“The Agonizing Wait For A Baby” on Her View From Home

Motherhood

I am so thrilled to post this link!!

The Agonizing Wait For A Baby

This link takes you to my first post to be featured on one of my very favorite websites: Her View From Home.

If you are a mama like me, who had to wait a lot longer for your family than you wanted to, you might already be familiar with “The Wait.” It can be so difficult!

Enjoy! And if you do, please feel free to share or comment on the post on the HVFH page!

Thanks for reading!

XO!

This is my *totally stoked* face!

Weathering The Storm

Life Lessons from a One-Year-Old, Motherhood

Once we hit the 12-month mark, and my little Hank graduated from baby to toddler overnight, his development kicked into a higher gear. All of a sudden, instead of a new skill or sound or hand signal emerging every week or so, it was every day. Then there were two or three new tricks each day. Now it seems he’s hit the steep slope of the exponential curve that is toddler discovery, and I can’t keep track anymore.

This morning, he said “Up?” for the first time ever, arms outstretched to be picked up, like he had done it a hundred times. Scooping him up, I realized that in that brief exchange, I had relinquished my authority over whether or not he wanted to be held.

Then there were the stairs. He’d mastered going up them a week or so ago, but coming down was still daunting. We worked hard at sitting down first, then coming down slowly on his bottom. He held my hand (or daddy’s) tightly every time, steadying himself for each bump, bump, downward.

Today though, it clicked. My heart did a little flip-flop when he waved my hand away and scoot-scooted his own little bottom down the stairs. One by one, just like we had practiced.

Solo.

One more thing he doesn’t need me for now.

Outside, after dinner, my bold new Hank cuddled up against our Great Dane on the lawn, using him as a pillow for an impromptu snuggle session. This surprised me too; the only affection he had ever given Roscoe to date was a quick pat on the back as he toddled by him with a nervous giggle.

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Hmmm, I should use him for a pillow more often

Overwhelmed by all this new-found bravery, I was almost thankful when a summer storm rolled in and my little man suddenly needed his mama again. We hurried inside and I opened the blinds, so we could watch the angry clouds.

“Ma-ma-ma?” came his timid little voice, snuggling closer to me on the couch. He pointed wide-eyed at the ceiling each time the thunder rolled over the house.

“Hmmm?” he hummed, over and over, with a worried look on his face—his intense little mind in overdrive. I smoothed his hair and pulled him in a little tighter. His lip quivered and his stormy blue eyes balanced right on the edge of crying, brimming with anxious tears.

“It’s ok, sweet boy, Mama’s got you. We’re ok.”

Are we though? Inside my mama-brain, everything wasn’t ok. My husband had taken my three step-sons camping—two hours away with no cell service—so I was on single-mom duty.

In a huge electric storm.

Usually during the big summer storms, I am the one huddling close to him on the couch, shuddering at every thunder boom, hoping it will end soon.

Tonight it was up to me to be the calming force for our scared little son, since the daddy we both lean on couldn’t rescue us this time. Big storms with daddy are tolerable, but big storms without daddy are terrifying.

I scooped Hank up and carried him into his nursery, clicking the volume up a few extra notches on his bedtime Enya. Maybe I could cover up the sounds of the storm, and ease both of our minds.

Snuggling deep into the crook of my arm, he grabbed a firm grip on my shirt collar and sucked away at his pacifier. Silver-blue flashes of lightning glow lit up the dim room every few seconds; he hummed and looked up at me intently every time. Studying my reaction, watching me for how he should feel, how he should react. My little mirror.

Breathing out a long, deep breath, I tried to focus on the soothing strains of Caribbean Blue streaming out of the speaker on his bookshelf.

Calm, mama. I smiled down at him and kissed his forehead goodnight.

“Shh, sweet boy, mama loves you.”

We had gotten through many summer storms since Hank had arrived, but I realized in that moment how this one was substantially different. It hit me that for the first time ever, he was aware of itHe had slept right through most storms in the past, and we had always joked that they made him sleep better. Even if he had been awake for one, it wouldn’t have registered with him anyways; storm noise in the past was simply static in his busy baby brain.

But tonight, my tuned-in toddler was astutely aware of what was going on outside his nursery window. His baby startle reflex had evolved into full-blown little-boy fear.

I don’t have the luxury of being the scared one anymore.

I realized that whether I felt it inside or not, I had to show him only calm. I had to be a strong, fearless parent he could count on—just like his daddy. The daddy who isn’t always in town, to protect us from things like big scary thunderstorms.

As my tired boy finally drifted off in my arms, I felt the magnitude of my job as his mama hit me in a way it hadn’t before, and I didn’t want to lay him down in his crib quite yet.

I have a big job–I need to be his calm, for all the storms to come.

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My beautiful, (worried!) little boy

10 Aspects of Mama-hood I Never Imagined I Would Be OK With

Life Lessons from a One-Year-Old, Motherhood

Becoming a mother rocks your world. It rocked mine so fiercely that I hardly remember what life was like before I had a baby. EVERYTHING changes when you have a baby, but the best part is that most of those changes are good ones! With me, for instance, things that would have totally grossed me out or driven me crazy are now just details in my day-to-day adventures in motherhood. Here are 10 things I never imagined I would be OK with once I became a mother:

  1. Sharing food. Today for lunch I pulled a day-old half of a Jimmy John’s Club Lulu out of the fridge, and tried to eat it with a crabby teething baby on my lap. Well, he wanted that sandwich more than I did, so we took turns eating bites off the same end. You couldn’t have paid me a million dollars to share a gooey, slobbered-on turkey sandwich with ANYONE before that baby came along, but these days I’m just happy to be eating something.
  2. Sharing a cup with a back-washing monster. The allure of a tall glass of freshly poured, cold water from the fridge door is hypnotizing to a one-year-old, it seems, especially when he knows it’s “mama’s water.” I cannot bear to not give him a sip of it, even though it will most likely have Jimmy John’s bread crumbs floating in it when I get it back. No big deal.
  3. Diapers. Change a diaper on the seat of my Tahoe? Sure! Change a diaper on my couch? Certainly! Change a diaper on my bedspread? Why not? Change a diaper on my knees at a basketball game or in an airplane? Yep; check, and check.
  4. Yoga pants as clothes. Enough said.
  5. Friday nights in. Bars? Dancing? Movies in a theater, even? People actually have the energy to DO those things? An exciting night for my husband and me now means watching a recorded episode of Deadliest Catch in a blanket on the couch-maybe even with microwave popcorn-before crashing at 10.
  6. Driving a mommy bus. I adored my sporty little Volkswagen back in the days of just me and my dog. Now that I haul up to six people around at any one time, I cruise my mommy bus around proudly. What’s not to love about seven seat-belts, eight cup-holders, and a DVD player with headphones?
  7. Germs. I loaded up on hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial wipes, and pacifier wipes before the baby came. These days? A quick mama-suck after a paci has fallen on some random germ-infested floor, and it gets popped right back in his mouth. I am building that boy some serious immunity. (At least that’s what I tell myself as I pop it back in his cute little mouth.)
  8. Having a Buddha belly. No, we are not growing baby #2 in there, but it definitely appears that we are! Gone is my flat pre-baby stomach, and in its place is a lovely little baby gut. Sucking it in? Nah. I grew almost nine pounds of baby in there so it’s bound to show a little, and I’m good with it.
  9. (Super) Early mornings. I used to think 9 a.m. was sleeping in. Now I know that 6:30 a.m. is actually sleeping in.
  10. Spending all of my money on the baby, instead of on myself. My current wardrobe consists of maternity shirts, my stretchiest pre-baby jeans, and my oh-so-stylish (but comfy!) slip-on Sketchers I bought when my feet grew a size while pregnant. My baby outgrows his entire wardrobe every two months, so that is where the money goes. And I don’t mind one bit! It’s WAY more fun to see those tiny little new clothes on him anyways, and I have finally realized that my husband is no more enamored with me if my clothes are “in style.” (In fact, I am pretty certain he can’t tell if they are anyways.)

Motherhood has taught me that pretty much everything I used to worry about is insignificant in the grand scheme. All that really matters is that tiny little heartbeat I helped create, and all the rest is just details. I am certain that someday I will get into some new clothes or back to a bar to go dancing, but right now my crazy mama life is pretty wonderful. I wouldn’t trade it for all the sleep in the world!

Yes that’s a maternity shirt. No, I’m not 4 months prego, it just looks like it.

I Don’t Need A Gym Membership, I Have A Toddler

Hank Humor, Motherhood

I love food. Almost as much as I love my baby, my baby’s daddy, and wine. So “eating for two” was one of my favorite parts of pregnancy. I tacked on 50 pounds like it was nothing.

I thought it might be a struggle to get those 41 non-baby pounds off, but nursing was a miracle weight loss plan. The weight fell off surprisingly fast, thanks to the chubby blonde tumor that was permanently attached to my boob. Too fast, in fact.

By the time I hit the 12-month mark, I looked like a skeleton with skin. (And boobs.) I had lost every one of the 50 pounds I gained and about 13 more I didn’t have to spare in the first place. My husband was worried about his waif of a wife, so I kicked off the calf and hopped back on my pregnancy eating-for-two diet to put some weight back on.

Now that the (hyperactive) weaned calf is toddling around, I found that it doesn’t matter how much I eat, I can’t gain a pound! Toddler rearing might just be the new miracle weight loss fad of the decade. It’s a little bit like training for American Ninja Warrior, but with no Mt. Midoriyama. (Or screaming crowd of fans.) My big red button at the end of each obstacle-filled day is a big glass of red WINE. But, it damn sure is keeping me skinny! Here is a sampling of my daily exercise program, which I have lovingly dubbed American Ninja Mommy:

  • The pick-up-the-sippy-without-setting-down-the-baby squat. 14-month-olds, it seems, suddenly develop an attachment disorder, which means I cannot detach mine from my hip and set him down without a screaming, crying fit. But it’s all good! He is just pushing me to feel the burn! The deep squat is far more effective with a 26 pound weight on one arm while you scoop down to grab the milk with the other. And, repeat.
  • The “crib” yoga pose. This pose involves bending at the waist over the side of the crib, holding a hand on the chest of the almost sleeping toddler and keeping perfectly still for up to 10 minutes because he is So. Close. To. Sleep. If you break pose before his breathing changes, you will have to start from scratch. Hold that pose, mamas! Don’t weaken!
  • The stair stepper. Descend and ascend the 6 stairs that lead from the kitchen to the living room repeatedly, to retrieve the milk sippy/ball/paci/cell phone that the toddler has launched over the baby gate. Again.
  • Naked baby wind sprints. Post bath, if you look away for one millisecond to grab the lotion or jammies, the dripping toddler WILL open the nursery room door and run through the rest of the house before you can get the diaper on him. The race is on, mamas. The goal of this exercise is to catch that ticking pee bomb before your kitchen floor does. Diaper! Ready. . .GO!
  • Highchair waist bends. Meal times are all about core strengthening, ladies. Your toddler trainer will be happy to provide you with infinite spoon drops- all you need to do is bend. Pick up spoon, hand spoon to toddler, and repeat.
  • The dead- (asleep) lift. Once you have a sleeping toddler sprawled across your lap in the rocking recliner, you must rise from your seated position with the toddler held perfectly still, carry him over to the crib, and lay him down without waking him. High chair waist bends will come in handy here (see previous exercise).
  • The Time-to-Put-the-Toys-Away burpees. This exercise is a good cool down for the end of the workout, usually best done right before bed after the toddler has crashed for the night. Down to floor, grab a toy, up to your feet, walk it over to toy box/corner of the room/heap of toys behind the couch. And repeat. Repeat until you can actually see your pretty area rug again and you begin to feel somewhat on top of things. (Note: this exercise may be skipped, depending on how intense of a workout you have already had that day. You can always do it tomorrow.)

The very best part of this workout system is the $40/month you will save from gym membership fees. It can now be spent on Riesling, Malbecs, and Starbucks; the only dietary supplements recommended with this plan. Get ready to lose, mamas! (Pounds, that is!) And your happy little toddler trainer? While he may not celebrate your efforts like a paid personal trainer should, he will be the reason you wake up each new day, ready to do it all over again. And that is a huge WIN.

On Being a Mama

Motherhood, Step by Step

I can pretty much sum up my entire life right now in three words: tired, happy, mama. I have never enjoyed anything more, worked harder at anything, or lost more sleep over anything in my life before my dream came true and I became a little boy’s mama. I try and try to put it into words, but I can’t find a way to adequately express my love for that little blonde boy, my great big dreams for him, or how hilarious I think all of it is sometimes. What I can put into words though, are my experiences as a tired, happy mama (and a tired, happy step-mama too). Here are some of them so far.

Being a mama means hearing the baby cry on the monitor when you only have one leg shaved, but jumping out of the shower anyways so he doesn’t have to cry any longer. It is also knowing darn well that you won’t get another chance to shave that other leg today, so it’s just going to have to go ahead and stay prickly.

Being a mama means cleaning boy pee off of the toilet seat, the floor, and the wall, yep that’s right, the wall; for the 50 millionth time and wondering if they are ever going to pick the seat up or learn to aim. (Or pay full attention while aiming.)

Being a mama means sitting at a baseball game in 97 degree July weather and dumping water over the baby’s head every 10 minutes so he stays cool, so we can be big brother’s full cheering squad for All-Stars.

Being a mama means washing load after load of boy clothes, spending hours of your life turning shirts inside out, picking grass pieces out of dirty socks, and trying to figure out which clothes go to which of the four boys. And eternally searching for the mates to those 6 or 8 socks that never seem to match any of the others.

Being a mama means making coffee its own food group, and looking forward all day to that beautiful glass of chilled white wine you can pour once they are all tucked in for the night and you can finally put your feet up and do YOU for a few minutes.

Being a mama means loving every second of your weekly Costco mission, pushing the heavy loaded cart through every aisle with a perma-grin on your face because the baby in the front of it smiles, waves at, and talks to every stranger who walks by him, and it makes both your day and theirs every time.

Being a mama means laughing your head off when your one-year-old’s favorite new pastime is standing next to you in your closet while you get dressed, so he can slap your once-toned thighs repeatedly because he thinks it’s hilarious how they jiggle.

Being a mama means knowing before you get there, that Spot IS actually in the basket, but acting surprised for the 5th time that night when he lifts the flap and finds him, just as delighted as he was the first time.

Being a mama means hours of washing and cutting-up, warming and testing, spoon-feeding bites, and sitting beside the high chair, dodging flying food and wiping messes off the floor. And doing it all over again 3 hours later.

Being a mama means letting him fling an entire package of Always panty-liners one by one across the bathroom while you get ready, because you know it will buy you just enough time to get your makeup on.

Being a mama means spending an entire night in a recliner with a sick baby on your lap, taking his temperature every 5 minutes and watching the clock tick the hours slowly by until you can give him his next dose of baby Advil.

Being a mama means crying your eyes out after you put the baby to bed on the night of his 1st birthday party, because according to the rest of the world, he is a toddler now and no longer a baby.

Being a mama means making a running mental list throughout the day of all the little things you need want to do once everyone is tucked in; like paying those bills, finishing up your own laundry, looking up that new recipe you saw online, or watching that recorded episode of the Bachelorette you have been dying to see – but then being so tired you just collapse into bed at 9:15 and do none of it.

Being a mama means dropping the baby off at Grandma’s for the morning so you can get caught up at the office, and feeling like a part of your body is missing all day until you get him back in your arms. Because part of your body really IS missing – your heart stays with him every time you leave him.

Being a mama means laughing, crying, praying, napping, wondering, playing, hoping, reading, practicing, teaching, learning, cleaning, chasing, hand-holding, snuggling, soothing, loving, and living.

And did I mention drinking coffee?

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This little boy has my heart.