Reflection: 1/11/2015 |Mommy Materials

Reflection 1.11.15

 

Baby A was still napping and as I did chores around the house a documentary special played on the tiny television in the kitchen.  It was about the growing population in India and the ripple effect on families there.  While I listened about a boy who married at 10 and became a father at 13 I stepped into our laundry room and moved my mattress pad and fitted sheet from the washing machine to the dryer.  As he continued that the marriage was arranged and he didn’t even know what marriage was, I filled the washing machine with my flat sheet, pillow cases (all five of them from our bed), and my light quilt.

I walked back into my oversized kitchen with a breakfast nook that we seldom utilize and picked up a cinnamon roll left over from my husbands late morning snack.  As he explained his 14 hour work days I stood at the sink with my hands in a hot, soapy sink of clean water scrubbing up sippy cups, bottles, little spoons, and brightly colored bowls.  I placed then into our sterilizer as I finished rinsing them and popped it in the microwave.

In our sunroom, next to the kitchen, I opened a fresh fleece throw and placed it in our dogs kennel.  Tomorrow one of our three dogs will have her second knee surgery and the kennel has been freshly washed with a plush cushion under the throw   The television continued of the farming limitations, shortages of food, growing landfill problems and the abrupt end to most education that often comes along with marriage.

I walk back to the kitchen wondering how much more time I have before Baby A wakes from her nap.  Could I pay a few bills?  Could I Do a little blogging?  Should I pump a little breastmilk?  Instead I decided to stop and be thankful for the blessings I have.  Becoming a mom has made me so much more aware of how lucky I am.  Sure my parents worked hard, my husband works hard, I work hard, but what that means in my life and what that means around the world can be far different things.

When I heard Baby A stirring I went to her and changed her into a fresh diaper.  We read books and played with a puzzle before we went down stairs for lunch.  I often worry about protecting her from the temptations in the world, the paths more dangerous or difficult to follow.  Today I appreciate all that she will know and also that there is so much she will not.

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It’s not our job to toughen our children

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Attention Huggers! 5 Reasons I Do Not Like Hugging You | Mommy Materials

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My husband and I have dated since High School.  I was a teenager when I met his family for the first time.  Over the last 16 years they have become my family however I still cannot bring myself to tell them that I am not a hugger.  Every time we see each other there is an obligatory hug at the beginning of the event and as leaving.  To make matters worse, they also kiss but it is really the hug that I wish I could muster the courage to tell them I dislike.

It is true.  I almost always hate hugging.  Baby A and my husband are really the only hugs I can ever remember enjoying and make no mistake, I love hugging Baby A (she sometimes gets annoyed by my arms wrapped around her when there is so much for her to do).  As far as my dislike for hugging, I come from a stable, traditional family so this isn’t a reflection of childhood trama- I simply don’t want to press by body up against yours.

I realize some will think this silly and please know this is not meant to offend any huggers.  As we prepared for Baby A’s first birthday party, I was thinking about this and about the reasons why I don’t like hugging people.  Here they are.

1) Smell.  Some huggers smoke and some huggers wear strong perfume.  Past this, everyone has their own smells from soaps, lotions, makeup, shaving gel, biology, etc.  I don’t want to smell your body.  I don’t want you to smell my body.  I don’t want my face near your hair nor your beard nor your ear.  My space is mine and your space is yours.

2) It is Awkward.  Maybe coming from a non-hugging family plays into this one but recently when I arrived at a restaurant for dinner with the extended in-law family I was carrying a diaper baby, a baby, wearing a coat, and the restaurant waiting area was packed yet it was still expected I make a round and hug all the people there I knew.  I bumped strangers and Baby A because fussy with so much going on at once.  It was disruptive in this environment but it doesn’t work in others either.  Even when huggers visit in my home my instinct is to help them empty their arms, get their coat hung up, introduce them to other guests so to add an unnecessary hug into the mix is simply unproductive.

3) It is a Gateway Action.  Most huggers I have met are also kissers.  I have never been made more uncomfortable than when kissed, on the lips, by my husbands uncle.  There was moisture and I was mortified.  As I have gotten to know these kissers, I am convinced their expressions are innocent on their behalf and instead an expression of family or acceptance but they are completely unwelcomed.  Over the years I have built up the confidence to offer my cheek instead of allowing my lips to be the destination of theirs but it is amazing to me that kissers frequently make a move for lips.  And can we talk about thie health issue here?  I’d like to think everyone is as cleanly and healthy as I am but even so, your germs can stay with you.

4) I Don’t Know How to Hug You.  I will never forget when my best friend lost her Grandma.  At the funeral, I tried to give her the best hug I could.  She needed it and I wanted to support her.  Later in the day she was laughing it up as she teased about my hug.  Too long, too short, to tight, too loose, I still don’t know what I did wrong in that hug but I assume I continue to make the same mistakes in present day embraces.  I try to pat to indicate we are finished by I was finished before we started so what do I know!

5) My daughter will know.  Most importantly, my daughter will know I don’t like hugging.  It isn’t something I can hide from my children, kids pick up on everything, and I’m embarrassed for them to learn that even though I am not comfortable with this affection, I give it at the expectation of others.  Yes, I do believe there is a benefit to doing something for someone else, just because they enjoy it and it makes them happy.  I’m don’t find this to fit that situation, however, and I’m ashamed that I don’t stand up and speak out that this is not a welcome activity, that it makes me uncomfortable.  I regularly ask Baby A for “Mommy Kisses” and when I get rejected I often reply with “you don’t ever have to kiss anyone you don’t want to.”  Do as I say sweet baby girl, not as I do.

So what about you?  Are you a reluctant hugger too or is there another behavior that is common in your life that you shy away from?

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8 Weeks Pregnant | Mommy Materials

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What a busy week!

Kicked off the week with our first OB visit.  It is hard to rest easy in a pregnancy with higher risks and the fear of miscarriage never leaves once you’ve felt the pain so this first appointment was a welcome relief from worry.  Green lights all the way around and most importantly to Baby A was that we received the green light to continue nursing.

After 11 months, nursing Baby A (and pumping when away at work) is a large part of my day.  I’ve heard stories from friends of “so and so’s doctor forced her to stop breastfeeding” or “research shows it is dangerous to your pregnancy” that lead to nightmares of abruptly ending this mother daughter bonding time or worse yet risking the health of this tiny heart growing.  Though none of my research could give definitive answers that this was unsafe, I still felt the heavy weight of what if I have to make this decision before I am ready… and way before she is ready.  Thankfully, the OB had very little concerns about continuing to nurse.  Of course, he reminded of the importance of nutrition, hydration, and rest but no concerns of danger for the baby nor me.  He did mention that supply sometimes decreases and boy are we seeing that!  I’ve added an extra pump through the day and so far we are surviving.

That day must have been my lucky day because he also offered up an impromptu ultrasound!  I saw a Maternal Fetal Specialist through my pregnancy with Baby A who monitored, among others things of course, our use of Lovenox.  Since I am again doing the daily Lovenox injections, and since the MFS happened to have an opening, and hour and a half later I was lying on my back in a dark room getting the first few glimpses of Baby B!

Heartrate was 154 so old wives tales would say it is another girl!  Not sure how much weight I put in that but Steve sure likes me thinking it is a girl since he is hoping this baby will come out a rough and tumble boy already equipped with a football helmet and pads (I know, I know, here comes more mommy fear).  Since I was sure Baby A was a boy until the Tech told me otherwise, Steve is now convinced that whatever I suspect this baby will be, it will actually be the opposite.

We also finally told my mother-in-law that we were expecting this week.  Of course she was super excited and when we parked at her house to take Baby A trick or treating it was hugs all around!

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Three becomes four! Due 6/8/2014

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7 Ways to Be A Better Person Today

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Smile.  Smile at a stranger, smile at a friend or smile at a family member.  It really is contagious and can change someone’s day.  Such a simple gesture to send a message that we are all in this together and no matter what is on your mind, it will be okay.  Smiling is a universal sign of acceptance, appreciation and friendship and we all could use more of that.

Call a Family Member.  My Grandpa still makes regular commentary on the loss of connectedness in this hyper connected world.  We like to giggle at him when he waves his arms about cell phones, texting and social media but he is ultimately so very right.  I bet there are a number of family members that would love for you to give them a call today just to say hello.  Can you spare a few moments to make their day?

 Listen. Really listen to someone when they talk to you.  All day long I have conversations with family, friends, co-workers –but how often am I really listening?  Instead I am thinking about what I will say next, how I will exit the conversation, what I still need to do today, and on and on and on.  Stop your mind for a moment and just listen.  I’ll bet they notice your attention.

Make Eye Contact when you say Thank You.  So simple, right?  Pay attention through the day today and you will be surprised at the number of insincere expressions of “thank you” flying around.  Make your gratitude meaningful with eye contact.

Send a greeting card.  Who doesn’t like getting mail that isn’t bills?  Stick a picture of the kids in there to pack a powerful punch.  A simply thinking of you or thank you card can go a long way to brighten someone’s day.

Laugh.  So many ways this improves the world, ourselves, our family, our workplace-this is pretty much gold.  A good ole belly laugh is some of the best medicine and certainly changes the day for the better.

Play with your Children.  Break out the imagination, get down on the floor, crawl around or read a book.  Your Children are the key to this world and the best way to change it is through them.  They need you.  They love you.  They cannot get enough of your quality time together.

 

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5 Rules for Visiting a Newborn

 

5 Rules for Visiting a Newborn

 

As exciting as it is, visiting a newborn needs boundaries.  Everyone is in awe of a new baby- they are fresh, innocent, honest, exciting and when they aren’t yours, someone else changes the stinky diapers!   I spent so much time planning and preparing before we had Baby A yet I didn’t expect all the chaos that visitors bring in the first few days after coming home from the hospital.  Of course we loved showing off our princess and wanted to be surrounded with family and friends but fostering an enjoyable visit was difficult.

I found myself struggling to be the host I wanted to be along with struggling to be the new mom I wanted to be.  None of my guests intended to put these frustrations on us and I wonder if they are just a natural part of becoming a parent- preparing for the inevitable embarrassing situations that will now pop up when I least expect them.  Nonetheless, following these 5 rules to visiting a newborn will help keep the new mom at easy and get you a little baby love!

  1.   Announce Your Visit

A new mommy is unlikely dressed for visitors.  A breastfeeding new mommy may not be wearing a top at all.  Heck, even a new daddy dons some less then stylish outfits around the house after a new baby is born.  The family needs a moment of notice to make themselves presentable for company.  Stopping by while you are out doing errands or find yourself with some free time may be convenient for you but this unannounced visit will be disruptive and possibly embarrassing.

Also, for many new families it is best you call and discuss your visit with the new baby’s Dad instead of Mom.  In most cases, Momma is on the front lines with Baby and if she is lucky enough to be napping, don’t risk waking her.

 

  1. Come Bearing Gifts

Always bring a little something with you.  I recommend easily prepared food or snacks.  One of the best packages we received was a full casserole, desert, a few paper plates, a couple plastic cups, and some drink- a full meal ready to be warmed and eaten.  I also remember my mother in law bringing over homemade pizza.  Without realizing it, I completely walked away from a conversation with her and came back with two slices on a plate to finish the small talk.  Since you will be calling ahead, you may also want to ask if there is anything the family needs while you are out.  Depending on how close you are to the family, they may really appreciate you saving them yet another trip to the grocery store for a pack of much needed toilet paper.

Many people want to bring adorable baby outfits but unless you know they family needs them, I always avoid them.  Instead, consider practical gifts like diapers, wipes, receiving blankets, even baby laundry detergent.  If you aren’t sure what would be most useful, consider a personalized gift such as a blanket or pillow with the new baby’s name, birthday, birth time, weight, and other details on it.   If you struggle to shop for baby items, gift cards inside a cute greeting card allow the family flexibility to purchase unexpected items.

 

  1. Ignore the Mess

As much as you may not mind it, no one wants to entertain in a mess.  The house is a mess.  Mom and Dad are a mess.  And on top of what you see, it was probably even worse right before you announced your visit.  The last thing needed is your judgment on laundry or comments on personal hygiene.  Expect that Dad has been running around high and low, here and there, with more ‘To Do’s’ than ever before.  Expect that Mom’s clothes are dirty and she may or may not be wearing undergarments.  A new Mommy wants to show off her baby and she has a vision of a perfectly clean home with perfectly groomed hair as the neighborhood comes to visit.  This couldn’t be further from reality but do your best to keep this vision alive.

 

  1. Acknowledge Siblings

If there are older siblings in the family, they need attention too.  It is tough being a kid when everyone comes to see you little brother or sister.  If you are bringing something (which we have already established you will), bring something special for them as well.  This can be as easy as cookies or a coloring book depending on the ages but this is crucial to the growing family.  Talk to siblings while you visit and complement them, too.  Reinforce that they are a good Big Brother or Big Sister and that Mom and Dad are lucky to have them.  Ask them simple questions like if they expected the baby would have that much hair or if they can believe how small the baby’s toes are.  They have never had less attention and need you to involve them in the buzz.

 

  1. Don’t overstay your welcome.

As much as you want to hold that precious angel all day, it is important that you make your involvement in the day brief.  This is a key bonding time for the family so get in and get out.  The next feeding or changing or nap is just around the corner so be aware not to interrupt.  If you feel like you are in the way, you are.  Don’t take it personally but tell them how beautiful they baby is, how blessed they are for their family, and show yourself to the door.

 

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Important

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Pull the Plug

Pull the Plug

Only 45 minutes into our morning the power went out. Baby A in her jumper, the abrupt stop of my breast pump announced that this would be no ordinary morning. Quickly I came to realize there was an outage.

With a busy weekend day ahead, my mind scrambled to adjust plans and reorganize chores clinging to hope it could all still be done. But laundry had stopped and I could no longer hear the waves of the dishwasher. If this was to be salvaged at all, I could only hold my breath for reconnection.

Dropping the baby with my husband in the next room, I flung open the file cabinet.  thumbed my folders, found the number, and quickly dialed.  After reporting the outage, I only grew more impatient as the power company could give no estimate of when power would be returned.  Not only had my day come to a stop but I had no way of creating a Plan B.  I hoped for any information to recalculate my time and map my day.

But as with the best blessings, my desires were not met. Thankfully, power was not restored timely and instead, I had one of the best mornings I have in a while.

The vacuum didn’t cage the baby in the jumper.  I didn’t check my to do list.  The baby’s activities were not stretched around mine.

We started on the living room floor.  Without ever noticing that the carpet wasn’t swept, we pull each and every toy out and examined them each.  We threw some in the air, drove others around in circles, and explored what each one could do.  We laughed.  We cuddled.  Baby A climbed over my arms, legs, and across my back several times like a jungle gym.  We were together with nothing else on my mind.

Next Baby A explored my face.  Her little fingers wrapped around my nose and found my teeth.  She is amazed with teeth as she begins to grow her own.  She wrapped my hair around her fingers, rubbed it on her face, and laughed.  I counted her toes and tickled her knees.

Back in her room we picked out an outfit slowly.  I didn’t think of where we were going or what we were doing but instead only considered what would be fun to wear.  We didn’t match but each material connected to another based on what she found interesting to feel.  We didn’t hurry getting dressed- we had nowhere to be but there.  We picked out a headband with a bow after feeling, stretching, and tasting each of them.  We smiled.

We didn’t do anything that we hadn’t done before.  We play each day, we dress each day, she pulls my hair each day, but each activity we did was for fun.  I was present.  My mommy mind played too.

Eventually the power came back on but the day did not resume with our lights.  We kept the slower pace.  We kept a happy pace.

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As She Does

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I wake up in the morning and my ponytail is loose.  My shirt has been pulled sideways and my pants are far too high.  Strands of hair are down my face and my skin is puffy.  As I carry her to change her diaper we stop to giggle in the mirror.  I ask her who that girl is and bounce her toward the reflection.  She smiles.  She giggles.  She is happy and it pours from her.

There is a blue-eyed, bald princess with a smile to light up your heart in that mirror.  She isn’t smiling at that princess.  No.  She is smiling at me.

When my arms are empty I peek at the mirror throughout the day.  Before leaving for work, as I run off to the store, when I wash my hands, and just before walking out the door for errands, I look at my reflection.  I pull my hair around my face, tilt my head forward, and tighten in my stomach.  I smile ready for a photograph and examine my face, my hair, my clothes, my body.  I notice only imperfections.  I don’t see myself as she does.

She doesn’t see any of that.  She doesn’t judge a wrinkle or cringe at a grey hair.

My baby sees me.  She sees comfort and safety.  She sees the love I have for her.  She thinks I’m beautiful without ever noticing the things I examine.  She makes a small squeal, kicks her legs, and jumps towards the reflection.  She loves to look at me.

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