Parenting, Uncategorized

My Answer Will Always Be Yes.

I’m sure, not unlike many new mothers, I was totally unprepared for motherhood. I guess no one can really prepare you for what’s about to happen but I was particularly not at all prepared for the physical and mental exhaustion. There were many days that I was so sleep deprived I could have fallen asleep standing up. Sleep was so very important to me; I’d give up food before sleep. I was also very honest about my position on bed sharing. My position was simply that there would be no bed sharing. I adore my children but I adore them even more when we all can retreat to our own spaces, specially our own beds, at the end of the day.

I was particularly comfortable one night about two years ago, stretched out in my tempur-pedic dream bed with the down comforter covering just about everything except the very top of my head. I was mid-dream when I felt a poke. Startled, I looked up to find my son at my bed side. He leaned in and whispered, “Mommy, can I sleep with you?”

My kids have been historically great sleepers. Truthfully though, early on I had to intervene a bit to get them to become such great sleepers. I read a lot of books, took the parts that worked for us and helped them learn to sleep well. So, I know what the experts have to say about kids getting up in the middle of the night. They are all fairly consistent and give similar guidelines. If your child ever wakes in the middle of the night you should proceed with the following steps:

  1. Under no circumstances do you ever let a child in your bed during the night. If you allow it even once, you might as well hand over the keys to your child and get used to the fact you will now be held under the rule of a toddler. Cheerios and finger paint will dominate your life. (As if it doesn’t already.)
  2. Make no acknowledgement of your child. Do not communicate in any way and especially don’t let them know that you care. Showing concern will only show weakness and they will try to capitalize on that.
  3. Take the child by the hand and walk him or her back to their respective bed. Cover the child and walk quickly back to your own bed.
  4. When the crying child comes running back to you, again, do not communicate in any way with said child, simply carry or drag him or her back to their bed. You might have to throw them in. Now run back to your own bed and cover as quickly as possible in hopes that they will leave you alone and the nightmare has ended.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until dawn. Be aware that you will not be able to drive or operate heavy machinery for at least 4-6 weeks.

As soon as I heard his question, all of this ran through my mind. Is this when I need to walk him back to his bed? Am I opening myself up for trouble if I let him in? We’ve all been sleeping so well! Ordinarily, unless my bed is on fire, I see absolutely no reason to get out of it, especially in the middle of the night. I looked at the clock and it was 1:18am. “Yes,” and I pulled him into my bed where he settled in between my husband and me. After that, we all slept through the night.

It’s been about 600+ nights now and each and every night he comes to my bedside and asks, “Mommy can I sleep with you?” I think it’s so incredibly sweet that he continues to ask. I wonder sometimes if he’s just really polite or understands already that you should take nothing for granted and things can change at any moment. For now, my answer will always be yes. It’s actually sweeter than I could have ever imagined. He snuggles and I snuggle back. I often feel his small hand grab mine during the early morning hours when no one is really awake. Weekend mornings are a dream. Don’t even get me started on holidays. There is something very special about the time we can share like this. I am all too aware that it will end soon. There will eventually be one night where no one will be at my bedside asking if they can sleep with me. My answer will always be yes.

So, I say to my sweet prince, ask me, ask me every night if you need to. Come to my bedside when you are lonely, scared, or simply just miss your mommy. Come to me and ask your question, knowing that no matter what, my answer will always, undoubtedly, be yes.

Uncategorized

A Little Fantasy for My Reality….

Today I am obsessed. Strange, because I just found out about my new obsession last night but I am obsessed with having boudoir pictures taken. I found out that someone we know is a photographer and she is doing beautiful, glamorous pictures of women in various stages of undress. They are so beautiful and well done I am obsessed with having them done! I know it’s odd to have an overnight obsession but it really makes total sense. Believe me, I am fully aware of my physical appearance, and well, lack of fullness but I still think I need to do this. I know that I have the glamorous, sexy body of a thirteen year-old boy but hey, I can at least rock a pair of boy shorts. I think doing something like this will help balance out my life as a hands-on mother of two. Since my day-to-day life isn’t necessarily that glamorous, I think having pictures like this will help me keep a healthy balance and remember that underneath that crust of the morning’s oatmeal on my sleeve there lives a hot-blooded woman.

So, if none other than being totally fun and indulgent, I believe that I, like many other moms need to take a full set of boudoir pictures for the following reasons:

  • There is a distinct possibility that at any given time you may find one or more of the following in my purse: Perry the Platypus’ hat, rocks, dead flowers, and/or used kleenex.
  • I often pee with one child on my lap and the other wanting to know exactly what I am producing. Clearly we have no boundaries.
  • Without a second thought I will use my shirt to wipe my son’s snotty nose.
  • I sleep in the same kind of shirts as my husband.
  • What a better place to hide my child’s booger than in my jeans pocket?
  • There are times while we are watching television that I actually ask Audrey to stop talking just so I can hear what is being said. Look, I haven’t seen an episode of The Real Housewives in so damn long it’s no wonder I want to be sure I don’t miss Sister Bear’s anecdote or what great idea just flew into Thomas’ funnel.
  • Until last week’s purchase, all of my jeans were from before I had Audrey. That makes them over 5 years old. Age isn’t really the biggest issue, though. You see these jeans were from Old Navy and thanks to a good friend who enlightened me that those jeans are actually “gateway” mom jeans. Oh.the.horror.
  • I’m not the least bit embarrassed when I am verbally praised for doing such a good job on the potty. In public.

So do you see why I’m obsessed? Now I just have to find a small window of time when I can get all people big and small out of my house so I can become the woman who my wonderful husband first fell in love with. A few moments in time when no one needs me, no one has to tell me about a boo-boo, and no one needs me to find a missing toy. A few moments to have fun, and well most likely miss them.

Happy Mothering,

Melanie

Uncategorized

She Knows Stuff…

This is a picture of my daughter when she was about 14 months old. I love this picture, it’s one of my favorites especially because she’s not smiling. For whatever reason, I have a fondness for pictures without smiles. Even without a huge grin on her face, the picture truly captures her personality and, I think shows how beautiful she is. I remember when the pictures arrived and I was so excited to share them with friends and family. I showed them to one friend who remarked almost immediately at how her expression is so telling. “It’s like she knows stuff” my friend Kay said to me. “This little girl knows more than you think!” Of course we laughed about it but for years Kay’s reaction has stayed with me and I often find myself going back to this picture in my mind and wondering, just how much exactly does she know? How much more does she know then she is actually letting on? After our conversation over lunch recently I wonder if she does, in fact, know more than me…

Audrey has grandparents on both sides of her family. Lucky for her she actually has a great-grandmother on Brian’s side! On my side she has three grandparents. My mother is Sugar, my step-father is Opa, and my father is Pere. I have not up until this point discussed much about this arrangement except that Audrey knows they are all part of her family and that they all love her very much. She knows, clearly that Pere is my dad and Sugar is my mom but how Opa fits into the picture hasn’t actually been discussed. There is no real reason to anyway. All three of them are part of our family and we all love and care about one another.

We had an impromptu lunch date recently while we were waiting out a bad rainstorm. It was really more like a snack since our “lunch” consisted of french fries and chocolate malts! We had just left a clothing store where Audrey talked a lot about how much Sugar would love it. “Oh mom look, Sugar would love this!” She told the saleslady how her Sugar loves the color orange and that she would just love the jewelry. Fresh on her mind she posed a question, “Mom, did Sugar marry Opa?” From the moment I saw her lips forming the words I knew exactly the path down which we were headed.

“Yes, Sugar and Opa are married. Why?”

“Well, how can Sugar marry Opa if she was married to Pere?”

As the whirl of the blenders seemed to become the only thing I could hear, I began to mentally prepare carefully for my next steps. How can you possibly know to even ask this? How in the world do I explain this? Is divorce a topic to discuss with my four-year-old?

I was honest. She had a valid, albeit surprisingly deep, question. I told her that Sugar and Pere were married but that they aren’t anymore. I told her that the adult word is called ‘divorce.’ She pulled a face at that so I reframed it and said that they broke up. “You mean they don’t like each other anymore?” Oh my precious, precious child. I felt like I was looking into the soul of wisdom tucked inside a four-year-old body. With curls.

Again I was honest. “That’s part of it, yes.”

The conversation ended as quickly as it started. My answers and explanations were all that she needed. I reminded her again that what’s most important is that everyone loves her and that we all love each other. Families come in all shapes and sizes and it’s the love we have for each other is all that really matters.

As I enjoyed the last few sips of my malt and saw this picture in my mind and I thought about Kay remarking how she looks so wise. I wonder for a moment where this beautiful, wonderful soul will lead us next. Clearly I am not leading these adventures. No, I am at least smart enough to recognize that I’m here to nurture and support her; not direct her.

The week after she was born I wrote in her baby book about my greatest wishes for her.  My wish for both of my children is for their world to be bigger than mine. I have this flicker of a sense sometimes that she will easily soar beyond the limits to have her world be just as big as she wants it to be.

Happy Mothering!

Melanie

Uncategorized

A Few Random Thoughts…

Just a few things that have been clouding my brain lately…

  • When shopping for a vacation condo, the descriptions should read something more like this: “Two bedrooms, two baths, with view of the gulf. Gourmet kitchen and luxury bath. Convection microwave  that is certain to confuse the hell out of you. Like pancakes? Try our pillows.”
  • It is only when you being to feel more like your old self and find that inner confidence that you realize you have a glob of dried oatmeal stuck to your bikini top.
  • Why is the dishwasher ALWAYS full of clean dishes?
  • I think the invention of the ‘Big Gulp’ is where we went wrong, or at least off course. I mean, does anyone really need 64 ounces of any kind of liquid at any one given sitting? 64? I would argue probably not.
  • How does one completely forget how to make dumplings? After three tries I think it’s time to give up.
  • I know it’s totally weird but I like the way my baby’s lovie smells after he’s slept with it all night long. (Yes, I know it’s been drooled on.)
  • No matter how well I have slept the night before, at any given time during the day I am at least a little bit tired.
  • Even tired, there are times at any given point in the day when I feel a flutter of happiness and I can hear my heart whisper, “I love my life.”

Happy Mothering,

Melanie