Category Archives: children

Before I Was A Mom…

fall 05 (Custom)

…crying children were like nails on a chalkboard. Now? I frantically search until I find the source to make sure a parent is there taking care of the distraught little one.

…I slept as late as I wanted to on the weekends, which wasn’t very late, but still. I slept until I wanted to get up. Now? Wake up call in our house is 6am. Every day. Every. Single. Day.

…my husband and I could have a little romp in the hay, mid-afternoon, take a little nap afterwards and do it all over again. Now? We have to schedule time. And then keep/remember/have the energy for “the date.” Afterwards we say, “Mmmmm. That was nice. Let’s not wait 3 months for the next time, k?”

…having the money to go out was no big deal. We did what we felt like. When we felt like it. Now? We have to tack on $40-50 more to the budget for the babysitter. Ouch!

…I always remembered to shave my legs. Now? Please don’t look!

…I had seen every single Best Picture nominee for the Academy Awards. Printed out my ballots and threw a big bash so we could eat popcorn and Twizzlers and comment on the tuxes, dresses, and  speeches. Now? Do they still have those awards shows? After our nightly Curious George episode our tv is off.

…I loved my husband. Now? I adore, cherish, am continually amazed by, LOVE my husband. He is such a wonderful father.

…hugs were nice. Now? Hugs are sticky, slimy, sweet smelling, cozy little wonders all day long.

…my skin was fresh with not a wrinkle in sight. Now? I’ve earned every single “laugh line” quite honestly. My children set me into a fit of giggles at least once a day.

…I wondered how I was going to make a difference in the world. Now? I’m shaping the future with my bare hands.

(Sorry for the re-run. My sister is in town (for 10 days!) and she doesn’t even know I blog. And I’m not telling her now. So, I’m going to be a bit scarce. I’ll try to sneak online but in the meantime, here are a few of my favorite posts. Enjoy your week!)

7 Comments

Filed under children, Moms, Motherhood

19 Years Ago. And Counting.

19 years ago today a mother-to-be was anxious and nervous and functioning on about 2 hours sleep.

19 years ago today they stopped for dinner at Applebee’s because they didn’t care where they ate and they weren’t really hungry. They poked at their food. They couldn’t concentrate. They just wanted to go already.

19 years ago today they missed the exit and would have been panicked that they would be late but they were already 2 hours early. No worries. Two anxious, about to be first time parents had planned for a wrong turn.

19 years ago today they were not at a hospital. They were at the airport. Because their baby had flown over 24 hours from Seoul, Korea to be a part of their family.

19 years ago today they met an amazing woman, a birthmother who wanted to be part of their homecoming so she could experience the joy she had brought to another family.

19 years ago today people coming off the plane smiled and congratulated the new parents who looked past their heads, trying to get a glimpse of their baby girl. And the passengers waited to see the baby meet her parents for the first time.

19 years ago today two new parents, some of the passengers and one baby cried (for different reasons) and then the passengers clapped, congratulating this new family.

19 years ago today the most precious little bundle of joy was placed in my arms.

And I will never let her go.

Ever.

Happy Gotcha Day, Sweetie! You will always be my sweet, adorable angel!

16 Comments

Filed under Adoption, children, Motherhood

The Best Age To Explain The Birds And The Bees? It Doesn’t Matter.

(The following post was inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, Christine at Naptime Writing. Read on to make yourself feel better about any successes or failures you may have with “the sex talk.”)

My mother was  a nurse. And she had me in the 60′s. My dad wore a peace sign necklace and fashioned a dove with an olive branch out of coat hanger, wrapped lights around it and hung it in our living room window for the entire length of the Vietnam War.

I saw my parents naked. They didn’t parade around the home but when I slammed into that bathroom, pleading for more sunflower seeds and yogurt, they never covered up. They just told me, “No. You’ll spoil your dinner.”

They were very open about sex. And what it was/is. We never called our vaginas our hoo-hoos. A penis was a penis. My mother proudly  tells the story about the time the babysitter got an earful from her (prodigy) 6 year old daughter of all the proper body parts and what sex really is. (I was nothing, if not a bit precocious.) 

I’ve followed my parents open, free-minded example. I’ve done the same with all of my children. When the ultra-sound technician pointed out my son’s “winkie” on the screen my 10 year old daughter could not fight back the giggles. I was bouncing so much  on the table trying to hold back the laughter, the tech had to stop the exam.

“What?” she asked. No one said a word. My husband and daughter just shrugged.

But in the car, all the way home? “Winkie?!? Doesn’t she know it’s a  PENIS?!? What’s a winkie?!?” my daughter said over and over, cracking herself up every time.

My boys know a penis from a winkie. And they’re not afraid to let me know, either. “Mom? There’s something wrong with my penis!”, “Mom! My penis stands up by itself! Watch!” and “Mom. Did you know that sometimes my penis does stuff that I didn’t even tell it to do?”

But like the story my mother also likes to tell, I’m realizing that truly understanding sex and the significance of our private body parts is wholly dependent on brain development. And maturity. And  5th grade.

“Mom? Is this what sex REALLY is?” I proceed to explain, in fairly graphic detail, the sex act. My mother is surprised.

“Yes, that’s what sex is,” she responds, “We’ve talked to you about this before. And there’s that book we looked at together that explains everything (well, not everything) that we’ve looked through a number of times. Do you want to read it again together?”

“But you and Dad don’t do that, right?” I’m incredulous. I’m completely weirded out. And I remember this moment like it were yesterday.

“Well, when two people love each other…”

Her voice trails off. Because by now, I’ve screamed “Gross!” and run out of the room and slammed my bedroom door.

I couldn’t look my parents in the eye for a week. (My mom always cracks up at this part of the story.)

Just the other day, my youngest son (He’s 8 but so is his brother…for another few weeks, anyway. They’re 10 months apart in age. But that’s another biology lesson. Actually, it involves adoption but it was  a fun tie-in, so work with me here.)….my youngest son is in the bathroom, about to hop in the shower. I set the water temp for him and insist that he hurry up and take off his clothes. We’re wasting water. He slaps his hands over his penis and says, “But you can see my penis. I need my privacy.”

Yes. This is the kid that grabs constantly so that we have to have a code word in public. (“Scratch” and then he’s supposed to bring his hands to his head and scratch behind his ear in order to move his hands away) This is the kid who discovers new things about his penis and has to share them with me, his dad, his brother. Not his sister, though. She put a stop to that early. This is the kid who bounds into the bathroom like clockwork after I have stepped into the shower to ask for: snacks, permission to play xBox or watch TV. Suddenly, HE needs his privacy.

You see? It’s all relative. It all depends on where your child is in his development. You can talk about it from the time they are wee-little ones, on and on. You can wait until they’re 10 and try to explain it then.

And their reaction, when they finally “get” what sex really is, will be the same.

Delayed.

Complete and total shock.

And when you least expect it.


4 Comments

Filed under All In A Day's Work, children, Hey! That Reminds Me!

If Only We Could Wrap Their Hearts In Bubble Wrap

We attempt to protect our children from the weather, illness, accidents and the boogie man. Most of the time we are successful. Sometimes, we are not.

There is one thing that proves to be a fruitless fight.

Meanness.

“Mommy? I had a horrible day today,” #2son says to me over cantaloupe and crackers after school. I settle in for his tale of woe.

It contained the usual. Dropping his jacket in a puddle. He didn’t get to sit in his favorite seat on the bus with his favorite friend. They ran out of pizza at lunch and he had to have chicken drumsticks. Which he loves. But still.

The worst thing that happened? It was during the fire drill. They were all filing outside and a younger kid, a kid in the 1st grade, was walking ahead of #2son. They were to wait under the tree and Mr. 1stgrade moved a branch aside and looked like he was holding it for #2son to pass. But just as #2son got close, as he was smiling and starting to say thank-you, Mr. 1stgrade smiled and let the branch go. Hard. Smacking #2son in the face. And then, Mr. 1stgrade laughed.

“Why would he do that?” my son said with tears starting to fall, “That was so mean.”

The look of innocence in his eyes broke my heart. And he wasn’t crying because of the sting on his face. He was remembering the offense. He was tearing up because of the sting in his heart.

“Why was he smiling? And why did he laugh? It wasn’t funny. Nobody else laughed,” my son implored, trying to make sense of such meanness. “And he was younger than me. I was about to thank him. He doesn’t even know me. Why would he do that?” he asked again.

I had no answer. I hugged him. And said something about sad, angry people and how they lash out at others because they want people to hurt as much as they do. But it was no consolation.

And my son’s innocence was shattered.

How do we protect our children from mean people? And if we could, should we? When our oldest daughter was dealing with some mean-girl shenanigans years ago my husband said, “Better she experience this now, when we can help guide her rather than protect her and then have her experience it when she moves out, when we’re not around to help.” I suppose he’s right. Reluctantly, I agreed with him. But why do we have to experience meanness at all?

I can make him wear his seat belt or his bike helmet. I can feed him Flintstone vitamins and make sure he drinks his milk. I put him to bed at a reasonable hour. I know his friends. I read to him and he reads to me. I do everything I can to make sure he is safe and loved.

But I can’t wrap his heart in bubble wrap.

But oh, how I wish I could.

12 Comments

Filed under All In A Day's Work, children, parenting

Stupid Things People Say To Families Formed Through International Adoption #38

We were in the grocery store. My daughter was a toddler. A elderly woman approached us.

“Is your husband Chinese?”

“No,” I said.

“Then you adopted her?”

“Yes,” I smiled.

“Ewww. I could never do that.”

I hugged my daughter tightly and said, “And we are so glad you didn’t!”

15 Comments

Filed under children, People

Tires and Guns and Mom’s Epic Fail. Or Was It?

A car sped past us and ran the light turning yellow to red.

My eight-year-old, in all of his wisdom says, “I know how to stop him, Dad. You take a gun and you shoot and you blow out his tires.”

I’m too shocked to speak. Thoughts are bombarding my brain. Epic fail, Mom. How does he know this? The TVs are programmed PG or less. How could he have seen such a thing?  Where did I fail my son? That’s it. No more television. No more computer. No more video games. I’m unplugging everything as soon as we get home.

Meanwhile, my husband, very calmly, says, “That would be a very dangerous thing to do. It could cause an accident, not to mention the fact that you would ruin the tires and tires are expensive.”

Not missing a beat, #1son says, “Well, Dad. That’s why he should have a retirement plan.”

Well. At least I raised a kid with a quick wit and a sense of humor.

12 Comments

Filed under children, funny

Happy Leap Day, Fellow Leapers! And A Special Shout Out To My Little Guy. Happy 2nd Birthday, Sweetie!

“In 45 minutes, he’s going to be a Leap Day baby!”

I smiled at my mid-wife and said, “Yeah. That would be so co………..ARRRRRRRR!”

I was trying to say “That would be so cool!” but I had another contraction instead.

I had been pushing for almost 2 hours. In labor for 17. I was tired but still excited. And ready. Oh-so-ready to meet my little guy.

In what seemed like a minute I heard, “This is it. One final push.”

And he was here. Perfect and sweet and not crying. Aren’t they supposed to cry?

People started rushing into the room almost the second he arrived. Equipment wheeled in. People. So many people.

“There was no indication….” I heard my mid-wife say, her voice trailing off. The doctor seemed to scowl. He said something I didn’t understand and the room was turning white and starting to spin. My husband grabbed the nurse, alarmed and said something to me. I managed to squeak out, “Stay with him!” as they lowered an oxygen mask over my face.

The pregnancy was a surprise. And because of my age and infertile history, I was high risk. But quite honestly, except for the near constant morning sickness (that didn’t leave until month eight) I had a breezy, easy pregnancy. My blood pressure was always awesome. My blood sugar never spiked. He grew just the way he was supposed to. OK. So, he was almost 2 weeks late. And almost 10 pounds. He was just a healthy, growing boy who loved his momma. Still is.

Almost 2 hours later my husband came back into the room. Without him.

“He’s supposed to be with us,” I said. “We signed up for the rooming-in suite.”

“There were some problems,” my husband said, “But he’s fine now. They need to observe him for a little longer and then they’ll bring him to us.” He tried to hug me but I pushed him away.

“No,” I said. “He’s supposed to be with us. Where is he?”

“They’re taking good care of him. He’ll be fine. We’ll see him soon.”

I was tired. Confused. Exhausted. This was not what I had planned. My husband was going to cut the cord. (No time. The nurse did it.) They were going to lay him on me. We were going to take pictures. I was going to nurse, right then and there. (But they had to whisk him away.)

There was meconium in the amniotic fluid that didn’t present until the very end. I was busy pushing, breathing and focusing on my husband. My husband was watching the worried look of the nurse who left my mid-wife’s side to call in support. Our baby was blueish when he arrived. And not crying. Barely breathing. Everyone looked worried but in charge. My husband was terrified and when he saw me almost losing consciousness, petrified.

I had no idea anything was serious. I just remember not hearing him cry and then wanting everyone to just leave me alone and let me sleep. I fought with the nurse, tried to push her away in my half conscious state.

It was scary. It did not go as planned. And 6 hours later they brought my precious little bundle to me.

Born on Leap Day at 12:06am. 9 lbs. 12 oz.

The pediatrician on duty brought him to me. “Congratulations,” he smiled, “You’ve just given birth to a happy, healthy 2 month old.”

He was big. And he was healthy. A clean bill of health. After cleaning his precious little lungs and his precious little body. After x-rays, blood tests and observation. He was fine. He was ours.

Our precious little Leap Day baby.

Happy, happy 2nd Birthday, sweet boy! (Yes. I know you’re really 8. But you know how Mommy loves to tease!)

11 Comments

Filed under children, Holiday

Thank You, Mom. For Saving My Life. Again.

The first time, we were hiking. On a trail we know and love but hasn’t been properly maintained. We won’t be hiking it again until the boys are older, due to the dangers that lurk, but we didn’t know this at the time.

A narrow portion of the trail with a steep drop-off.  Tree roots underfoot. A broken railing.

“Stay to the right. As close as you can,” my husband cautioned.

There was no talking. Only concentration. And then it happened. My not-so-graceful 7-year-old stumbled and tumbled over the edge. With reflexes of a Jedi, I grabbed his flailing arm. He dangled for a moment in mid-air and I yanked him toward me.

His eyes wide with fear, he said, “Mom! You saved my life!” And then tears started to well up. In both of our eyes.

…..

Yesterday. Giggling in the TV room. I walked in. Two little boys, cuddled on the couch together. One boy at each end, sharing a blanket.

As soon as I walked into the room both boys hid under the blanket. I knew something was up. I yanked the blanket off them. Their little legs were buried in Starburst wrappers. An entire bag, gone. All before 9am. Breakfast of champions.

I couldn’t help but laugh. It was a comical scene. Two little boys, sneaking candy for breakfast. Succeeding – at least until Mom walks into the room. I’m a horrible disciplinarian and I own it. With my laughter, they begin laughing, too.

And then it happened. #2son started choking.

Any first aid training I’ve ever had started racing through my mind. As long as he’s coughing, it’s OK. Don’t do anything. But the Heimlich maneuver. I know how to do it for an infant. I know how to do it for an adult. But a 7-year-old? Will I crush him? What if I don’t do it hard enough. Ok. Calm. If it gets to that point have #1son call 911.

“Can you walk?”

Eyes wide with fear he nods, yes.

“Go into the bathroom,” I direct him. I don’t know why I want him in the bathroom. I suppose because I’m envisioning squeezing the guts out of him and anticipating his vomit and offending candy all over the place. After all, I just vacuumed.

“It’s OK,” I tell him. “Keep coughing. It WILL come out.”

I don’t know how I’m staying calm. Three minutes, I remind myself. Only three minutes without oxygen. How fast can the ambulance get here?

And then it happens. He can’t cough. He looks at me, afraid, and his skin is starting to turn colors.

I shout, “Open your mouth. Wide! Wider!”

I jam my hand in his mouth and yank on a enormous gob of chewed Starburst. It’s stuck on his back teeth and blocking his airway. The coughing starts again and the huge blob lands in the sink.

He grabs me around my middle, holding me for dear life. I hold him exactly the same way.

“Thanks, Mom. For saving my life again.”

Again?

Oh. That’s right. Two months ago, on our hike.

“I hope I’m here, every single time, to save your life.” And I hug him even closer.

…..

When things like this happen. When I hear of the teenager playing hockey, who in a freak accident, is now paralyzed. When a child dies in a bicycle accident. I just want to wrap my children in bubble wrap. Or keep them at home and pad the rooms. Feed them liquids and finely diced solid food. Make wearing bicycle helmets a prerequisite for leaving the house.

But I can’t. Life is full of risk. In order to fully live, we must take risks. Every single day. Small risks. Big risks. Calculated risks. Split-second risks.

We can’t live in a bubble. And our children shouldn’t either.

But, dag gum it, I’m going to be there, every step of the way, with hands at the ready.

To save his life.

If I can.

14 Comments

Filed under All In A Day's Work, children, Growing Up, Lessons Learned

The Case Of The Errant Shoe Via Kid Logic

“#2 son! Why is your shoe here on the floor?”

“Because I was spying on you.”

“But why is one shoe on the floor and not with your other shoe in the shoe basket?”

Exasperated sigh. “Because I was SPYING on you when you were in the kitchen.”

“Oh. So, what were you doing? Hiding behind it?”

“Well……” he stalled, thinking for a moment. “Didja see me?”

“No.”

“Then it worked. Didn’t it?”

…..

Yep. They crack me up. Every. Single. Day.

3 Comments

Filed under children, funny

Elf On The Shelf, Or Lamp Shade, Or Wherever Else You Put Your Stupid Elf

(This post is inspired by a post found on People I Want To Punch In The Throat. And while the title of the blog suggests violence that I don’t condone, the writing there is clever and funny. I have only recently discovered this blog but plan on returning for further research. Feel free to visit and come to your own conclusions.)

I have a friend. A dear friend who has an Elf On The Shelf. And an addiction to Facebook. During this time of year, I find that combination to be deadly.

To my ego.

Every other day she has a post of the clever places they find their Elf every morning. Along with clever little tag lines.

Example #1 – Hiding in a lamp, with just his little hat peeking out. “Should we tell him his hat is giving him away? Or just leave him in the dark?”

Example #2 – In a large empty jar with lid tightly closed. “Oops. Looks like Elf has found himself in a pickle.”

Example #3 – Hiding deep inside the Christmas tree. “Can’t see the Elf for the tree.”

I could go on. But I won’t. It depresses me too much.

Quite honestly, I had never heard of Elf On The Shelf until we moved to this subdivision. My rudimentary research discovers that his concept is old. But his commercial phenomenon is recent. Apparently, the Elf is a spy for Santa Claus. He sneaks away every night once the family is tucked in for the night, files his report with Santa and then returns by daylight, always in a new spot and typically up to some mischief of his own.

Oh. Yeah. Like I need one more Christmas chore to add to my list.

So, like any sane mother, I reject this holiday hobgoblin. My days are chock full of cookie baking, present wrapping, mantel dressing and shopping, cooking and a little more shopping. Who has time for 25 days of elfin mischief to create?

A lot of moms, apparently.

So many, that now, my children have been exposed to the little guy. And they want to know how Santa knows if they’re naughty or nice.

Santa peeks in on you himself. You boys are two of his favorites.

Cue eye rolls and exasperated sighs.

“Mom. Really? Because Nick’s Elf left him candy canes. Santa doesn’t leave us candy canes after he checks up on us.”

He saves that for Christmas Day. He knows about your last dentist appointment.

“If the leprechauns can visit us how come we don’t have an elf visit?”

I repeat the “Santa’s favorite” response. To no avail.

“Well, Sydney’s Elf bakes her cupcakes and cleans up her room.”

Hey! I bake you cupcakes and clean up your room.

“It’s not the same, Mom!”

Nope.

It’s not.

Stupid Elf.

11 Comments

Filed under children, Holiday, Moms