A picture is indeed worth a thousand words

May 21, 2014

I take a lot of pictures on my iPhone. I love the ability to quickly grab my phone and snap away at some of the fun moments of mommyhood. I think they tell a pretty interesting story. Sometimes, I post some of them to Facebook, but at other times, I don’t what to inundate my friends’ newsfeeds with photos of my little darlings. So, without further ado, here’s a photo blog of some everyday moments in life with my children.

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I love free events that provide entertainment for my children, so when I heard about Melrose’s DPW day, I didn’t delay! Gianna was thrilled to bounce in all of the bouncy houses provided and enjoyed sitting in plow trucks galore. She even had her first ambulance experience (one that did spike mommy’s blood pressure!).  Vinny was content as ever to sit in his stroller, just taking it all in while munching on his hummus sandwich.  Add sunshine and some good friends and you’ve got the makings of one glorious morning.

 

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A backyard, nice weather, children, and a new play structure give a few mommies the chance to sit at a patio set and enjoy a glass of wine. Yes, the kids started off having to learn to share and take turns on the swings, but eventually the toddlers ironed out the kinks and played together happily. And even Vinny “played” with the kiddos.

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Oh, just another milestone reached

April 29, 2014

I’ve hit a major milestone here and I’m not referring to Vinny’s first birthday. While that is truly a feat in itself (Come on,  I kept a baby alive for a whole year while teaching a toddler how to deal with the reality that she was no longer the only little person in the center of my universe. Not always easy, folks. Not always easy.), but I’m now at the end stages of weaning my little baby from nursing. And, Lordy, Lordy, am I experiencing emotional highs and lows.

On the one hand, I’m extremely pleased with myself. Since I finally disciplined myself to wean hardcore, and by that I mean no nursing all day long – not before naps or even bedtime and no bottles of milk either (he drinks from a sippy cup instead!), he’s actually taken to the change quite well.  In fact, after reading books and plopping him in the crib before bed last night, he only fussed for less than 2 minutes. I’m not exaggerating.

But on the other hand, I’m so sad to end this phase in my life. I LOVE nursing. I absolutely LOVE it. I know some people struggle with nursing, but luckily for me I did not have any major issues with it for either of my children. I love the emotional bonding. I love the convenience.  I just plain love it. Anyone who knows me knows I had no shame in nursing. I’d whip it out anywhere! And as my baby aged, I stopped using covers because a squirming baby underneath a nursing cover…let’s just say he wasn’t having it. Regardless, I’d say I still nursed as inconspicuously as possible!

That’s not to say there aren’t the downsides to it. I hate to pump; therefore, in the early stages the sole responsibility of sustenance for my baby came from me. And while that is kind of a really cool thing, it’s also very tiring! It also left me with feelings of great guilt if I ever wanted to go out of the house without him. I know this is unique to me, but I often wrestled with being able to enjoy myself without him nearby (I’m over that now!). Plus, I’m sure postpartum hormones played a role with those feelings.

What this milestone signals most of all is the end of his baby stage. He’s gaining his independence from me.  He doesn’t need me the same way he did as an infant, which I am extremely grateful and happy for, yet I mourn the change.  I am always reminded how fleeting these young years are for my kids. Sometimes they go by in a blurred frenzy – sleepless nights, first steps, new foods, coos and words. There are days when bedtime can’t come soon enough and the mess from the day remains until the next because I’m too tired to do anything but sit down for a moment of peace. But then there are the small everyday moments, like nursing a baby to sleep and holding him close to your heart, when I realize and know there’s no place I’d rather be.

So soon I’ll have my whole body back to myself again. It’s been awhile, but I don’t mind. In the span of my lifetime, it’s barely a blip. The whole cycle of birth, from conception, through pregnancy, and lactation is just an amazing reminder of God’s awe-inspiring grace.Image


The Torturous Threes

March 17, 2014

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When a black cat doesn’t just walk across the street in front of your car, but actually stops and stares at you as if wondering what he/she should do, take heed of the omen. I sure should have. But no.  My cocky self turned her nose up at the idea. “I’m not superstitious,” I scoffed in my head. “We’ll make it to pajama story time, even if we are a few minutes late.”

The idea to venture to pajama story time at the library this evening took root after Vinny took a glorious afternoon nap. My 11-month-old son doesn’t always take the best afternoon naps, leaving him ready for bed by 6 p.m. on most nights. But not today!  Today, he napped until 3 p.m., so I was confident he could muster enough baby attentiveness to make it to 6:30 p.m. pajama story time. My 3 ½-year-old toddler, who has since given up napping, except upon the rarest of occasions, was immersed in imaginative play all afternoon, so I thought she too could handle the outing.

I thought wrong.

Lately, my toddler and I are experiencing intense power struggles. She’d like to be the one in control, but I’m the mother. And, as the saying goes, mothers know best!  Since we went to the library earlier in the day to play with the trains, read books, and color, the event this evening was strictly story time. We were not there to play in the youth room. We were there to sing songs, listen to stories, and do a craft. Sounds pretty fun, right?

Well, my daughter had other ideas.

When we arrived, she refused to enter the room where story time was taking place, choosing, instead to play by the train area. She found a book and wanted me to read it to her.  So she received her first warning.

“Gianna,” I said. “We are here for story time. If you don’t want to go into story time, then we are leaving.”

But she persisted with the book and the train table. So, determined to stand my ground because at some point, whether out in public or not, children need to learn who is in charge, I told her we were leaving and I proceeded to walk out of the library.

Fortunately for me, she will follow me as I leave. If I could have, I would have picked her up, but since I was holding my 11-month-old, I couldn’t.

But let me tell you, we did not leave quietly. She screamed, no hollered, inside the elevator and as we walked out the door and I literally had to drag her down the street to my car.  One would have thought I was trying to kidnap her, she resisted so badly. In my head, I’m thinking, “What am I going to do if she bolts? I can’t just run after her with a baby in my arms. I can’t just put the baby down. I’m still too far from the car to put him in his car seat. Plus, I don’t trust her not to run in the other direction while I take the time to put him in his seat. “

So I dragged her as best I could thinking to myself, “What if I pull her arm so hard, she dislocates her arm from her shoulder?  I don’t want to hurt her, but if I let go, she could bolt and hurt herself.”

Somehow we did make it to the car. No injuries and no bolting away either.

It was definitely one for the books and, Lord help me, I will nip these tantrums in the bud.  I always considered her so mild-mannered, but as of late, she’s giving me a run for the money. Terrible Twos had nothing on these Torturous Threes. In my opinion, the twos weren’t terrible at all. I yearn for those days after an episode like today’s.


Tender moments

February 23, 2014

Some days  Most days, I feel like I’m a referee when I monitor play time with my daughter and son. Often times, I’m trying to help my three-year-old understand that Vinny’s just a baby and wants the toy she’s playing with because, well, she’s playing with it.  “No,” she’ll snap. “That’s mine.”

Sibling rivalry at its best and baring its teeth rather early…ah the future looks grim, but not really. Just look at this: 

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He is just enamored with her. He really is just her biggest fan. Belly chuckle after belly chuckle when she does something as simple as “bamming” (yes we made up that word) her hands on the sofa. Sometimes, she’ll just look at Vinny with a big smile and he’ll return with an ear to ear grin. It’s so simple, so cute, and so loving.

So while there are many moments I spend making sure Gianna doesn’t push her little brother away from a toy she’s playing with and many reminders to “be gentle, Gianna” because she forgets she’s much bigger than him, I know there’s a tremendous amount of love to go around too. 


The “great” things in life

February 12, 2014

There are many moments in the life of a stay at home mommy that can feel mundane. Sometimes it can feel as if you accomplish nothing – the kitchen you just cleaned up after breakfast is dirty yet again because, well, the kids needed to eat dinner. At other times I’m praying to the patience gods to help me get through another bedtime routine with a toddler who loves delay tactics, a nursing baby, and a husband who works late.

But then there are moments like this:

 

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When you stop and realize how lucky you are to not only have two grandparents who are still living, but that your children are able to get to know their great grandparents and can play real games with them, creating memories in their young little minds…That… well that is just a true blessing.

Today the game of choice was nap. Not nap for Gianna, no, just the act of putting everyone else down for a nap. Though Gianna is no longer a fan of napping, she does enjoy putting people to bed. Often, she’ll do the same routine we do – book & prayers, then a hug, kiss and lights out. Today, she assigned each great grandparent a spot on the bed, plus a place for herself and the two baby dolls my grandparents keep at their house for her to play with. After nap, she gave them 10 minutes to sit in the TV room and then it was back to bed. My grandparents, the willing participants, played right along and enjoyed it too!

Even though my grandmother probably forgets we were there (she suffers from dementia), in the moment she was extremely happy that we were (at one point, when Gianna’s behavior towards her little brother was a little fresh, I threatened leaving immediately, to which my grandmother cried, “No, don’t leave!” I assured her, without Gianna overhearing, that it was indeed only a threat.).

So when the mommying moments (yes I invented a word) can be tiring, especially during the winter doldrums, I try to remember the small moments throughout the day that remind me why I’m so happy to be exactly where I am, doing just what I’m doing. 


Christmas jingles

December 18, 2013

Sending my daughter to pre-school was momentous for a couple reasons: 1. She’s attending preschool at the same catholic elementary school I spent the formative years of my education; and 2. Well, it’s pre-school. Huge milestone, people; Come on!

But on Thursday of this week, another huge milestone occurs: Gianna’s first Christmas Concert. Now, friends, the Christmas Concert is a BIG deal. Growing up, it was the highlight of the school year. We performed inside the church and got to stand on the steps of the altar. Like woah! When do you ever get to stand on the steps of the altar?! Plus, we said goodbye to our uniforms in exchange for fancy Christmas dresses. And we even crimped our hair. (Remember when hair crimpers were all the rage?) So the fact that she will be singing in her first-ever Christmas concert for her school is HUGE.

Since her school added the Little Angel pre-school program (yes, my daughter is officially a Little Angel, as if you thought otherwise!), the structure of the concert is slightly different. The Little Angels students go first and when they are done, they actually are allowed to go home (thank you, concert organizers! You know how to please the mommies and daddies of little ones).

Regardless of the abridged schedule for Little Angels, I still alerted the relatives about Gianna’s debut performance.  They wouldn’t miss her sing her two songs – “Baby Jesus” (sung to the tune “Are You Sleeping”) and “Twinkle, Twinkle Christmas Star.”  Just don’t tell the concert organizers that I may be bringing more than four guests. It’ll be our little secret. ;)

So Thursday evening when I walk into the church with my little family for our daughter’s first-ever school-wide Christmas concert, I may grow a little teary-eyed, but mostly, I think it will feel a little surreal. Instead of my parents taking me to the church, I’ll escort my daughter. Instead of my parents coming to watch me sing, my parents will be watching their granddaughter perform.

Same church. Same school. Heck, even the same priest! Life is good sometimes pretty darn often. I just need to remember this on nights when two little kids suck the patience right from my bones!

 


The vicious routine of bedtime

October 7, 2013

Bedtime with my toddler lately feels a lot like World War III. In fact it’s safe to say, I downright loathe bedtime. Delay tactic, upon delay tactic, upon delay tactic, usually ending with me leaving the room to a shrieking toddler. Tonight I was sure the police were going to end up on my doorstep. Her shrieks were that loud.

All of those nice little thoughts of reading a book, saying prayers, followed by a kiss & hug and an “I love you”… HA… visions of fairy tales. If only that were the way it happened with a stubborn toddler. In fact, as I type this right now, my toddler is banging her bunny clock (the one that shows a bunny sleeping when she should be sleeping and shows a bunny awake when it’s time to wake up), probably to the point of breaking it. Again. Yup, she did it last night. She didn’t break it per say. But she did manage to pull the cord out of the back of it, resulting in me having to reset the time and the alarms that wake the bunny up at the right time of day.

So parents of older children, WHEN DOES IT END? If I’m not dealing with a screeching toddler at bedtime, then my infant is sucking me dry as he falls to sleep! (Truthfully, I’d much rather put him to bed lately than my daughter.)

I feel like there was one point in my daughter’s life that bedtime wasn’t so dreadful. Or is that just revisionist history? Was it always so down right torturous? (Now, friends, she has managed to take the face plate off of the bunny clock. Good grief. I’m watching her on the video monitor for those who are wondering how I know this. I really hope she fixes this on her own because if she pulls the cord out again and I have to set the time on that darn thing again… Oh Lord, Oh Lord, send me patience!) I swear there was a point in time where we used to nicely read stories, say our prayers, give a kiss good night and she’d say, “I love you too, mommy” when I left the room. Gosh darn it! It happened! I just know it did.

So then, what changed? I still follow the same routine – potty, teeth, book, & prayers. But maybe I gave in one too many times (an extra book here, another prayer there). Well, mean mommy will now prevail. No more extra stories. No more extra hugs (Now she’s holding the bunny clock over her head, inspecting it. Oh dear… the cord is going to come out, I just know it!). No more extra prayers. It pains me because, really, no extra stories, hugs, and prayers?! What?! Those aren’t bad requests!

But I must stick to my guns (And now the clock just hit the floor. There was a bang too, but no cries for help from mommy just yet.) because if I do, then bedtime is bound to get better. I think…

I’m happy to report that as I finish up this piece, she has settled nicely into her bed. She is now lying down, with her blankets over her as she strokes the ribbon on her teddy bear. Despite the beating the poor bunny clock took, dare I say, she’s finally going to go to sleep. Ahhh. Mommy heaven commence! Oh wait, my five-month-old just started to cry. Here we go again! 


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