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.

 

 

 

These are the best days

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I remember when we were building our house, the day the carpet went in.  I was so excited to have carpet again as the place I had been living in was wall to wall wood floor, which gets old.  That night we went into the empty house, laid on the carpet, and watched Rebecca turn cartwheels, literally.  I was so excited to have a house, with soft carpet and the hubby and I talked about where we would put our first Christmas tree.  A random memory but one that stuck with me.

Fast forward to this past Friday night, laying on that same living room floor that was now layered with blankets.  Cora had the flu and our make shift floor bed seemed to be the best idea to handle all the puke.  She laid in between us, restlessly sleeping, so out of it, my husband snoring, the dog at our feet.  I was in and out of sleep waiting for the next round, staring at the lights on the Christmas tree, exactly where we said we would put it 4 1/2 years ago.  The house and world seemed perfectly dark and calm.

So much has happened, so much life in this house already.

Raising kids, I have had so many older people look at me, with nostalgia in their eyes, and say You are living the best days of your life.  Often my sleep deprived, busy, crazed self wonders how but for some reason, the other night, smelling of puke, I agreed.  These are the days we miss a family Christmas and watch movies on the couch with a toddler who normally never slows down.  These are the days that we pile next to the Christmas tree to sleep as a family.  These are the days that we determine who bathes the puke covered toddler and who scrubs down the puke covered crib while we laugh so we don’t cry.  All made even better when you finally sneak out as a couple, at the end of the long weekend, and catch those reservations for a nice dinner.  You sit down, take that first sip of wine, order a nice steak and your husband dashes to the bathroom because one of us had to be next for the flu.  It was all of these moments that forced me to pause a little bit and suddenly, I finally found a little bit of the holiday cheer I felt I had been missing this year. Can you imagine that is what it took?

These are all the moments that we will look back on and laugh.  The moments where you feel like you won’t make it to the end. The moments that keep you on the end of your rope.  But all these moments bring us closer together and continue our story as a family, as crazy as it may be.

I hope you are all finding your little moments and your holiday cheer, even if during the strangest times.

Cora’s Second Birthday

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Cora-

It has been two months since we have celebrated your second birthday but I knew I would get to your second birthday letter eventually.

We celebrated with a puppy themed birthday party, at our home, with 50 of your closest friends and family for 10 hours.  I say that jokingly because our house was stuffed to the brim with bodies, presents, children and most importantly a lot of fun and laughter, while it poured down rain outside.  Luckily, we could shove all of you kids in the bounce house, in the basement, to burn off some serious excitement.  You had a blast.

Look at us, we made it, two years.

You are no longer a babbling baby.  You are a little person with your own opinions, thoughts and ideas about life.  You talk full sentences which helps us know all those lovely opinions.  It also helps you sing along with the radio, which weirds me out how you know all the words.  You are so good at conveying your emotions though, either through signing or actual words.  Currently, if we ask why you are crying, you will say I just don’t know right now!  Cracks us up enough to make you laugh as well.

You still sleep with a binky and I really don’t care because I see that baby still tucked in her crib at night and soak it up.  You have been potty training on your own for several months now but lately decided to kick it up a notch and take it more seriously.  I’ve been letting you take the lead on that which has been nice. I don’t foresee too many more diapers in our future.

You absolutely love puppies and animals in general, which is why we spend a lot of time at the zoo.  You have also been obsessed with jumping.  We recently had to take down your trampoline for the winter but thankfully you have a bounce house to help feed your jumping habit.  The kids gym is another favorite place to go because not only can you jump there but you can swing off the rings into the pit.  I see bungee jumping in your future. The day you turned two, you moved out of your baby swim class and into your own toddler class where mamma no longer needs to get into the pool.  While I was thrilled about this, you were not, but you are such a fish.  You can get a few feet under water by yourself and can hold your back float, alone, for 5 seconds.  It is so impressive.

When you hit 18 months you finally let you grandparents hold you, without screaming.  In the past few months we have been able to leave you, at home, with a legit babysitter.  What I’m saying is, you are finally handling some people a bit better which eases mammas stress a little bit.  You are still quite picky about which people but I will take it.  In the long run I just think you are a really good judge of character!

One of the longest running issues with you has been that horrible car seat.  The day we turned you forward facing was life changing for us.  I don’t want to pull my hair out taking you somewhere now and you love that you can point out all the big trucks on the road.  You still really love your trucks, especially the ones on daddy’s job sites.

You officially have friends now and ask about them when you haven’t seen them in a while.  I’m going on record to say that Wade will one day take you to a high school dance and no one will be shocked.  You two love one another so much and your little mind exploded the day he came to our house to play.  It helps his Mom likes wine too:)

You are definitely my little side kick and are always up for an adventure.  You think your daddy hung the moon and will still fall asleep with him, in your rocker, which makes me a bit jealous.  You love your aunt and love when she gives you baths the most because she fills the tub way too high.  You are well-behaved but you do have an irish temper in there. Sometimes you put yourself in time-out because you know you need a second to sort your emotions out.

I said it when you turned 18 months but again, you are getting easier the older you get.  Some days we totally have our shit together and other days we are a hot mess and can’t get out the door.  At the end of every day though, Daddy and I are so very grateful for you.

Happy second birthday toot-toot.  We love you.