Saturday, November 28, 2009

Watching Joy

I love the small moments in life when I have the opportunity to sit back and watch joy happen. Thanksgiving 2009 was one of these times. The hubs oldest sister was in town with her hubbylove (UB), and teen son; they all stayed with us for three nights. As a mother I often worry the rest of the world will never see just how wonderful my kids are. I see and love things in them I want to shout out my front door and ensure the rest of the world gets to enjoy as well; so it is no wonder I get all tittlie-winked when I see others really enjoying my children. I get equally happy when I see my children fall more and more in love with their family (who live all too far away).

Rock Star was simply enamored with Cuz-J, who was more gracious and loving than you could imagine a young man of 17 to be. My heart busted wide open every time I saw my baby boy looking starry eyed at his older cousin in complete awe. They cuddled on the couch (you know, in that wrestling, tickle fest boy way), played games, laughed-laughed-laughed, and told many butt and poop jokes. Lovely Aunt, who has one of the most patient and genuinely loving approaches with my children I have ever seen, had visible happiness when interacting with my beb├ęs. UB, without prompting played fire-station with the greatest of detail for far longer than most would have held out with Rock Star and, laughed himself close to tears watching Itty Bitty get her grove on.

The holiday’s bring out a heightened desire to make others feel comfortable and restful in my home. I yearn to give the gift of feeling loved and valued; my kids make this all too easy. I loved sitting back and watching them with their family - being loved and loving back. Rock Star was devastated when Lovely Aunt, UB and Cuz-J left this morning. Me too. Our time together went all too fast, as it always does. Last year when Itty Bitty was born Lovely Aunt came and spent a couple of weeks prior to Thanksgiving taking care of us. As this year’s visit came to an end, I found myself wanting to keep her for a few more weeks. Family feels good. Really Good.

I am so grateful my children will know and experience uninhibited familial love. I look forward to watching this joy for years to come.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Okay, I am convinced, kids really do change EVERYTHING

Growing up Thanksgiving was the Holiday in our family. Not Christmas or Easter but Thanksgiving. This was the day that no matter who was fighting, sick, lived out of town or had really, really pissed off in-laws , everyone and I mean everyone had their butts at the turkey table. Traditions were staunch: Grandmas chocolate covered cherries, orange jell-o with whip cream, olives and more olives, the “goodie” table, women gossiping, men shooting guns, leftovers being pulled out only minutes after the last dish was washed and of course a game of Yatzee over several bottles of wine to end the day. So given my great love for Thanksgiving I have always been highly sensitive to the Christmas season staring before Thanksgiving is over. Two things in particular drive me up a freaking wall: Christmas tree’s up before the Friday after Thanksgiving and that damn Christmas music that starts the day after Halloween.

However…as the commercial says, Children change EVERYTHING.

We were in the car about two weeks ago and Rock Star heard Springsteen’s version of Santa Clause is Coming to Town and went Ape Shit. We rocked out booties off. Funny thing it was a super warm day and we had the sunroof open and the windows down and I thought how bizarre this was (especially for a girl who grew up in Michigan when winter starts about August 12). Ever since that first song, the kids go bananas in the car when I turn on the Christmas station. I literally used to come out of my skin this time of year hearing Christmas songs and now, because my kids are full of giggles and excitement, I find myself singing my guts out with sheer joy. And then there is today. November 22, FOUR days BEFORE Thanksgiving, and my family is putting up the Christmas tree and the outside lights. Yep. I am a goner. The begging for decorations and lights has been relentless since the first Halloween light was spotted mid-October, I give. I happily give as my heart now clings to the joy of my kids versus the memories of my own childhood. Times are a changin’ my friends.

So , A Very Merry Christmas To All! Oh yeah, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Big 5

We all have them. Yes, I am talking about our greatest parenting fears. Okay, the obvious things about our children being stricken with illness or pained emotionally are given. I am talking about those things that we know will humiliate and bring us to our parenting knees. Those things that you have seen happen to other mothers and think, “Oh thank god that did not just happen to me!” Then we walk away tucking the memory of the observed humiliation in our mommy pocket leaving it there to fester and inevitably cause loss of sleep. Like with any psychological issue, getting it out in the open allows the healing to begin. So, in an effort to rid myself of the worry and pain I herby confess my big 5:
5. Taking one of my babies into the pediatrician for a check-up and realize (upon it being discovered by the ped) I missed a hunk of their lunch which is still wedged in a body part.
4. Being outed by kids as a Democrat to my extremely staunch Republican in-laws which I have successfully hid for going on 13 years. Save the judgment my fellow Dem’s, you have not met these people.
3. Being called out in public by your kid as the distributor of the fart smell every adult in the room is trying to pretend isn’t there.
2. Being reminded in the grocery store by your three year old that you are out of beer/wine. (This one perhaps I should take off the list as it actually has happened already. My son saw a wine display and started SHOUTING, “Mom! Look at all those mommy beers! You need to buy some of those because you need them.” Well, it was one of my favorite wines, and it was on sale so I stocked up…
1. “Mom! Look at that fat (or any other politically incorrect term) person! Why are they so fat?” Yep. This was lunch at Panera yesterday. Sigh.

Funny thing, although I have experienced, and survived a few of these they still remain on my list. I can only hope that if you suffer through it with one child the universe will not allow it to happen to me again. I am kidding myself aren’t I?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The person who gave my kids germs can suck it!

Err….oh how I want to hunt you down and make YOU go three days without sleep, look into the puffy, watery little eyes of a body ravaged with snot, aches, fever and diarrhea. I want you to know because you were selfish and needed to run your errands and touch everything in the grocery store without keeping your hands clean you have given my babies days and days of shit. You are a bad, bad person. My four year old without fail sneezes and coughs into his elbow and then sanitizes his hand and said elbow…it’s not that hard dumbass! And furthermore, keep your (dumb)ass home!

I do not know who you are, what you look like, or what your exact story is and quite frankly I don’t give a shit. I just want to kick you in the shins really hard (unfortunately for me I think I am too tired to have enough oomph in my kick to hurt you) and I want my babies to be able to sleep and eat and I want a freaking NAP!

Whoever you are – you suck.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Another place to find me...

You can now also find me blogging here at Mom2Mom Kansas City. I am Mamacomedy
(My first post is a repeat of something already here at Living For The Laugh).

Confessions of an OPM

Hello. My name is Amy and I am an Over-Protective Mama (otherwise known as OPM). I also will introduce you to the hubs, who is an OPD (yes that would be Over-Protective Daddy). We fully acknowledge this, and for the record have no plans to change.

When Rock Star was just a baby and we found ourselves falling in sync with the rhythm of his spirit, his needs, likes and dislikes and like all new parents, were receiving gobs and gobs of advice. We made the decision to live by the philosophy “if it works for our family, then we do it.” At the time we had a wonderful pediatrician who fully supported this practice and often told us, “You are the expert on your child. Trust your instinct and do what you know your baby needs.” Her support and encouragement to be the parents our child needed, not the parents others thought we should be was more of a gift than we could have hoped for.

Our Rock Star is now four and Itty Bitty twelve months and we still practice this philosophy. We know what our children need. Their needs can vary daily, even hourly. Some nights we have little ones who need us to rock them to sleep or need to sleep with us. Some mornings they need an hour or so of snuggling and reading and others they want breakfast and to be on the go within seconds. Some days there is an increased need for hugs and closeness and others they are brave little beings venturing out exploring new territory. But regardless of what it is they need, my job is to be present for them. Whether it is to scoop them up in my arms or to watch over them from a distance, Mama is there.

As Rock Star gets older I am surprised at how many people find it odd, or even detrimental to his development, that I remain near and available to him. I am not a believer in shoving my kids off in to the world with the expectation that they will learn how the world works. I am an educated, capable, grown woman and I often find the world to be harsh and confusing. Why would I expect my child to go it alone? Here are the common questions/statements (actually they are often more like accusations) I get about being an OPM:

You can’t always rush in to save your kids.
OPM Response: Watch me.

How will they learn to deal with things if you are always around?
OPM Response: First, there are other ways to learn than from fear and failure. Second, is it not the inherent job of a parent to be the one to teach and guide? I choose to use example. My kids can’t see my example if I am not around.

Your kids will never want to leave you.
OPM Response: If I am lucky.

You will raise needy and dependent kids.
OPM Response: No, I am raising children who know they can depend upon, trust, and take comfort in their parents. This will give them confidence and reassurance to explore and venture out into their world because they know Daddy and Mama are always here to come back to if needed.

There are enough lessons the world will teach my kids by the sheer nature of life. They will no doubt be hurt, confused, and frustrated over the years. I figure why not alleviate what I can? Contrary to what some think, my children do not live in a bubble (but that is only because I have yet to find one on eBay), they are out there living and learning but they are, and always will be, doing it with Mama lurking nearby just in case they need me.

For those of you who read my editorials in the Pointe, sorry for the duplicate. I am tired and busy!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Birthday

Tomorrow my Itty Bitty is turning one year old. I found myself feeling rather emotional today as I thought about what we were going through a year ago and how desperate I was to just get my baby girl in my arms safely.

For those of you who do not know me personally, you are more than likely not aware of our journey to get Itty Bitty here. I was a high risk pregnancy with her. Every day I was able to keep her growing inside me was a gift. In addition to the concern about carrying her I lost my mother and best friend to cancer as well as my paternal grandmother all within 5 weeks of each other while I was in my 5th and 6th months. This time became one of those “practice what you preach” moments. I always said I would do anything for my children. Well, I had to do everything I could to hang on to Itty Bitty during these months. I had to actively make the decision not to think about or grieve my losses so I would not raise my stress/anxiety level and endanger my daughter. This was especially difficult being on bed rest for 5 out of 9 months of pregnancy, when there is little to do but think...

But think I did. I thought about what her eyes would look like, what her laugh would sound like, her smell, I sat in the rocking chair in her room and talked and sang to her as we rocked together. The night before she was delivered I took a long bath and cried as I could not believe we had made it to 36 weeks. She was safe and she would be entering this world a healthy 6ish pound baby within 12 hours.

Tonight, exactly one year later, I took another long bath. This time with my baby girl laughing and splashing with me. She is everything, and more, I dreamt of during those long and difficult months. She is a snuggler and a lover. She has a belly laugh that would put any 200 pound man to shame. She will eat anything that isn’t nailed down, including her brothers toes. She has the longest eye lashes of any baby I have ever seen and is the biggest dare devil imaginable. She is insistent on keeping up with Rock Star at all cost, nothing is too scary or out of her realm of ability in her mind. I am so excited to watch her grow and become a woman, who I know is going to blow my freaking mind with her extraordinary accomplishments. She makes my heart sore every day, not just because her birth and life is a miracle, but because of who she is.

Happy Birthday my lovely Itty Bitty. Mommy loves you deeply, wildly and unconditionally forever.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

This post may be a complete waste of your time to read...

Still unpacking. Still...sigh.
I am the type of person who enjoys going ball to the walls on a project and working like a dog until it is done and then chilling out. Ongoing projects drive me nuts. I want it all done NOW! I have a hard time relaxing when there are looming to-do's and I love to relax so.....well, I am feeling robbed. I then wonder, WTF and I doing on the computer when there is work to be done? Oh yeah, it is a chance to sit.

Looking forward to Must See NBC TV and take-out tonight. Woo-Hoo! Last night I was so tired I just drank my dinner after the kids were in bed, and I am not talking about a protien shake.

Rock Star is SO rocking out upstairs right now it is HILARIOUS! Smokin in the boyz room, Smokin in the boyz room...teacher don't you fill me up with your rules, cuz everybody knows that smokin ain't allowed school....

I love it. I am also so going to pay for thinking this is funny later! HA. Oh well. Just got a glimpes of Itty Bitty and she also loves it. She is in her room playing and rocking back and forth humming as she listens. I need to make her a groupie tee-shirt to match her brothers that says, "Rock Star"

Also been having totally wacky dreams lately. In the last few nights I have: found a dead person in my basement, had an afair with an Indian man (no one I actually knew), took my family on a hike in a jungle where we got lost up until we found the concession stand and I kept loosing Rock Star in the hallways of a school (okay that one is a little obvious...but the others!?) Need to drink more, or maybe less...can't tell just yet.

Bored yet? You seriously read this to the end!? Gag. I am not going to even edit it as I am sure it is so boring, so don't bother to point out any spelling errors.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Site Under Construction

Bare with me while I make more changes...

A Lonely, but Happy Place to Parent

I am a believer. I believe in the power of the Mama Gut. I have mentally and emotionally believed in it always, conceptually anyway. But the last few weeks I have been challenged to put my trust and belief system into action. It is more difficult than I had imagined.
When your children are babies you get away with being viewed as overprotective. People expect it, find it silly and cute. They snicker and say that you will outgrow it soon and certainly by baby number two. To some degree this may be true, but I also think we give up on our mommy gut and intuition all too soon. I for one have found I have allowed myself to be overly influenced into the idea that my children need to be shoved out into the world in order to be socialized. Unfortunately being socialized apparently also means being afraid, intimidated and insecure. My kids are young, really young. Too young to be forced into feeling afraid about being away from Mama for sure. I believe children need require constant reassurance in the care and protection of their parents for as long as they need it; not for as long as we think they need it. It is easy parenting to tell yourself that your kids need to be socialized and therefore shoved out into the world away from you. It is easy to tell yourself that your kids benefit from a babysitter while you go out and recharge your batteries. It is hard to make the choice to remain available to the emotional and physical needs of your children 24/7. But interestingly enough, I am finding it is more difficult dealing with the judgment of others on this type of parenting that it is to actually practice it.

I have consistently found that in the quiet of our home, gentle parenting works wonderful with our children. None of us feel good, benefit or have lasting effects with harsh, domineering parenting. My kids respond to hugs and time-ins far more than shouting and time-outs. I find a time-out to say, “You were bad, made a bad choice and therefore I do not want you near me. Go away.” Now here is the thing. Yes, I understand that in “real life” peers and other adults may have this reaction to my kids. Anyone of us in the course of decision making run the risk of making a choice that others do not like and therefore will choose to not be in your company. That is a natural consequence. I as a parent do not need to turn my back on my child in order for them to learn this life lesson. Rather, I need to give them an example of gentle, loving care; of treating others with kindness and respect.

I find the concept that the world is a harsh place with people who will be displeased with you if you do not -fill in the blank- to be the wrong focus from which to make our parenting choices. To “train” our children to live and survive in a harsh world rather than give them the love and security they need to enter into it believing they can be kind and generous and make a difference (rather than have the skills to look out for number one) is the approach I wish to take. And let me say, it is not a popular one. Parenting this way means keeping your children close at all times. Letting them have access to you whenever they need it (yes this means at night and during your favorite TV show and phone calls), giving hugs and reassurance rather than punishment, and most importantly being in sync with your child to know what they are feeling so you can deal with the issue they are often unable to communicate. Children are not born manipulative so the idea of spoiling your children with your love, reassurance and attention is nuts in my opinion. We teach children to be manipulative by withholding what they need until they do what we want.

Research has proven that children who are the recipients of Attachment Parenting are more secure, outgoing and confident than those who are not. To read more on this from an actual expert, see what Dr. Sears has to say. You can also read more about Attachment Parenting here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I Shalt Never...Well, Maybe Just This One Thing

I love to laugh at myself when I think of all the "My Children Will Never" comments I made before having them. I had quite a list:

My kids will never...
1. Eat at McDonalds before they are five
2. Watch TV before 4pm
3. Get away with a temper tantrum in public
4. Force me to bribe them with candy or toys
5. Regularly sleep with us simply because they want to (excluding illness or the unique kid stuff)

I could go on but I would start to get a Mommy complex.
I was reminded harshly of number 2 on my list this week when, while moving, we were without cable. I have had glamorous thoughts over the last year and have told mi prima I am pulling the TV plug about twice a month. I really, really planned to not order it when we move to the new house. But then....

well....lets just say I was humbled. I was also freaking tired! When Cable Guy finally plugged us in yesterday my actual words were; "Ah! Dora, my sweet little parenting partner! I have missed you!" I then looked at Rock Star and Itty Bitty and there they sat, like two little coma patients (with their eyes open) starring glazy eyed at the TV as if they had just walked out of The Little House on the Prairie having never seen the magic box before. And then it was given to me, as if it were a gift from above: Quiet. Stillness. Time.


Rock Star genuinely believes I have Super Powers. Oh little does he know I get them from the Spout PBS gods.
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