  We have been working on preschool workbooks and writing her name.  Hell, the kid can make her own waffle and is a pro at doing her own laundry. For a kiddo who hit all the milestones early and acts much older than she is, I was holding on to the last little piece of my baby.

So we had a talk, Cora and I.  The binky had to go and bribery was our plan. I took her to Target to pick out a new baby doll that she wanted and explained that it had to replace the bink.  She was on board.  We printed out a picture of the bribery, I mean, baby doll and stuck it to the fridge.  Three nights.  That is how long she had to go without bink and then we could head back to Target and pick up that new doll.  She did it with zero questions, complaints or whining.  Doll purchased, binkies in trash and we moved on with life all before that three year mark.

It was bittersweet for me. Non kiddo people look at me like I’m nuts but we all have our thing.  That kid went and grew up on me, so fast, just like they say they do.  I think part of me struggles with not knowing if we will have that chance to do it all again.  Do we even want to do it again? Who knows?

How did you end your binky habit?

 

Where the story ends and I begin it

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For years now I have had people tell me I should write a book about our journey with Rebecca.  What we went through when we were younger, how everything progressed over the years, and where we have landed now. If nothing else, to show people how the system can really be, how tough it is, how things should change and how if affects a child.

Through out the years I just never felt like that timing was right.  I didn’t feel like the story had an ending yet, better yet, the happy ending that everyone would want to read.  The ending that you would think would come out of all of it. I think deep down, I was waiting for that ending myself.

Now, in the past two years, I feel the ending has come. My time raising her has ended, abruptly and sadly.  The ending that we had always hoped for, doesn’t exist.  Sure, life can change down the road, as she grows older and wiser perhaps we can reconnect on some level but it will never be the same.  Her continuing actions are creating a journey that will be complicated and rough for her. I can no longer help her with that.

When we first found out she was 14 and pregnant, I cried for days.  I was angry, hurt, sad and every other emotion you could imagine.  I’ve prayed for her, thought of her every day, and miss her terribly.  I saw her at my Grandmas funeral in May, she stood feet away staring at me, a person I no longer knew.  A person about to turn 16 and pregnant with her second child, unsure who the baby daddy was, the possible fathers standing all within the same vicinity of us.  Yes, I just wrote all that.  I stood in the back at the funeral, my last obligation to this family and walked away for good, not looking back.

The day I found out she was pregnant with her second child, I had just left our fertility specialist.  Yet, I didn’t cry, I didn’t get angry, I didn’t feel sad, I felt nothing.  I called my ex-husband and we spent a lot of time in silence, on the phone.  Neither knowing if there was anything left to say that hasn’t been said over the years.  I couldn’t work up any type of emotion and I thought seeing her there, that day at the funeral, would work up something and it didn’t.  The person I knew is gone and I can’t do anything about it.  I can’t do anything about how she is living, the fights between the baby daddy and her, the cops repeatedly being called on her, the possible drug use, etc.  The system did/does its thing, she made and makes choices, and the consequences are hers and the rest of the family that is involved.

My character in this story is no longer needed, it is nothing more than a bystander , watching a disaster unfold, from afar and I can’t begin to tell you how fucked up that feels.

Years ago, when I was seeing a therapist for my divorce, we talked a lot about this situation in particular.  I can honestly say I think I have talked it out and around in circles but I need something else.   I’m now feeling that need to maybe put it on paper. Write the story in its final way, as it is today.  I don’t know, honestly, what I am looking to gain from it, aside from the chance to tell my entire side.  The side that people didn’t want to hear over the years, the side that my family ignored, the side that very well, may come back up in court, thanks to some custody proceedings that are current.  Also, I’m tired of explaining it to people that ask or that I meet or that have questions.  I’m tired of starting from the beginning because the beginning was 16 years ago and fuck that is hard to cut down into a 2 minute conversation.

Her story continues without me but I still want to share our story.  My hope is that, God forbid, someone else finds themselves in the same journey, they know that others have walked it before them and they are not alone.  Because Lord knows, it is a damn lonely path.

Saying YES This Summer

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Summer has made me a bit MIA here lately and I can’t apologize for it.  There are times I wish I would sit down and write about more of the little things, for Cora’s sake.  For my sake as well, honestly.  That was one piece of advice that I wish I would have taken, getting a journal when Cora was born to write down the funny little moments and words to look back on.  Not like there isn’t still time, she isn’t going to college tomorrow:)

Anyways, summer.  We all come up on summer with this picture perfect endless season ahead of us.  Thinking there will be plenty of time to accomplish everything, chase fireflies, catch up with friends and soak in the pool…and then summer flies by and comes to a screeching halt, only half of the fun list accomplished.  Last summer I was adamant about soaking it all up with my kiddo.  This summer is no different but I’m adding more to it.

This has been my summer of saying yes and following through.  Kind of backwards, I know.  Back in early spring (who are we kidding, we didn’t have spring) back in winter, a friend suggested a girls trip with our kiddos.  I said yes and walked away knowing damn well the summer would get away from us.  I decided to not let that happen, I shot an email out, picked a weekend, booked hotel rooms and it happened.

It felt good too.  So I decided to continue it.

I’m not stuck at home with a baby.  My kid is old enough to enjoy more things. We have more flexibility.  My child will FINALLY stay with a sitter.  We have two solid sitters at that.

I just made it a habit when someone suggested something, I pulled up the calendar and made it happen.  Picked a day, confirmed and followed through.  From full trips to coffee dates, brunch, pool days, adult date nights, birthday weekends, yoga meet ups, and more.  I’m saying yes to seeing friends I haven’t seen in a long time, taking new adventures, not putting things off for another day or another summer.  I’m letting the laundry go longer, my house isn’t spotless, my dog could use a bath but I’ve laughed a lot, hugged a lot of friends, shared drinks, soaked in the sun, and more importantly created some fabulous memories.

I get it, this can be tough.  Normally I have had a yes problem that needed to turn into saying the word NO.  Especially around the holidays.  Why is that? But I’m being wise with my YES.  The mom’s that bash their husbands, I’ve completely ignored them.  The negative friend, I’m saying NO to.  The person who has a kid that Cora doesn’t like, saying NO to them too.  Why even go down that road? Not my monkey’s and not my circus.

The key here is while our summer is busy, it doesn’t feel chaotic or like it is wasting away.  It feels like I’m still soaking it all up but the goal is that by the end of summer I feel content with it all.  We are saying yes to the moments that feel right and I’m loving every minute of it.

How is your summer looking?

 

Your Husband isn’t Your Trash

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On Monday, during a play date at the kids gym, I hastily picked up my kid and left in a hurry.  I was done, over it.  I called my husband on the way home and announced I was officially done with these mothers, foot down.  Fuck it.  Also, I proclaimed my love to him and thanked him for everything he does, in case I hadn’t told him lately. Things he says to me in return on a regular basis, this is not a one way street.  Later that night I made sure we had a damn good round of sex. Two way street.

First, let me back up a few hours though…

I wasn’t even through the doors of the kids gym when one of the mothers started in on her “crap” husband.  I’ve had a hard enough time anyways with this particular mom but damn it, it is hard to find moms to have play dates with. She was bitching about her husband not letting her spend money, her husband not letting her get her kids a swing set, her husband not helping, her mother fucking husband and on and on and on and then came mother number 2 in the doors and then they fueled one another’s misery.

If only their husbands would…

do more dishes

help more with the kids

understand how exhausted they are

take them on more trips

make more money

work fewer hours

let them spend more money

look at them like Prince Harry looks at his new bride

…then maybe their marriage would be better.  Then maybe they would be happier. One even made their husband watch the royal wedding with her so maybe he would learn how to look at his wife better.

BUT

none of that really happens because did you hear their friend is pregnant and OH JUST YOU WAIT till she has that baby and her marriage starts going down the shitter.  Because that is what happens when the honeymoon is over and you have kids.

They look at me….what about your husband?

They suddenly realized I hadn’t been offering any husband hatred in front of our children or ya know, AT ALL.

Side note-Not one of these women has anything to bitch about, they have good husbands and this happens every time we get together.  This isn’t one rough day out of all the good days.

I then offered my advice/lost my shit a bit, being the only divorced one standing around, knowing that grass isn’t always greener but perhaps you should water your own fucking grass.  Perhaps you should be grateful and see your husband as your ride or die, your best friend, and your partner in life and parenting.  You know, what you try to portray on Facebook to everyone SHARON.  Maybe you should learn that marriage isn’t perfect and it takes work every day, not when their work hours slow down, not when the kids are grown, not when whatever phase you are in passes- EVERY DAY. And why should your husband put work into it if you aren’t willing? If you aren’t willing to speak up and say something or do something???  Why can’t these people also look in the mirror and take some responsibility in their own marriage because I know who had an affair in that marriage and who didn’t KAREN.

Here’s the thing, if you aren’t happy, fix it.  Talk to your spouse, find a therapist, find a compromise, read some helpful books, or SOMETHING.  If not, there is the door, try divorce, try separation but for the love, remember you are teaching your children what a marriage should look like.  I cannot stress that enough.

They shrugged their shoulders at me.  Rolled their damn eyes at me.  We can’t all be perfect like you, they say.

I will not be criticized for being proud of my husband and marriage. So I took my child and left.

Unfortunately this entire situation is more common in my circle of friends than I care to admit and the older we get, the more annoyed I get by it.  I have had friends go through some damn tough time in their marriages, MYSELF included and they vent to me, I support them (and their spouse), they support me (and my spouse), but I find that very different from husband bashing.  The things that women say about their husbands… I ask them if they would say to their mans face.  How would they feel if their husbands talked about them like that?

I’m not saying our marriage is perfect by any means but I won’t be put down for it. Life is short and I’m not going to go through it fighting against the main person who is suppose to be my rock through it all. Sure I yell at him for snoring, hitting his snooze button 5 times at 3am, dumping a bag of chips down his throat and I may need to vent about a tough time we are having but I refuse to take him for granted and bash him behind his back.  Nope.  Our marriage means more to me than that and damn it, I’m tired of being around people like that.

We are moving on in the play date department.  Anyone want to move to the Midwest and hang out with me on Monday’s? I’m open to conversations that include reality television and wine:)

 

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?