Last Firsts

Knowing you are done having babies is a weird life transition. At least, it has been for me. Sometimes I feel all 35.75 of my years, but most of the time I just feel like I’m perpetually 26. It was at 26 where I thought “Eh, I could have kids.”, so it’s strange and bittersweet to think that 10 years later my family is complete and that part of my life is behind me.

It doesn’t help that this past year has flown. At times I actually feel like I am just free falling. Didn’t I JUST have a baby? How is he almost 1?

Just out for a drive.

I also  feel like all of these feelings are amplified because with him I am also experiencing my last firsts.

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Can you believe he was once this little?

The first time I held him — also the last time I will hold MY OWN newborn.

The first time I nursed him.

The first time he spit up all over me (ok, I won’t miss that).

The first time he smiled at me (which, to be honest, I don’t actually remember – #newbornhaze).

The first time he peed all over himself (now that, I remember).

The first time he heard his voice.

The first time he laughed.

The first time he sat up on his own.

The first time he slept thru the night (oh wait, that hasn’t happened yet).

And so many more…

He’s now working on some pretty major milestones – pulling up, standing, and possibly crawling and eventually walking — and this whole “last firsts” thing is really hitting home. At times, I feel pretty overwhelmed with over  it. I cried when I realized he had teeth (especially those top teeth!). I tear up when he’s playing with a baby toy that belonged to Braeden. I mean, didn’t Braeden just play with that toy and now he’s almost 8?? And I rush to record him scooting, yet again, because at ANY MOMENT he could just decide to start crawling instead.

Have you seen him scoot? It’s pretty freaking adorable.

I’m a ridiculously nostalgic person to begin with, but this whole “last firsts” thing? It might be taking me a bit over the edge. In fact, I already feel bad for Evan. He will be the last kid in our family to start Kindergarten, graduate from high school,  and move out of the house. Oh, who am I kidding, he’s not moving out of the house. Right?

I admit that I am more patient with him because I know he’s my last. I savor the small things. I don’t rush the big events or hope he hits his milestones sooner. I relish his babyness and soak in the open mouth kisses and sleepy snuggles. I get why the baby is, in fact, always “the baby.” The irony is that most of the time, they grow up the fastest.

Kissing him, without protest, while I can.

I know that there are so many “firsts” that I still have to look forward to, but as we approach the “last first birthday” I can’t help but get wrapped up in the small things. Last night, as I rocked my last baby to sleep I thought about how thankful I was to have any of these firsts… so grateful. It’s so easy to get caught up in the sleep deprivation, the stress, the anxiety, and well, the work. At times, it can really get the best of you. However, in the same breath that I will tell you it’s HARD, harder than you ever expect or imagine, I will tell you that these little people — and all of their firsts– are worth it. Every second.

Maybe if I knew how fast it would go, I might have tried to live in the moment more. Or maybe I did it just right? That’s the thing with parenthood. You never really know how you’re doing… which is what makes those firsts so much sweeter.

One-Upsmomship Can Suck It

More running later (I have a race this weekend!), but first I need to get this off my mind…

One of the headlines this week consisted of Gwyneth Paltrow telling the world that she has it SO MUCH HARDER than regular non-famous moms. Going to the office every day?? Is SO easy! We have routines! OK G.

To follow this up Mackenzie Dawson wrote a rebuttal to Gwyneth, basically stating the obvious – G doesn’t know what it’s like to be a non-famous working mom. And then proceeded to put her down.

In my opinion? Both women came across as huge a-holes and… the war on Motherhood continues. Right?

What I fail to comprehend is how ANY of these sentiments and statements make you , me, or even G a better mother. We don’t live each others lives. We don’t know each others hardships. Yes, it’s very first world problems to announce you have it so much harder because you have to work 14 hour days for 3 weeks in a row and then go on vacation — but I get the thing about the kids not having a routine or being able to see their mom (which, I do believe was the point). Sometimes being a mom – working outside the home, or staying at home – can just plain suck.

But, there’s no reward for being in the suckiest position. It just sucks more. So why the EFF are we bashing each other over it?

Are we addicted to one-upsmomship? Why do we have to keep proving that we are simultaneously the best AND the worst moms? And  do we have to tear each other down to feel good?

That said, I feel REALLY lucky. I have a lot of mom friends. Some of them work, some of them stay home, some of them work from home — and you know what? It doesn’t matter what we do. We honestly don’t talk about it. We all have similar complaints and struggles. Our kids go through the same stages and have the same ups and downs. We spend our days worrying about kids, we get pissed off when they act out, we are brimming with pride when they do something that amazes us, and we love them more than we ever imagined. But then I read this crap online and think — what the hell? Why do people care what my family does? And more importantly, why are we so definitive on how much harder our lives are?

My favorite quote lately seems to be “Be kind, for everyone for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” I mean, how freaking true is that?

Maybe we all need to continuously chant it. Be KIND. It goes a long way. Do any of us really know what we know what we doing?

And one-upsmomship? Yeah, it can SUCK it.

Let’s commiserate — what’s hard for you this week? For me, my pump is sucking — or rather, it’s lacking some suck and it’s pissing me off. I think the motor is dying. Plus, E is still waking up twice a night. *Yawn*

On The Night You Were Born {2}

On the night you were born,
the moon shone with such wonder
that the stars peeked in
to see you
and the night wind whispered,
‘Life will never be the same.’

Because there had never been
anyone like you…
ever in the world.”

~Nancy Tillman

5 years ago, I couldn’t have told you what my baby looked like. Well, except for smooshy. And soft. With a good set of lungs. And that she took her sweet time to arrive. Obviously, she wanted to make a grand entrance.

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I couldn’t have guessed her personality, her hair color, her eye color, what her voice sounded like, or how she would write her name.

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Olivia Caroline 3.26.2009 8lbs, 12oz, 21 inches

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5 years ago I didn’t understand what it would be like to be a mother of two. Or how different it would (eventually) be raising a girl.

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Five years I knew it was more than just the endless amounts of love. Than what kind of bedding, diapering, feeding, and sleeping decisions I was going to make. So much more. But I didn’t know this baby or how she would impact our lives.

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I didn’t know my heart could grow. I didn’t understand how I would, and could, love another little person. I didn’t realize that having a second baby, while familiar, is still different and would still change the way I saw the world.

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Five years ago – today – I was blessed with a little firecracker, who has grown into the smartest, most beautiful, loving, and determined little girl.

What a difference a year makes!!

With light brown hair, green eyes, a smile that lights up the room — and has longest lashes in the world.

Those lashes...

She is sassy and witty – and already too cool.

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She's such a nut.

She loves to sing, dance, and entertain – and the furthest thing from shy that you have ever met.

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She loves books, dolls, Legos, coloring, princesses, puzzles, running, and most of all… her brothers.

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She is stubborn. So incredibly stubborn and strong willed. She proved to us that all babies are different and from the minute she came home, she’s had her own voice and done things HER WAY.

She says she wants to be like me when she grows up, and I take that as the biggest compliment in life. Even if she changes her mind in a few years.

Being a mom a second time isn’t THAT different – except there’s more of everything and less surprises. It’s still better than I anticipated and I still have NO idea what I am doing.

Five is still a really big deal. There are now opinions and fashion choices. She can write her name and sentences, do simple math, and is learning how to read. She’s a little person, instead of a baby. It’s hard to believe.

This is apparently not my daughter, but my pet baby tiger. At least she's a baby tiger who can rock some boots.

It’s hard to squeeze five life changing years into one post, but I can only hope the next five years are equally life changing, in the most wonderful ways.

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It's class/cap & gown picture day and her smile is ready! I really can't believe she's going to be 5 next week.

Happy Birthday to my sweet and sassy Olivia! Shakespeare was describing YOU when he wrote “Though she be but little, she is fierce!”

Sometimes I think "Where did she come from??" #luluturns5

May you carry this trait with you now and always. Along with a little piece of my heart.

Save Some For The Fish, Dude

I don’t normally post about Evan’s “firsts” like this, but, well, this first is memorable. It’s not necessarily memorable in a good way, but if he is traumatized when he gets older… we know why.

It started out innocently enough. We made an impromptu visit to my dad’s place on Sunday. A few of my cousins were down for Spring Break (oh, college kids – they’re so cute) and did I mention that my dad lives at the beach? A beach that is rarely inhabited?

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Yeah, it doesn’t suck.

In any case, we’ve visited my dad plenty since E was born – but we had yet to take him down to the beach/into the ocean and figured this would be as good a time as any.

First we introduced him to sand.

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Surprisingly, he didn’t eat it. Or even attempt to eat it. He was just happy about touching it.

Then, our grand idea was to gradually introduce him to waves. We wanted to sit him at the foot of the ocean and let a wave gently roll over him. Except the first wave didn’t make it to him.

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So we decided to move him up.

You know where this is going, right?

Yeah. A huge wave came out of nowhere and basically bowled him over.

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Geez. Save some for the fish, dude.

I somehow managed to snap this picture WHILE I was screaming. Like seriously screaming at the top of my lungs. Thankfully, Dan was right behind him and scooped him up as fast as possible (the rip tide is FIERCE – we don’t play around here).

My littlest guy was not impressed, obviously – although he calmed down after I wrapped him up.

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Pretty sure he was thinking…W.T.F.

We later tried to dip his feet in the ocean, but surprisingly, he was NOT having it.

Earlier, a wave tried to eat him. He is traumatized. #winningatparenting

It actually took a lot of effort to get him into the pool, and then later, the bath.

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Thankfully, everyone else managed to have fun and it was the perfect beach day.

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Let's go fly a kite...

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As you can imagine, the mom guilt level is high. I’m all for letting my kids learn through experiences, but this was definitely not the “first wave” experience I was imagining. At the same time, how can you NOT laugh at this? I mean… that picture. It’s priceless.

Thankfully, E has bounced back quickly.

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We’re back in the bathing business (good thing since it’s his 2nd favorite activity of the day — after eating) and we’ll try the beach again. Someday.

I Want To Look Sexy

My daughter has hit an age where she does and says things without FULLY understanding what they mean, but has an idea they means SOMETHING.

This weekend she told me “I want to look sexy.”

Gasp. Choke.

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“Umm.. excuse me?”

My reaction to this was to tell her no she didn’t and we don’t use that word. I mean, really. Who wants their almost 5-year old going around telling people she’s sexy?

But then I thought about it. What does sexy REALLY mean?

Is it Victoria Secret models prancing around in their underwear?

Is it Miley Cyrus swinging naked from a wrecking ball? (still can’t get that imagine out of my head)

Is it shaky your booty for the world to see?

Is it posting pictures of yourself on Instagram wearing revealing clothes?

OR… none of the above?? (ding, ding, ding, ding ding)

I don’t know about you, but when I think of sexy, I think of someone who has confidence in themselves. It sounds so generic, but it’s not just ONE thing. They like how they look and feel. They are comfortable in their skin.It’s not about being naked. It’s not about showing off their “stuff.” It’s not about being a certain height or weight. It’s not about being beautiful.

The Merriam-Webster definition of sexy is “sexually attractive or exciting.” Now, I’m obviously not going to have a conversation about my daughter being sexually attractive when she is 5, but in the back of my mind I have noted that it’s obviously something I need to talk to her about. Do I WANT my daughter to feel sexy? At some point, when she is an adult, yes. Wouldn’t YOU want that for anyone?

Do I want her to feel sexy now? No. Duh. There are a lot of adjectives that I would prefer for her to use to describe herself. Strong. Confident. Loving. Healthy. Beautiful. Smart. Helpful. Empathetic. Caring. Friendly. Trustworthy. I could go on.

At the same time, I think we need to take the stigma away from “sexy.” Yes, it has the word sex in it – but it doesn’t necessarily have to describe how you feel  in the bedroom, right?

Sexy can be how you feel after a good workout.

Sexy can be how you feel in a new outfit.

Sexy can be how you feel on a date.

Sexy can be how you feel at the beach, pool, or on vacation.

Sexy can be how you look after getting 8 hours of interrupted sleep (remind me how that feels again?).

Sexy can be sitting in your PJs all day doing nothing but relaxing, watching tv/reading a good book.

Sexy can be spending time with your family.

Sexy is how YOU define it. And you don’t need to show your boobs, your hoo-ha, or  throw away to your integrity to get it.

I don’t think sexy is a word that children and teenagers should ever be using to describe themselves. It is an ADULT word, but we shouldn’t be shy about WHY it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Sexy is NOT bad. Sexy IS natural. Using the word sexy when you’re 10, however, is not.

So, the next time my daughter says she wants to feel sexy — instead of hushing her up and making it seem taboo, I’m going to let her know that some day, she will be. Let’s just not rush it…

melu

Do you hate the word sexy? Do you think it’s overused? How do you define it?

PS – Parenting is hard.