Adventures in Mommyhood

How I learned to stop worrying and enjoy life.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Motherhood Mutual Admiration Society

I want to start this club.

This morning, I was greated with a message from a friend. It read, "Lindsay, how do you do work, go to grad school, and still have time for exercising, Claire, and Michael... I just started back (to work from maternity level) and already feel like I'm a terrible teacher / student, etc. Are you superwoman or something? Do you have any time saving tips?". I was taken aback. Me? Superwoman? I even laughed a little, I admit, though I must confess, the vote of confidence more than made my day. I walked on a cloud thinking about it! The thing is, I always feel that way about other moms! I see them and they look so together! I want what they have. The mother who authored the preceding message included! She is a first time mom to 6 month old twin boys, she taught two internet classes when they were just weeks old and is returning to the classroom this week. This is a mom who is juggling two infants, breastfeeding and pumping, is married and pursuing, working in high education at OU. Christi, I tip my hat to you, dear! You tell me, how do you do it?!

What I really want to say is, how come we don't let other mothers know how much we admire them more often? Motherhood is a sisterhood of sorts. We have the power to build each other up and teach each other so much. What a beautiful thing. It makes me wish we could all get together and truly start the Motherhood Mutual Admiration Society, have meetings (with delicious treats- just sayin'), let the kids play, and just share how we all do it. We all keep things together somehow, even when we feel like we are falling short.

Please allow me to share what I would discuss at our first meeting:

Christi- You blow me away, with all the things I listed above! Two at one time! Wow. You handle it with grace, even if you don't always feel like it!

Melissa Robins- You are so patient and nuturing. I love how respectful your kids are because of what you have taught them.

Jaime Crosby- You are one of the best balancing acts I have ever seen. You always fit everything in- well, except sleep. I don't think you do much of that!

Laura- I admire you for pushing through med school as a single mom! Amazing!

Alisha- I hope your kids realize how much you do for them!

Pam- I admire your dedication to ensuring your children are well rounded and have a general respect for humanity- passion for what is right in life.

Codi- You take challenges in stride!

Amie- You make sure you make time for yourself.

Ruth Anna- Everything you do, you do well. I have always admired you in general, so that just funneled into motherhood.

Jill- You are so patient with Mara and very loving

Mary- You and Emma are evidence of God providing and I thank you for all your guidance and support! You've really made me feel better in some challenging times!

Lindsey Elise- You always focus on the best interest of your child, even when it would be so tempting to give into frustrations! You are graceful, girl!

Mindy- You always make me smile and you never fail to be grateful. You are such a loving and devoted mother.

My mother- I am not sure blogger would have the capacity for me to talk about all we've been through together. Mostly, I thank her for always understanding me and being my sounding board.

There are so many mothers who I love so dearly, so if I did not mention you directly, know that you are still in my heart. I love you all. Many moms are just starting out and I am eager to see all the things I know I will admire in you.

Love, Linds

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hey Claire, here's what you need to know-

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
...If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
-Mother Teresa

Monday, July 5, 2010

National Lampoon's Lake Tenkiller Weekend

Continuing from the previous post, Friday was spent taking our baby daughter to the doctor where she received four shots. After spending nearly two hours in the office, Michael was more than ready to hit the road.

Claire slept pretty well through most of the trip and, in spite of the shots, was in a pretty jovial mood when we arrived. The ladies rallied to hit the store for supplies, since both Michael and I forgot underwear and other staples that should have been obvious whilst packing, while the men when to Barnacle Bills (floating restaurant) for pitchers, oh- and food too. The Tahlequah Wal Mart is the height of class at 8 p.m. on a Friday night, by the way. Filthy, obese, barefoot children wearing only diapers. Toothless parents, not fairing much better than the babies they have in tow. If you ever need a self esteem boost, this may be the place to go.

We awoke to rain on Saturday, which foiled our plans to go out on the water. The day was spent trying to entertain the little one and ourselves without succumbing to cabin fever and hoping our trip was not a literal and figurative wash. I brought sewing, so that was my daily feat. We have our own room at the cabin- exhibit A:

It is a blank slate. I do not want to spend boo-coo dollars, but I want to give it personality and perk it up a bit. My in-laws told me to do whatever I want. Hope they won't regret that! Anyway, I brought some photo frames and effects and made two euro shams and a bolster. Exhibit B:

I think the room is cozier already! I am going to work on it in phases, to avoid major expense, so I will call exhibit B, "phase 1". The tables are two short tables that my in laws got as a wedding present. I stacked them and intent to paint them in some colorful- shabby chic manner. That is, after I secure them to one another! Click here to see my inspiration! I love the color and charm!

In spite of the rain, it was nice to get that done and Claire had a blast playing somewhere new. She was in great spirits and ate all the Gerber comfort foods. In the evening, we put her to bed thinking all was well. Fuss was heard and we all looked in on her. One of the times, Randy (my father in law) said she'd thrown up a little and brought her out. She changed her sheets, cleaned her up, and returned her exhausted, limp little body to bed. Moments later, more fussing and crying, I entered to find my baby girl COVERED in vomit. I was horrified as to how that could all come out of my tiny little girl. We rushed her to the sink, where she proceeded to vomit on Lane (my mother in law). We scoured the place for clean clothes for her, as the quickly soiled all of the jammies and outfits, I'd packed for 3 days away. Finally, I was sitting on the couch with my naked little cherub wrapped in a towel, making sad eyes at me. At the same time, we placed an anxious call to Claire's doctor, who is also a friend of the family. He informed us that some babies react this way after shots- after four, maybe I shouldn't have been surprised. He told us he'd be glad to call phenigren (anti-vomit medicine) into a pharmacy for her. We told him we might like him to do that. After placing calls to all the pharmacies around and finding they were all closed for the evening, we called the hospital to see if there was a 24 hour pharmacy anywhere close. According to the hospital, we'd have to drive to Broken Arrow to get to a 24 hour pharmacy! This is an hour drive! Let me get this straight, Tahlequah has a four year university and a class 6a high school, but you have to drive almost an hour if you are unlucky enough to get sick after hours?! You've got to be (expletive) kidding me! I guess no one gets sick in Tahlequah after 9:30. Good for them. Anyway, Michael and Lane ran to Wal Mart for Pedialyte and finally, she was done. We got her into clean jammies and into bed for a good night's sleep.

After that, Michael and I thought the weekend was definitely over, but Claire woke up 110% and bouncing off the walls. We decided to feed her bland and slowly and see how she did. After a couple of good hours, we decided to go to the water. Claire passed clean out in the boat. I'd had to poke her a couple of times, just to see her twitch! Since we'd made it out of the woods last night, it would be too much to ask that the day be scott-free. Dan was walking through the boat when he hit a sharp place on the boat's windshield and cut his back open. The wound was about an inch to an inch and a quarter and peeled off enough skin to cause all to stand around and muse about the need for stitches or lack thereof. Finally, Dan was 'ghetto rigged' back together and we were off. A tetanus shot will await Dan when he returns home- lucky him. Of course, it made for a good photo opp- so enjoy- I couldn't make this up, you know!

Yes, that is duct tape.

Claire was great on the water and seemed to be be usual bubbly self- in spite of the miserable night before and the three sharp teeth coming through the gums. She is such a good sport.

I was diligent about covering my baby in sunscreen, spray, cream, and trying, definitely in vain, to get a hat on that precious head. Unfortunately, my attempts to keep sunscreen out of her eyes only resulted in red burn spots around her eyes! She looked like she'd been abused! I hated that! Now, we have to wait for that to heal and figure out how to avoid that in the future. A little sunscreen in the eyes might not be so bad in comparison.

Again, being such a good sport, she slept most of the way home.

Love her.

The stats are in!

Claire Alexandra, at 15 months old, weighs 24lbs, 6oz. She is 30in tall! This is a 4lbs, 2 in difference since her birthday, April 1! The kid doesn't starve. We just had an appointment to keep up her shot record. We were not thrilled to learn that they wanted to give her four in one day. Next time, we will put our foot down on that one (reference blog post above this).

We waited an hour to see a different doctor because Claire's regular doctor was out on holiday already. Before the shots, this doc handed Claire an open lollipop and crammed it in her mouth. I think her daddy and I were a bit taken a back. We thought she was a bit young. I don't know, if it was an over reaction or not. I just know we'd rather be asked first. However, we did take pics, since she'd never had a lollipop before. They are adorable.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Little Fishy

No rants or observations today! Just enjoy Claire's water-bug photos from the summer! Happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Happy Medium Momma

For my liking, there are far too many 'take it and run' ideas about parenting and everyone is expected to jump on the bandwagon. It feels there is always some methodology that one is expected to follow. Maybe I am okay, or better than okay even, with doing bits and pieces of it all.

Crunchy mamas are out in full force these days. That's not a bad thing at all. It's a great thing. Not too long ago, I was asking exactly what a 'crunchy mama' was. Some may know it better as the discipleship called 'attachment parenting' under Dr. Sears. In short, this is the philosophy believes in creating the most 'womb like' environment for the newborn, extended breastfeeding, babywearing, and bed sharing. The 'crunchy mamas' tend toward attachment parenting, but also seem to focus on cloth diapering, organic foods and making their own baby food- hence the 'crunchy' being a nudge to 'granola'. Am I saying these things are wrong? Absolutely not. I have been a nursing momma. I extended past the first year even. Should I feel great that I was able to do that, or should I listen to the heat of the La Leche Mom for not being a full disciple of 'baby led weaning'. Am I cruel? Or is it weird that I went even a day past the first birthday? It seems like you are some sort of a pariah if you don't quit that straight away at one year! It's just 'too weird'. You can't do that if they have teeth and you shouldn't do it if they are walking (myth and myth in my book, but people believe it.) Or is it okay to do things just the way I felt comfortable and the way I thought worked for Claire? Babywearing- Claire spent lots of time in arms. Michael was known for wearing her in the Baby Bjorn (at which point he usually referred to her as Carlos- thank you, The Hangover). Womb like environment? Absolutely! I only found one swaddle blanket that worked for me The Miracle Blanket. It squished her up into a dreamy coma in no time. Halleluia! That being said, the family bed was not for us. My husband acts out dreams occasionally, which made it scary and I was terrified of rolling on her or none of us sleeping just to watch her all night. Claire began to sleep in her crib at 2 months old. Is that cold? Is it too removed? Is it just what worked for us? Yes. Do I believe my child is plenty secure, plenty bonded and plenty attached. Definitely. This is my point. Why are mothers expected to (or expect themselves to) fall completely in line with one philosophy of parenthood? Why should anyone want to convince me my child is not secure or does not feel fully loved if I do not do exactly what they did and the way they did it? That is what is truly cruel.

My birth took place in a hospital. Yes, a hospital. I would not have felt comfortable giving birth in my home. Some would not have it any other way, but I wanted a nice, sterile, around the clock care hospitaltastic experience. I wanted to know that medical professionals were on hand should we need anything at all. I wanted to know someone was there to oversee my healing. Giving birth in a bathtub is fine. Giving birth in my bathtub would have driven me mad! I try to keep up with cleaning, but all I would have thought about would have been- am I sure I scrubbed this thing enough? How am I going to get it clean again? I also confess, sin of all sins- I used an epidural and I never looked back. Because I used the epidural, I was able to rest through my labor, I was able to concentrate when it came time to push and I was able to stay calm when the doctor was taking care of me after the delivery (I am deliberately leaving out details to avoid TMI). My hospital birth, with an epidural and without the use of a doula or midwife, was exactly the birth experience I wanted and that is all that matters. I do have a friend who is a doula, so if that interests you, let me know and I would be glad to recommend her for you.

I am a working mother. This is a great challenge for me. Constant second guessing, but feeling that I am doing what works for our family. I am a working mother for a couple of reasons. First, without my job, I would not have health insurance and, because of the cost, Claire probably wouldn't either. This is unacceptable to me. (Consider this, any who think universal health care would only support slobs who don't want to work.) Not only would we not have insurance, but our income would limit our residential options. We would be limited to areas in decline, areas that seemed unsafe. Is it difficult to be away from my girl? Yes. Do I feel I am doing what is right for my family? Yes. I want to assure, based on comments I have overheard lately, that my child care is the safest and best place possible. There are a lot of horrible daycare centers in the world, no doubt. My daughter is not in one of them. Where she goes, the entire facility is monitored by cameras, the door is key pad protected and the owner, who has known our family for years, is in all the rooms with great frequency. She is always in range and always available if I call. She welcomes me if I drop in and trust me, I have. It deeply upsets me if anyone implies that I am putting her at any sort of a risk if I spend any amount of time away from her. If I need to work, I have the best possible set up. I get her at 3 everyday, I have all breaks off, and I enjoy her all summer. I breathe her in; I love her; I soak every moment. I believe my child feels loved and secure. I also believe she gets things at school I could not provide. She gets peer companionship and social skills. She gets a routine I feel will prepare her for school one day. She gets to learn to trust other adults. Then, there is me. I like my job. I enjoy the challenges. I love my kids. God made me the way I am and in the situation I am for a reason. I am called. In my dreams, I can marry my enjoyment of working with love of motherhood. Maybe I will find out how to be a part time employee. I bargained with God, that if he let me win the lottery, I would become a full time philanthropist and spread good works, Claire in tow, everywhere I could. I guess it is time to start playing the lottery ; )

My point is not to be for or against any kind of parenting. My point is not to call anyone out. My point is, I am doing this my way. The way I feel is best for my family. I hate the idea of 'camps' that put mothers into categories. "Oh, she's a (fill in the blank) mother, so she only does (fill in the blank)." I don't want to fit in a box. I just want to be a happy medium momma and I want you to do things your way too.

The clip is from Away We Go. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays an over-the-top, pretentious mother, who is settled into her camp and her philosophies, expects that any mother who does not follow must not 'love her kids enough'. You probably need to see the movie to get the full gist, but enjoy, nonetheless.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fathers' Day

Happy fathers' day to this guy holding a baby. Not just any guy, but the one who puts up with me. Not just any baby, but the best baby I could imagine. Better even. I could not have dreamed anyone this good.