And That’s A Wrap

I’m always torn when the Christmas holiday comes to an end. There’s a side of me who is anxious to have my house back in some semblance of order, but then there’s the side who’s regretful as to how quickly the time passed and what I didn’t get to do. This year, thanks in no small part to the birth of Henry, a lot of the plans were left to the wayside.

We did; however, have the opportunity to make cookies with Davey. I did at least get two Christmas trees up (leaving the other 5 packed away in the attic for another year of hibernation). We were able to celebrate Christmas with my family, but as for my husband’s family in Western NY, we were forced to celebrate with them via Skype and Face Time.

Decorating Cookies
Decorating Cookies

I’d had grandiose plans of getting cookies and milk out for Santa and reading Twas the Night Before Christmas and The Christmas Story (directly from the Bible in Luke Chapter 2). I thought this year would be a great year to start that tradition with Davey. He loves to read and it just seemed like the appropriate thing to do. Alas, that was not to happen because Christmas Eve already seemed much too packed for him, not to mention the fact that he didn’t take a nap so he was suffering from a quadruple dose of the Terrible Twos.

Christmas has started taking on a new meaning for me, the older I’ve become and especially since I’ve become a mother. Gone are the days when I was anxious to open presents. Instead, they’ve been replaced with the joy of seeing my son open his presents. I loved seeing his expression, his genuine happiness and sincere hugs and “thank yous” to those who bought him gifts. I’ve enjoyed watching old classics that I grew up on like “Frosty the Snowman” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, with my son. He comprehends so much and nothing brought a tear to my eye more than the fact that he watched Charlie Brown so much, he was then able to learn the words to “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

Unwrapping Presents
Unwrapping Presents

Fortunately, we have a wonderful church family who have been able to step in while I was on bed rest before Henry was born. Davey learned the true meaning of Christmas through them and even brought his Bible to me during the Christmas season and asked for me to read the story of Jesus’ birth. So, I did get the opportunity to read it to him, just not in the Norman Rockwell romantic way of sitting by the fire with our warm socks on, a cup of milk, cookies placed strategically on the table beside the fireplace, and Christmas music playing in the background.

As with everything in life, I have these grand visions and when I don’t seem to accomplish them I feel like I’ve had a huge let down, like my balloon has been deflated prematurely. I felt this way as I undecorated one of our Christmas trees yesterday. I took a moment to look at the new ornaments we’d added this year…one for Henry and his first Christmas, another for Davey (these two courtesy of my mom and dad), and three new “handmade” ornaments from Davey. I smiled as I remembered how excited he was to bring them home from church and school and how he’d chosen exactly where they needed to be hung.

Another Christmas has come and gone. We’ve added a new member to our family and celebrated our many blessings with family and friends. I’ve already started planning for next year, Henry’s first to actual participate, and I’m feeling with joy and excitement with the new memories we’ll be creating. And to all of you, I hope that your Christmas was as stressed and relaxing, happy and boisterous, and memorable and loving as ours.


First Week is in the Books!

I often spent many a night before Henry was born wondering how we were going to handle two children in the house. I pondered how difficult it would be with a newborn and even worried about my two year old becoming more rebellious than normal. I imagined everything I possibly could, most of which was bad, before we were discharged from the hospital. As the nurse was transporting me down to the car, my newborn son cradled into my arms, an immense fear seemed to take hold of me and I felt as if a heavy boulder was pushing down on my chest. Where was all of my excitement and bliss about my sweet little baby? Where were all the daydreams about a happy, romantic family ala the days of Norman Rockefeller or the Waltons? All feelings I’d had when my son was first born and placed into my arms quickly dissipated and reality set in. Could I do this? Well, let’s just fill you in on week one…

My husband had to work all week. There wasn’t a grace period of sorts like there was with Davey. He’s been promoted since the days when Davey was born and with that promotion comes much larger responsibilities. If he were in his old job, he would have been home, but if he were in his old job, I wouldn’t be a stay-at-home mom, either. So, Tuesday started out the first official day of being home with Henry and with Davey and it was a piece of cake. Davey had school, so my husband went into work late to take him. My mom and dad came to stay with me and help out with Henry. Piece of cake. Flash forward to that evening when my husband came home from work and informed me that he had to be in Pinehurst, NC for a job all day on Wednesday (a 5 hour drive from our house). As a side note, I hope the project manager for this job gets a bag of poop from Santa. Because of this job, the rest of the week became a catastrophe.

Wednesday morning, my husband took me and Henry to Henry’s first doctor’s appointment and my dad stayed with Davey. Thanks to the C-section and the pain medication, I was unable to drive us. At least the one side perk to this day was that Henry had gained 4 ounces in 2 days! He IS my little porker. After depositing us back at home with my dad, my husband drove back to work, got his rental car and took off east bound and down for NC. He was not to return until 8 o’clock that evening. Thankfully, my mother had arrived in the afternoon and we had a wonderful dinner. Now here’s where the week gets better (insert sarcasm) and once again I blame it on the Pinehurst trip. Did I say that I wanted Santa to leave the project manager a bag of poop? I did? Well, let’s make that a BIG bag of poop.

Thursday morning, my husband walked out the door for work only to find that the rental car he was driving had been broken into. Sigh. So, between entertaining my 2 year old and nursing my 6 day old, I had to call the police, file a report, get my husband back here, have forensics go over the car, contact the rest of the board on our HOA (I’m one of the V.P.’s), get a post on our neighborhood Facebook page, and call a locksmith. I hope this thief gets just as big a bag of poop as the project manager in Pinehurst. And oh, by the way, my parents informed me they could not come over first thing on Friday morning to help because their freezer had gone out and they needed to find a way to salvage a few thousand dollars worth of food. Again…sigh. Surely, Friday would be better!

Friday rolls around and to start the day off on the right note, Henry had started sleeping 4 hour increments at night! Woo hoo! Unfortunately, my husband didn’t get to really enjoy the extra sleep seeing as how he had to be on the road at 4:30 for another day of travel that probably would not end until after 8 o’clock again. It was ok, because I was hitting my stride with a toddler and a newborn. So, just when I thought everything was under control, we lost power. I called the power company while dealing with an antsy toddler and a screaming newborn only to have the lady tell me there was no power outage. I’m sorry!?!? Did we forget to pay our powerbill? Come to find out there was a fire at a local substation. We were without power for 3 hours. And while at first I became frantic, I quickly slid into play mode with my 2 year old while my one week old slept. The other plus side to the day was that at least my husband was able to come home early and we could go to a family Christmas party where I was informed that I didn’t look like I’d just had a baby a week before. SCORE! Insert a HUGE happy smile and even a happy dance.

So, long story short, I survived the first week. Davey is adapting very well to having a little brother. When Henry cries, he says, “Don’t cry, Henry, it be ok.” Every morning he greets Henry with a handshake and a “nice to see you, Henry.” Henry seems to enjoy the Mamaroo which means my hands are free to do a lot more. It may not be as glamorous or romantic as what’s portrayed in Hollywood, but it’s the most wonderful thing I’ve ever had. Here’s looking forward to the rest of our lives.

Welcome, Henry

I should have known Friday the 13th wasn’t just any typical day.  At least it definitely wasn’t a typical day for me.   This past Friday the 13th was to see the birth of my second son, Henry.   And although the day to be special, I still started out the day with it being typical.   Henry was to be born via a scheduled c-section, one I’d had before.   I’dchosen the c-section because it was not unchartered territory.  I knew what to expect and for me the unexpected is not something I want.   

You see, I’d heard stories about women in labor for hours and I really didn’t want any part of that.  Yeah, there’s a recovery time to the c-section, but with my last one it was minimal and very much bearable.  Again, I knew what I was getting myself into or so I thought.   you’d think I would learn to calculate in the unexpected, but I didn’t.  

My husband and I woke, showered, and started the process of getting the car loaded, Davey dressed, and the dog to the vet.   What we didn’t expect was for me to start contracting at 8 am.   Henry knew it was to be his birthday and was getting tired of waiting.   So, after dropping Davey off with my aunt, we went to the hospital an hour earlier than was to be expected, all the while I was trying to breath and calm myself.   Darn it for not attending any Lamaze classes.  My breathing techniququa was eased upon old episodes of “ER”.  Yes, please laugh and tell me I desethey the pain.   

Immediately, I was given a room in OB Triage where I was hooked up to a fetal monitor.   It was determined that I was contracting every 2 minutes.  Wonderful!   And to make things even better, my cervix was closed tight (much like it was with Davey)!   Fabulous!  And to add even more to that, I wasn’t going to receive any pain medication!   I was to endure this?   Obviously, the doctors and nurses were unaware to my low tolerance for pain.   

After 2 hours of contracions (not including those that had started while still at home), I take into the OR where I was given the greatest relief of the day…a spinal agent that numbed me from just below my breasts to the tips of my toes.  I felt like I was in heaven.   The surgery began.   I felt the same tugging and pulling as before.   Again nothing unusual.  And within a few minutes, Henry was born.  

It’s amazing some of the things that a mind forgets about in 2 years.  I remember the birth of my first son.   I remember it was quick and he didn’t scream or cry a lot.  I remember being able to see him and immediately kiss him although I wasn’t able to hold him.   What I don’t remember is really anything else like the OR, the nurses, the procedure.   This time I was a lot more alert.   Everything from the blue and white round lights that were stationed above my abdomen that allowed for a form of a mirror for me to see what was happening, to the smell of something burning and the intense feeling of nausea that was rolling over my body.   

When Henry was born, he was covered in pee and poop as he seemed to lose control of his bodily functions when he was expelled from the womb.   Within seconds of his birth, I became tired and started dry heaving.  My body wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t feel anything except for the need to vomit.  Tears rolled down my eyes and I prayed for God to just let me pas out.  I’m a wimp, I know.  I was administered an anti-nausea medication through my IV (it took the nurses 4 times to get an IV in me pre-surgery without my veins popping.  My arms and hands are still showing those bruised affects).  My husband took Henry and left the room while the doctor and nurses continued to work on stitching me up and at some point I fell asleep or passed out.  I did awake before being wheeled into the recovery room where my mom, dad, and husband sat with Henry.

Did I want to hold him?   No!   I felt like I couldn’t even raise my hand and that at any given point I was going to vomit.   A half an hour rolled by and I was finally able to hold my beautiful baby boy.   Beautiful is an understatement.   

Henry is the spitting image of his big brother.   His eyes are blue/grey.  His hair is brown.  He has his father’s chin, and the most wonderful capability to look at me and make me feel that my world is at peace.   Friday the 13th is a superstitious day, but for me it has become the most memorable one I’ve ever encountered.   

It was more of a painful road than I had anticipated, but totally and completely worth it.   Take a look for yourself.   I am one blessed woman!



Leaning Back

I received my January issue of Parents Magazine in the mail today.   For the first time in what has seemed like a while, I was able to immediately sit down and start perusing through the pages.   Of course, it helped that this issue seems to be a lot smaller than the others (meaning I felt like I could QUICKLY make my way through the magazine).  

I came across an article that caught my attention because it had a subtitle that was meaningful to me.   It’s something that my husband and I have discussed as recently as Monday night when it comes to parenting (not raising) Davey.   He’s hit the Terrible Twos, well he’s actually be in this stage for a while, but for some reason it seems like it’s getting worse.   Maybe it’s just my perspective because I can’t be as active with him as I once was (final days of pregnancy #2 impeding my abilities).  He’s become more temperamental and impatient, even screaming when he doesn’t get his way.   He lies on the floor and kicks his feet, has started hitting (mostly me, which we’re working to curb), and is becoming quite defiant.   So what gives?   I think this article summed a lot of it up.   It’s titled, “Why We Need to Lean Back (from our kids)”. 

We seem to be running ourselves ragged parenting our children.   I know I am and I’m only raising one at this point.   This article suggests that perhaps it’s time for me to be less hands-on, something my husband discussed with me on Monday night.   The article talks about the pressures parents feel to invest every amount of energy into our children and their futures.   I know I’m guilty of that!  Being a stay-at-home mom makes it a lot harder on mothers, or at least that’s how I feel.  We’re trying to compensate for variables that other children who go to school/daycare may receive.   

I’m constantly racked with guilt about if I’m doing enough where raising Davey is concerned.  I have some mothers and friends who pass judgment on the fact that I chose to be a stay-at-home mom.   Some believe I’m causing irreparable harm to my son because he’s not socializing on a day-to-day basis with other children.  It’s forced me to seek out activities outside of the home for him.   From the moment I became a SAHM, Davey and I were enjoying story time at our local library.   He was 4 months old at that point, but I was eager to make sure that I was still giving him enough social interaction.   I was still eager to make sure that since I had chosen to no longer have a career outside the home, that I would turn raising my son into a career.   I made myself be hands on.   Actually, I think I guilted myself into being hands on and from that moment forward I’ve become the mom that seems to micromanage every waking moment of his life.   I can’t do that anymore especially with Henry on the way in two days. 

Is it too late to right the ship?  I don’t think so, but I’ve decided to do more “leaning back” and let Davey decide what he wants to do.   I still find ways to structure his day, even if he we’re unable to really go out of the house.   I still allow him to have an hour of television time (perhaps more if I’m sick – and I know I’ll get some judgments from other moms here), but what used to be is no more.   Instead of telling him we’re going to read a book, I turn the television off and I sit down and read a book, sometimes an adult book, which spurs him to bring books to me so that I can read to him.   He even sits on his own little couch and reads some of his books (since we’ve read them so many times and he knows them by heart).

When I want to do crafts with him, I go to the kitchen table and pull out the crayons and paper and I start coloring.   If he wants to join me, he does; otherwise, he does his on activity.   When he plays outside, or with his basketball goal, or his Matchbox cars, I use that opportunity to do some of my chores, like laundry and dishes.  It’s only been a couple of days, but already it seems like there’s a difference in his attitude.  The fact that I was inhibiting his independence, I believe, was really forcing him to rebel.  

My mother worked out of the home and my brother and I went to daycare.   She or my dad picked us up after work.  My mother cooked dinner, my dad played with us, we ate dinner as a family, and then we did our own thing.   My brother and I learned to amuse ourselves, to be self-sufficient, and to solve our own problems.   For so long, I’ve felt that I owed my son more than what my parents gave to me, but what I really owe him is my unconditional love and support.  

He’s a good kid, a smart kid, but with a mama who might be just a bit too involved in every challenge my son faces.  I wish I had started this approach sooner than just 2 days ago, seeing as how my attention will DEFINITELY be divided in 2 more days, but better late than never.   And oh, by the way, since I decided to “lean back” with Davey, he’s figured out how to pedal his tricyle all on his own.   It’s something I’ve worked on since this summer.   Maybe this will help in the potty training arena as well! 

My Sensitive Little Man

If my husband knew I were writing a blog about our 2 year olds’ sensitivity, he’d probably give me grief.   I guess I really never understood,or perhaps I underestimated, Davey’s level of emotional comprehension.   We used to worry that he didn’t understand pain, as it’s very unusual for him to cry even when injured.   Truthfully, it used to worry us, but not so much anymore.  

Of course these days, Davey’s had to deal with my emotional roller coaster especially on these final few weeks of my second pregnancy.   He’s seen me cry more, although I do try to leave the room if I feel the tears coming on.   He’s seen me get upset and lose patience.  He’s seen me exhausted.  Frankly, he’s had to deal with mommy’s entire emotional spectrum, but he’s handled it pretty well. 

Last week, I recorded “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”, which of course is Disney’s version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”.  I thought how wonderful it would be for him to watch especially since he’s a HUGE Mickey Mouse fan.   What I didn’t anticipate was the fact that my two year old was able to completely understand what was going on.   And why didn’t I anticipate that?   He’s a very smart child, very intuitive, and always eager to know more.   He’s constantly questioning things and doing his best to regurgitate what he’s learned.   So, why wouldn’t the movie have an emotional impact on him?  

He was glued to the television for the entire 30 minutes of the production and when the Ghost of Christmas Future showed what was to come, Davey seemed to take it to heart.   It wasn’t so much Scrooge would die alone, as it was that Davey understood what was to happen to Tiny Tim.   As he watched Mickey kneeling at Tiny Tim’s graveside, Davey climbed into my lap and said, “No, Mama, Mickey sad.  Tiny Tim go to Heaven.”   And he put his arms around my neck and hugged me.  

How did my son know this?   My husband and I have never really talked about life and death.   I love to tell him stories of my younger brother who died of leukemia.   He’s been with me to my brother’s grave to put balloons and flowers on it.   Perhaps his memory is so astute that he remembers all of this.   I never cry at my brother’s grave, but I do become slightly misty when I tell Davey that his uncle is part of his namesake.  

I smile, though, as I’m writing this because I’m proud of my son for having a sensitive side, an emotional side, a side that can hurt and understand even emotional pain as complex as that of losing a loved one.   I smile because I also know that my husband and I are doing a good job raising him to try to deal with all of life’s little nuances.   I smile because I also know that my husband and I are doing a good job in raising him as a Christian boy.  

We haven’t watched Mickey’s Christmas Carol again.   Not because I don’t think it’s acceptable, but more so because we all have been just slightly too busy preparing for Henry’s impending arrival.   I am concerned that Davey may cry when he sees Mickey at Tiny Tim’s grave again.   I don’t like seeing my baby cry, but to know that it’s not because of fear but because of a level of sympathy and love makes me feel good as a mom.