My post yesterday was a bit… scary. Having said that it gets better, I think maybe I should for once actually talk about how it gets better, and not just scare people with how hard it was at the beginning. I'd like to call it, Then and Now.
Par-thay! Woo-Hoo! There's a baby shower going on for Liz, Christina and Tammie. They invite everyone to spread their love and advices (and something else I can't write here, because this here is a rated PG blog). All the motivation I needed to finally delurk and pester them with my hard-earned insights about the heroic act of mommyism.
Liz, Christina, Tammy, you don't know me. I'm that person who crashes the party, acting all wild, swinging from the chandeliers and drinking all the booze, while everyone's asking themselves "who is that? who invited her?" But, having not one, but one-point-four years of experience raising two children simultaneously, there are a few pieces of advice I can salvage from my overloaded mind: (Tammy, apologize for the second-child centered view)
1. At any given moment, at least one person is crying. Either baby, toddler, and/or mom, but someone will surely cry.
2. The one-childed days will appear to you as through Vaseline-smeared lenses – shining and soft and trouble-free. Now though, you will have no time for nothing except the basic routines of keeping your kids relatively clean and well-fed.
3. There will be times during the first months that you will question your right and ability to raise children.
Have I scared the s**t out of you yet? I'm sorry. I tend to do that.
Now seriously: for me, the birth of The Dandelion (my second) overlapped Ulysses' (my first) Terrible-Twos, and believe me, it was Terrible. It doesn't have to be like that for everyone. Each experience, like each child, is different. One of the moms at Ulysses' daycare had a baby 10 days after me, a sister to one of the girls in the daycare. While I was walking around exhausted and miserable, the poster girl for the campaign for wise use of contraceptives, she would be telling anyone how great things are, and how wonderful her girls are together and how easy it is. For her, the experience was perfect. I wanted to kill her. Worse, I felt like a failure, because for me it was so hard. My point – not trying to scare you, just trying to keep it real so when it's hard for you, you'll know it's not you, it's the situation.
Also, you know how you love your kid the best in the world? How you fell in love with her the moment she was born? Don't expect that for #2. I'm not saying you won't. Maybe you will fall instantly for her just as much as you did with #1. I didn't. Took me time.
Finally, my first real advice is: cut yourself as much slack as you need. Don't judge yourself too harsh. Don't judge yourself at all. And don't worry – it gets better. And it's infinite joy.
The Dandelion had the day off from daycare last Monday and shuffle as I may my logistics, I could not find him anywhere to be or anyone to be with. So I took him with me. To work. To the office. You might be thinking what I was thinking Sunday night, when it was clear no one will save me: In the name off all that is holy, what am I getting myself into? I expected a total nightmare, complete with shrieking, plugging out computers and playing with the water fountain.
Well, it was not like that at all. He was brilliant. How could it be possible, I'm sure you're all asking. (All except my mom who knows The Dandelion is the perferctess creature on the face of the earth and would be inherently brilliant in every situation whatsoever. Hi mom!). Let me clue you in on a little secret – here at Tiny Love we have toys. Yes, we really do. Plenty of them. Not only that, but my co-workers (Hi guys!) have apparently went through extensive children-affinities interviews before selected for their positions here. They were all so nice to him, I was starting to worry he will develop inflated self-importance issues. Also, the cookie jar? never had a more enthusiastic customer.
We didn't spend a whole day at the office, that would have been too much for him, (and too much cuteness for everybody else.) (I'm trying to restrain the gushing-mommy moments, bear with me), but the half day he spent with me was fabulous, and I even managed to get my work done.
Here's the Dandelion methodically reorganizing one of the toy boxes: (Proud mommy observes):
Photo credit: Adi Daniel
One of the greatest challenges of this parenting gig is the whole responsibility thing. (Well, duh). I find it hardest when my children are not feeling well. (Way to go, Mrs. Insight, so much more original. Sick children, who would have thunk it?)
Ok, inner dialog and inability to write a proper opening paragraph aside, Ulysses woke up tonight at 1AM, squirming with stomach pain. Stomach pain is one of his favorite faux-illnesses. "I can't go to school/get dressed/pick up the toys I threw on the floor 3 seconds ago, because my tummy hurts." This time though, his tummy did hurt quite a bit, and he squirmed and moaned and couldn't get back to sleep for a long while, and he kept waking up and resuming squirming and moaning and trying to go to the bathroom, with no results.
I'm not an hypochondriac person by nature, but when one of my children gets sick, a wide catalog of possible reasons opens up in my head, from the mundane to the catastrophic. Every horror story I've ever heard is instantly replayed in my head. The one big pressing question I keep asking myself is – how am I to know it's not an emergency? 99% of the times it's not an emergency but sometimes it is. How do I know?
I try to trust my instincts, and they have yet to fail me. Problem is, it's too much of a responsibility to go only with instincts. When your child is sick you want reassurance. You want to know that this stomach pain is due to too much chocolate milk, and not the result of, I don't know, an extremely early case of appendicitis. My instincts, much that I love them, don't tell me that. On the other hand, they are all I have to count on. Them and google search.
How do you deal with at-home diagnoses?
(Don't forget to join the Mother's Day Contest)
6-to-9-months-ers we are staying with you. This week we're working on your EQ skills. As usual. from the Tiny Love Developmental Center:
Age: 6-9 months
Allow the baby to discover things on her own. For example, help her to make an effort to find reach her goal. Don't make it too easy. This will help her develop independence and self-confidence.
See you next Wednesday at the next Tip of the Week!
tip of the week
It's time for another one of them Tiny Love Blog Contests! Mother's Day being a mere few weeks ahead, we want you to send us pictures of your female* relatives – mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, ants, nieces and, of course, babies.
Same as our previous contest, I've opened a flickr group where you can post your pictures (if you have a flickr account.) Need help posting a picture to a group? find it here. You can also email them to me: shiri @ tinylove . com (copy/paste and delete the spaces for my email address).
You can post pictures until May 13th, then we will choose the top 10 pictures and will put them up for voting. This time, please do not revote, thanks
The best minds of Tiny Love are currently devising all the fabulous prizes you can win. I will post an update on that soon.
Ready, set, start posting!
*The Dad, just cuz you're a guy doesn't mean you don't have to join the contest!
I've gone through most of the acronymed motherhood statuses. I've been a SAHM, a WAHM and for the past four months a full time WOH. I can write forever about the relative merits of each, and even longer about the difficulties, but there is one struggle that rises above all others in this new life as a WOH. I like to call it "The Struggle of Detowling" or "Could you please stop thinking of me as a washcloth, thankyouverymuch".
As long as I maintained my at-home status, clothing and appearance had little to no importance for me. The only witness to my less-than-presentable appearance during the day (and by that I mean, of course, staying in my PJs more often than not), was the refrigerator. And it saw a lot of me, and never once complained. On the occasions of a an actual meeting for which I had to actually put on some grown-up clothes, I usually had enough time after the kids left the house in the morning to prepare. The crucial point here: there was no physical contact between my good clothes and my kids.
All that has changed now. Now that I work at the office, they don't like it when I come in my PJs. (I can't understand why, my carebears PJs are Ka-Ute.) So I'm doing my best to dress-up, or at least up-ish, and there is only one thing standing between me and achieving this goal, other than an unlimited expense account – to my kids I am, apparently, a towel. Something icky on Ulysses' hand? Wipe it on mom's pants. The Dandelion nose is dripping? Wipe it on mom's pants. A little chocolate? A little ketchup? A little jam? Wipe it on mom's (way-too-expensive recently-bought edgy-cool-designer dry-clean-only) pants.
My mornings are spent leaping sideways away from sticky fingers and dripping noses aiming at my clothes. If by an amazing fit of fortune telling and acrobatic skills I've managed to remain spotless, then the goodbye hug will usually do me in. And if that didn't, trust me, I'll manage to step in some dog poo.
And speaking of towels:
Photo credit: Jurek Durczak
All you 6-to-9-months-ers gather! This week's tip is for you and your fine motor skills. As usual. from the Tiny Love Developmental Center:
Age: 6-9 months
Skill/Element: Fine Motor Skills
Offer your baby plastic blocks, one for each hand, to encourage her to bang them together.
See you next Wednesday at the next Tip of the Week!
tip of the week
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