The Magic Word

We begin drilling this habit into our children even before they can talk.  “What do you say?” We ask them, expecting this magic word before we will hand over whatever it is they are asking for.  We lead them to believe that the use of this one word will magically grant them whatever it is they desire.  At the drop of one simple word, they will receive anything and everything that they ask for.

Please

Such a simple word, even for little unpracticed tongues.  But little did you know that as a parent, teaching this delightful and polite word would eventually and continuously turn against you…

Especially as they enter toddler-hood, your little one will start to figure out all the ways that they can manipulate you.  That sweet smile, the ear-piercing scream in the middle of the grocery store, or the one word that you taught them…”please”.  You delight the first time your little one uses the word when asked “what do you say”.  “pease!” They answer, and clapping and acknowledgement ensues this good deed that they have finally accomplished.  Positive enforcement continues as each time they use this magical word they are showered with treats, toys, and often the items they need to survive…like food and drink.  Manners, right?  Please and Thank You’s…right?

That’s all great, until you’re standing in the middle of Target and your toddler see’s their favorite treat or toy.  After searching their brain for the magic word – that you will ask them to say first before you hand over their item – they, so very politely, ask “please?” as they point towards that coveted thing.    Heaven forbid that be the first time you actually say “NO” to their plea…watch out Mama cuz here comes the tantrum!

And can you really blame them? You are the one that taught them this magical word.  The one word that grants them anything and everything at the drop of one syllable.  And as you find yourself fighting with a screaming toddler in the middle of the candy isle, you will suddenly hate this word with a passion!  Damn you, manners!  Ahh, the hipocracy of parenthood.  You must say “please” to get this item, and 99% of the time you use this word, it will be magic.  But that 1% of the time, it will send a horrible mixed message to your poor little toddler who thought they had it all figure out…!

And speaking of that 99%…you will find yourself laughing so hard you’ll almost pee yourself when they are throwing a giant fit, wailing and still managing to say “pleeeeeease”, causing you to give in, once more, to their very pathetic and strangely adorable tantrum.

If only they could ask us to Please stop being hypocrites, as it can be very confusing! 🙂

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Choose your battles…aka why I let my little one run around with a screwdriver

Don’t run with scissors

The age-old saying.  Obviously some logic to it.  Sharp edges + potential for tripping = imminent injury.  Well, in the last 20+ months one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned for motherhood is choosing my battles with my little spitfire.

J’s always been a hands-on boy.  All boy.  He wants to get into everything…e.v.e.r.y.thing. And he wants to do it all on his own.  Don’t dare try to open his string cheese for him, or you will then have a tantrum on your hands.  It doesn’t matter if he’s actually capable of doing the task itself, it’s the principal.  He will do it. Period.

I don’t remember exactly when J developed his attachment to screwdrivers.  He loves all tools really, and loves to “help” his Dada with projects around the house.  But at some point he almost constantly asked for a screwdriver – or an “ee ewww” as we now call it.  Doesn’t matter how big, which one, or what kind.  But more often than not, he will ask for one.  And if you want to avoid a huge fit, you may as well just give in and give him one.  So yes, I let my 20 month old mini-tasmanian devil walk, run, jog around the house with an ee-ewww.  It has a pointy end and could certainly do him harm in he were to fall into it or onto it…I try not to think about that part and instead focus on the fact that he knows what that ee-ewww is for and he is content with trying to find every screw around the whole house to fit his ee-ewww into.  Real world skill, ya know.

#2 best thing I’ve learned about almost-toddlers is that giving realistic choices can help save not only time but your sanity as it decreases those oh-so-fun tantrums by a noticeable amount.  “Do you want to open your cheese, or do you want help?”  gives J the option of trying it himself as he so loves to do, or asking for help to get it started – thus avoiding the tantrum (usually).  Plus it gives these power-loving little ones the sense that they actually have the power.  It was their choice after all that they wanted yogurt for breakfast instead of oatmeal…they don’t realize then that they didn’t have the choice of a chocolate donut…which they would fight tooth and nail for it you didn’t give them two very specific items to choose from.

Then there are times when you give choices first and there’s still a tantrum.  A very particular little boy (or girl) will get what he wants come hell or high water, so sometimes it’s just not worth the 20 minute fight when you’ll end up giving in before the day is through.  Yes, there are the things that you will stick to – no running in the street, for example.  But with a toddler I try to remember that while I want to keep him safe and teach him what is right/wrong, I also don’t want to always be saying “NO”.  I want him to have as many experiences as he can.  And if he wants to go around the house playing Mr. Fix-it, than I’m certainly not going to stop him.  He is a sponge and he’s trying to absorb the world around him.  He’s always been hands-on, and I will nurture that learning style to the best of my ability.

Shhh! Here’s the *painful* truth about Pregnancy, Labor, Delivery & Beyond

If you have never been pregnant before, you have no idea what to expect when your journey to parenthood beings.  Even if you’ve had friends or siblings that have gone though it all, and no matter how much they share with you, you just don’t know what to expect.  No two experiences are the same, even for one woman.  And chances are that if your BFF had one experience, yours will be exactly the opposite.  These are the things I wish I’d been warned about when I got pregnant with my first…and only after my second did I really see how many things aren’t shared with mama’s-to-be…and probably for good reason…or the reasons below…

1. Pregnancy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Sorry to break it to you ladies, but pregnancy can really suck.  Yes, yes, it is a one-of-a-kind experience and there are really amazing things about growing another person.  But seriously – the morning sickness, back aches, heartburn, sciatica, struggle to find a comfortable position (ever) and loss of bladder control…if you can find the beauty in those things, I envy you.  Pregnancy lasts 9 months.  You’ll spend the first 2-3 months dealing with exhaustion and morning sickness.  If you’re lucky you’ll get 2-3 months of fewer symptoms during the second trimester. Then, just when you’re finally enjoying the beauty of feeling your little one doing gymnastics in the small space between your boobs and your nether-region, you’ll enter into your third trimester.  Commence to wanting this demon child out as soon as possible.  Oh wait, I still have 3 months of this *awesome* torture.  yay?

2. You can’t prepare yourself for labor.  I don’t care how many lamaz classes you take, or how many breathing exercises you have memorized.  If you know anyone who’s actually stuck to their Birth Plan, give them a medal of honor.  Truth is, once those contractions start it all goes out the window.  Oh, and those Pain exercises they use to help show you how long contractions last and how much they’ll hurt…HAH!  It’s gonna hurt.  Like a bitch.  No wonder so many women opt for the epidural.

3.  Oh the mess.  You’ve never seen so many different bodily fluids suddenly make an appearance all at the same time, and in such grandiose quantities.  There’s no possible way to prepare for this.  Sorry!

4.  Nothing goes as planned.  If you plan on an epidural, beware that while it will take away the pain, it generally also slows labor and can cause other issues.  If you plan on a natural birth, you’ll be wishing you’d said a big HELL YES when they offered the epidural.  Good news here though, the pain does eventually reach a level where it doesn’t get any worse.  Hard to believe when you’re in the middle of pushing a watermelon out a hole the size of a donut…

5.  C-sections happen.  Don’t beat yourself up if you weren’t able to have a vaginal birth.  Focus on the happy, healthy little one that just changed your life forever.  Plus, if you get a C-section you’ve avoided the dreaded tearing or episiotomy…

6.  Take advantage of the few days in the hospital.  Everything changes the moment you get home.  Real life starts when there are dishes in the sink and piles of laundry right in front of you.  Enjoy the doting on you’ll get in the hospital for a few days before you go back to reality.  Plus, you get a TON of free shit – diapers, wipes, pads…anything that’s not cotton (blankets, sheets etc.) are yours for the taking.

7.  Write down your birth story.  After a few weeks, you won’t remember everything that happened that magical day.

8.  Pooping for the first time is worse than giving birth.  Sorry to break it to you, but this is the worst part of the whole process.  If you’re one of the lucky ones that the stool softeners actually work for, praise God.  The rest of us aren’t so lucky.  They won’t tell you before you leave that pooping for the first time will feel like you’re giving birth again…this time without any pain meds. Also, you may need to resort to some pretty gross methods to finally get some relief…just sayin’ you’ve been warned.

9.  Breastfeeding. It’s gonna hurt.  Accept the advice of the nurses at the hospital, your midwife, or lactation specialist so that you get the right latch.  It’s still going to take practice and time before it becomes second nature.  It will stop hurting after a few weeks, if you’re doing it right, so grin and bear it and it’ll totally be worth it.

10.  Your life will never be the same.  And you’re going to love it.  As soon as that little one is placed in your arms, it will all be worth it.  You’ll forget all of the pain and discomfort in the blink of an eye.  In the end, you’d do it again and again.

I know it all seems pretty…well, negative and horrible.  Sorry, I’m not going to sugar coat it.  But these are the things that no one told me, and I would rather know what I’m in for over the course of 9+ months.  I don’t see them as negative experiences though, if anything I try find the humor in the truth!

20 Things all second time Mama’s learn the second time around

20 Things second time Mama’s learn the second time around…

1.  You will worry how you can love two kiddo’s at the same time, the same amount

2.  As soon as your second (or third, or fourth) arrives, your heart will grow big enough to have enough love for each of your children.

3.  No birth, no labor is the same.

4.  Planning only goes so far, at some point you have to just go with the flow and trust it’ll all work out

5.  Your house will become baby land, overtaken by toys, diapers, blankets, baby gear, no matter how many times you clean it.  This is especially true with another kiddo in the house…

6.  You will wonder how you will do it all…

7.  Don’t forget to make time for your hubby…even if it’s just a kiss when you come or go

8.  It’s OK if it takes you a while to feel back to “normal”

9.  Breastfeeding the second time around can still be hard, painful, take adjustment before you get it right

10.  No two kiddo’s are the same…you’ll *almost* have to start from scratch…ALMOST

11.  Take advantage of any time you can have for just yourself.  A hot, quiet shower can do wonders to rejuvenate you.

12.  It’s OK to decline visitors until you are ready.  There will be plenty of time for everyone to meet new baby.

13.  You don’t have to be Super Mom.

14.  Look to other Mama’s for advice, support, and help.  Even if it’s just for encouragement or reinforcement.

15.  If you’re worried about your hubby finding you attractive after watching another human come out of you…don’t worry, your new “milk boobs” will take care of that!

16.  That being said…both you and your hubby will have forgotten just how ginormous your boobs will get when your milk comes in.

17.  As miserable as you were during the last days of pregnancy, you’ll almost instantaneously forget what it was like to be pregnant once that baby comes.

18.  You’ll also find yourself suddenly missing being pregnant…even if it kinda sucked most of the time – heartburn, morning sickness, nerve pain, sleeplessness etc.  all seem so insignificant now.

19.  Sleep deprivation. again. enough said.

20.  Labor really is the worst pain most easily forgotten.  In the middle of labor you swear you’ll never do this again…but a few days afterwards you’ll seriously consider doing it all over again.

❤ parenting love 🙂

A different birth, a different story…

On January 27th we were blessed with our sweet baby girl “C”.  As fast as the pregnancy went, and as quickly as J has grown into his 20 month self, it still baffles me how quickly this first week has gone by.  So far we are adjusting quite nicely to being a family of 4. J is already an awesome big brother – we never doubted this though.  But now for the birth story…

Since my labor with J was pretty quick, I suspected that C would also come along quite quick.  If only I’d know just how quick!  At my 39 week appointment I was already at 5cm and 90% effaced…we all thought she’d come any day at that point.  But just like her brother, she was right on time.  Born exactly on her due date.  At 1:30 am I started feeling contractions.  Much stronger than the many many you feel the closer you get to going into labor.  3 contractions and 15 minutes later I woke up the Hubby and called my Mom to head down the hill.  I swear J had a sense something was happening cuz he woke up shortly before my contractions started and by the time we left for the hospital 45 minutes later, he was wide awake and sitting on the couch with Dada until reinforcements arrived to stay with him.  It was quite funny though as I cussed and danced my way through each contraction…my sweet 20 month old sponge started trying to repeat my cuss words…whoops!

Luckily the hospital is only 10 minutes away – especially at 2am when you run all the red lights…ahem…By the time we got into our room in labor and delivery, I was at 8 cm.  Hubby and I had talked about not going with an epidural this time around.  Getting one with J had delayed everything by 12 hours…ugh.  We were not going to do that again!  And a few weeks ago I’d had a chat with my midwife about what I planned to do – epi or not – and she’d mentioned how once you’ve been through labor up to 8 or 9 cm the pain doesn’t get much worse through the end.  If you can just stick it out for a little longer, you’ll get through it all much quicker.  Something I wish I would have known the first time around, really.  Especially since my labors go so quickly. I also planned to do a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) with the hopes that Miss C would have a smaller head than her brother…  Anywho, we both laughed when they asked if I wanted an epi as I was nearing 9 cm.  Lo and behold, 5 minutes later I was ready to start pushing. Thankfully I flew through the pushing and only 1 1/2 hours after my contractions started I was holding my sweet girl.

She had been under stress during the quick labor and had already pooped, and we found out that the cord was tied in a knot around her ankle as well.  But here she was, healthy and perfect…and very punctual.

This labor was quite different from my first, but I wouldn’t expect them to be the same.  No two things are.  After a successful VBAC the complications set in…

They soon discovered that there was placenta left behind and although some of it was retrieved, an ultrasound later that morning showed that there was even more to go and get.  We had hoped to spend only 1 night at the hospital after a ” normal” birth, but no-can-do when you need a D&C under general anesthesia to clean out what was left behind.  Thankfully they did the ultrasound and the procedure and in the end, although I lost over a pint of blood, I finally was able to start recovering.  Still only 2 nights in the hospital compared to 3 after my C-section!

It still took a full week before I started feeling human again.  That much blood loss and I will be anemic for a while.  I get winded walking up the stairs, and the smallest chores are quite wearing. But C is nursing like a champ, J is adjusting nicely to his little sister, and Hubby has been great at keeping things in order in our new chaos.

I watched What To Expect When You’re Expecting a few days ago.  Although being a little postpartum played a part I’m sure, it was the perfect movie to watch as you come out of a pregnancy.  One of the few movies that shows the many, many different sides of birthing.  It’s never exactly as you planned or expected.  But in the end everything is just as it should be.

I am feeling very blessed to have a beautiful daughter, a sweet little boy, an amazing husband…and another birthing story to tell 🙂

Anxiety

The number of changes that will happen in the next 2-3 weeks seems abundant lately.  Any pregnant woman can tell you the level of anxiety as you near your due date.  The level and effect of that anxiety varies greatly, but I guarantee all Mama’s have it.  For me it’s wanting to get through the impending pain of labor and meet my sweet baby girl already.  Seems to me like the second time around, the end can’t come quick enough!  The “thrill” of being pregnant wears off a lot quicker after the first.  We mama’s know what’s comming…let’s just get er done already!

The level of anxiety I have when I realize that bith means our family will be growing by 1 more person, 1 more set of needs, 1 more little one to split our time and attention between…that’s where my anxiety level grows exponentially.  We have found our way as a family of 3 over the last 19 months with J.  He is our everything, the one we think about 24 hours a day starting the moment we wake up every day.  He is how we start our day, and how we end our day.  In  a way I think my anxiety stems from a piece of me wishing that he could be our one-and-only forever.  Of course, then I remember that we wanted him to have a sibling, that having a little sister will be amazing and bless him forever (and same for little C).  But in those few moments before rationality rules my thoughts, I find myself already missing the last 19 months when it was just our little family of 3.  J is lucky in that he will have been both an only child AND a sibling.  Little C won’t get to experiance the only-child-ness of this family.  She will be equally as lucky to have spent her whole life with a big brother, though.

J will also be starting school 2 days a week on Monday.  We went and did the walk-through and visited with his class last week, and he did about as I expected.  He loves other kiddos, he loved all the new toys and things to explore, but he cried off and on for the little while he was in there without me.  Being that I taught this same age of kiddos for years, this is almost textbook reaction for a kiddo that hasn’t been in childcare before.  Although as a parent, that isn’t as comforting as it maybe should be.  I almost lost it when I walked back in the room and he was tear stained and calling out for Mama.  I know a few days of rough transition and he’ll really benefit from having 2 full days a week where the focus is really all on him and getting to play.  Doesn’t mean I won’t be a wreck on Monday after I drop him off…

Funny how all these things were conscious choices the Hubs and I made – pregnancy, growing our family, putting J in school – and yet the anxiety still exists.  I know that everything will even out, find it’s way, become part of our normal routine.  It always does.  For now, we will count down the days till our little C joins us, we’ll give J extra love while he’s still the only little one we have, and we’ll embrace all that the new adventure of daycare will bring to J.

Your Daddy

My dearest children,

You are very lucky.  There are many lucky kids out there, but few as lucky as you.  You have so many people who love you, but one of the most important people is your Daddy.

Your Daddy loves you in a way that only a Daddy can.  Your Daddy will be your rock, your go-to-guy, the main man in your life.  He will be your best friend, your worst enemy and everything in between.  You will have days where he’s your favorite and days where you are mad at him.  There will be times you come crying to Mama, and many where you will run to Daddy with your tears.  Daddy will be your hero, the one you compare all other men in your life to.  Your one and only Daddy.

You will call him Dada, Dad, Daddy, Pop.  You’ll share your most important memories with him.  You’ll play catch in the yard, kick a ball around, ride on his shoulders, wwrestle in the living room, share your secrets with him.  You’ll look to him for advice.  Sometimes you’ll listen, sometimes you won’t.  When you’re older you’ll ask him about when you were young.  You’ll laugh at his jokes, you’ll giggle at his stories.

Your Daddy is a patient man.  He is strong when Mama needs a break.  Daddy can wrestle and play after a full day of work.  Even when he’s sick on the couch, if you come grab his hand he follows you to play.  He snuggles with you and kisses your little head.  He rocks you to sleep.  He makes you laugh and laugh.  He is silly, and you love it.

He will give you a bath and let you splash and splash.  He will play in the mud, let you play with the power tools, take you in the garage to let you help him.  He’ll let you sit in his lap while he plumbs the sink or fixes the house.  He will let you invade his personal bubble and not blink an eye.  He will love every second of it.

Your Daddy was ment to be a Dad.  He tells you he loves you, and even better he shows you how much every day.

I hope even on the days where you aren’t your Daddy’s biggest fan, that you will know how very loved and how very, very lucky you are to have Your Daddy. ♥