Monday, August 1, 2016

I have had a headache for a week.

My face is broken out like a pre-teen.  And I cried myself to sleep last night.  What's happening, you ask?  My little girl started Kindergarten today.

This little human who has been by my side for 5 and half years is now going to be spending a huge chunk of time in someone else's care.  And I can't seem to wrap my head around it.  She still seems like a baby, but I know she isn't.  I know she is ready.  I just have to get myself to be ready too.

Andy and I did a lot of research about schools and we both fell in love with one in particular; however, we didn't get in there and had to go with our second choice.  Which is a good, solid choice, but still not THE choice.

As I lay in bed with my mind racing last night, I kept thinking about whether I would be more calm if she were going to this other school.  I don't know the answer, but I can guess that a lot of my feelings are exactly feelings.  Of wanting the best for her, of wanting a school that runs as close to our home life as possible, of wanting her to be seen as an individual and to be supported and pushed in keeping with her individuality, of wanting her by my side when we go on daily adventures, of not being ready for this part to be over.

Whenever I pictured myself as a mom, even before I was one, I saw babies and toddlers.  I didn't plan and envision this next step.  And it is definitely taken me longer to adjust then my mighty girl.

Today as we walked to school, she held my hand.  She asked me questions about what it would be like, and told me how excited she was.  I was able to tell her that I was so excited for her too!  Even though I was choking back tears.  And when we were standing in line to go into the building, my own thoughts were of scooping her into my arms and running for the hills, and then I looked down at her.

She was nervous, I could tell, and she seemed so small, but when it was her turn to go in, she nodded, let go of hand, and walked through the door.

Monday, June 13, 2016

I'm afraid.

I'm afraid.

I'm afraid that someday my daughter may be drinking at a party and someone will deem her a thing instead of a human being.

I'm afraid.

I'm afraid that my son could be at club, dancing with his friends, and someone, who too easily and legally was able to obtain the weapons to do so, could take his life.

I'm afraid.

I'm afraid that the next President of the United States could be a man that not only spreads but encourages hate and racism.

I'm afraid.

I live in a bubble of joy and privilege.  I spend my days playing with my children, and my husband always has delicious dinners on our table.  And I'm afraid.  I can't even imagine the fear of those without the privileges I hold.

We have to be better.  We have to love more.  We have to care about what a day in someone else's shoes is like.

I'm afraid, but I'm also hopeful.  I know there are good people in the world, and those people are trying to raise more good people.

I don't know the answers.  I just hope we find them soon.

Friday, May 27, 2016

I take it all back.

While on the phone this evening, it seemed to get a bit too quiet upstairs.  When I went up to investigate I was informed that one child had pooped inside of a cardboard box, and then the second child had sat down in said box.  Never mind...maybe it isn't getting easier...weirder? definitely....but maybe not easier.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

All of a Sudden...

it's getting easier.  They can brush their own teeth, get their own drink, entertain each other, do puzzles without my help, and ride bikes like champs.  We are sleeping through the night, and I no longer feel like it is impossible to wash the dishes, read a book, or drink a hot cup of coffee.

Tomorrow is Ramona's last day of preschool, and in a few months Miles will be turning four.  Our days of me holding their hands while they toddle through the splash park are over, and next year Ramona will be away from me more time then I can wrap my head around.

What I want to remember about this phase...
-how Andy goes into their rooms when we head upstairs at the end of the day, and tucks each of them back in before coming to bed.

-how Miles transitions from his squeaky three year old voice to a deep manly voice, and says things like "mom, I'm about to blow your mind," and "thanks, mom" like he is a teenager.

-how we have transitioned to chapter books at bedtime and I get to share all the stories I loved so much as a kid with them now.  This year we have read the first two Harry Potter Books, Charlotte's Web, Pippi Longstocking, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Doctor Dolittle.

-how they fight.  I don't have memories of knock out/drag out fighting my sisters, so I want to remember the biting, hair pulling, screaming battles these two share.  I will try and not sugar coat for them when they are is no joke.

-how easily they forgive.  From biting to giggling in seconds.

-how much they LOVE musical soundtracks.  They got to make their stage debut in Scecina's Tarzan, and we haven't stopped listening to the music ever since.  They loved preforming and I feel like this shared love ties our hearts together even more tightly.  They also currently love Hamilton, Newsies, and Annie.  Miles remember lyrics like nobody's business, and Ramona can hold those long notes like it's her job.

-how they eat.  Miles is surviving on peanut butter (that he helps make, but God forbid he tries a peanut before grinding), cheese, and fruit, while Ramona will try anything we send her way.  With Andy and I not eating meat, and me moving into a vegan diet, we are experimenting with food, and she is a willing participant.

-how they both got a hit off a pitch, instead of the tee, during our last Pirates game.

-how Ramona loves to climb trees, and has started going down the firemen's pole at the park.

-how smart they are.  I didn't realize the depth of conversation I would have with a 5 and 3 year old.

Even on days like today, when I feel like they are whiny and argumentative, if I pause and think about a year ago, it still feels like it is getting easier.  Will this trend continue?....who knows.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Simple Prayer

As someone who was born and raised Catholic, worked at a Catholic high school, and attended Catholic schools my entire childhood, it feels uncomfortable to struggle with my faith.  There is so much about the Catholic Church, especially on the east side of Indianapolis, that I value.  In overarching ways...the tradition, the formality, the consistency, and in more local ways...the community, the friendship, shared morals.

I love the way in which I was raised and the Catholic Church had a lot to do with that upbringing.  The fact that I recently played in a kickball tournament with 14 other women that were in my 8th grade class (a class of around 30 total) is just one testament to the strong ties instilled in us by Catholic institutions. I have become an adult I have realized that there are things about the church that I don't agree with.  This is not the forum to list and discuss these in detail; however, I will say that it has made me pause.  It is uncomfortable to view a religion that I grew up seeing as so inclusive, so warm, so welcoming, now seem selective, exclusive, and judgmental.

I should say here that I am not trying to start a debate or pass judgment on Catholic Church teachings.  I am truly just trying to put into words MY current feelings.  Religion is so personal, and I hope that everyone can find a faith in which they feel hope, solace, guidance, and inspiration.  If Catholicism is that for you, then I say "fantastic."  For me, I am just hoping that someday I can say with confidence, "I'm Catholic," without feeling the urge to follow that with a "but..."

Before we know it, the time will have come for Ramona to begin schooling, and so we have begun the process of trying to figure out what school will be the best fit for our family.  And as a part of this process, I have started singing in the Folk Group at Lourdes again.  I love this group of people!  It is always fun to be around extremely talented makes you up your game.  This opportunity also means that I am attending Mass once a month, which is, sadly, an increase for me.

I am trying to use this time to rekindle a connection.  To listen to the words, to think about the message, to concentrate on the prayer, and confirm that, even with my hang ups, this is still the community where I want my family to grow.

Today we sang a song that has been sticking with me since I learned it two weeks ago.  The message is simple, and if feels like the words I have been trying to find for awhile.

"Lord increase my faith.  With all our hearts, may we always follow you.  Teach us to pray, always."

As we all go about our days, making decisions, raising our children, finding our place in this world this is what I hope for each of us.  The strength that comes with faith, and the peace that comes with prayer.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Carpe Diem

Today is my 32nd birthday, and tonight I will be attending a showing for a young man who just had his 20th.  A young man, who I did not know well, but well enough to know that the world would be a sweeter, wiser, and more considerate one if he were still in it.

This loss has made me pause.  Made me think about how my life has evolved from age 20 to 32.  So much change, so many experiences, an exorbitant amount of love.

As I enter into my 32nd year, I want to remind myself of adages that may be seen as cliches, but I think, deserve to be acknowledged.  I want to remember to "seize the day," "cherish and utilize my blessings," "give thanks," "savor the moment," and "live like today is my last."

I am thankful for my 32 years, and hopeful that I will get to spend many more with my husband, my children, my family, and my friends.  However, I don't want to wait to celebrate.  Today I will celebrate that I got to sing in the car, that I got to spend an afternoon with my kiddos, my aunt, and my darling baby cousin, that my husband left me a love note on the kitchen table, that my family will gather for dinner, and that I get to go celebrate a young man who impacted many in a short time.

And tomorrow, I will try to remember to celebrate again.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Eat At Mom's

I haven't written in awhile.  There are a couple of reasons for being that raising two humans is no joke, another that on top of our parental duties, we have had several months with a lot of work, and lastly, all of the things I want to write about feel like they are the same things I have already written about.

I don't want this space to be an area to rant, so I am trying to censor some of my more repetitive thoughts, and focus on the blog's purpose...a realistic telling of parenthood for my kiddos to read down the road. I will write about my experience with breastfeeding.  Please do not feel obligated to read about me nursing my children, it will not hurt my feelings, just stop reading now.

Okay, with that out of the way...

My mom nursed my sisters and I and it was always my plan to do the same with my kiddos.  I didn't really even think about it.  It wasn't for any specific reason (i.e. nutritional/health value, child/mama bonding, ease/cost effectiveness), but I will say that I have really enjoyed the perks of all of the above.

I have found that there are things that we don't say to new nursing moms.  We don't talk about how it is going to hurt for awhile.  In fact, you will often hear people say, "if it hurts you are doing it wrong."  If this were the truth I would have quit on day two.  You see, your nipples have to get used to this new role...I would compare it to learning how to play the guitar.  Your fingers are going to hurt for a few days, and then they don't anymore.  At least this is how it was for me.

In that first week, every time my little one latched I would have an initial "wowza" moment, and then it was okay.  They tell you to use lanolin lotion, make sure the baby is latched correctly, position the baby just so...I don't buy it.  I think it just hurts for a couple of days.  My advice is, you can do it.  You just birthed this kid for crying out loud.  What's a few days with sore nipples?

The other thing that is not explicitly explained is that even though our bodies were created to be able to do this, our minds still don't know how.  And even with the internal instinct our babies have to nurse, it is still probably going to be awkward for awhile.

I took a class before Ramona was born.  The lactation consultant showed a room full of us first time mamas how to make a "c" with your hand cupping your breast, and we practiced with boppy pillows and baby dolls.  I left thinking, check that off the to do list, now I know how to nurse.  Well, it's a bit different when you have been in labor for 24 hours, just given birth, have a nurse standing behind you moving your arms like she is teaching you to play golf, and there is a living being crying to be fed.  In addition, the hospital was anxious about Ramona's breathing, so the first time we got to try and nurse was a good seven hours after she was born, since she and Andy had spent the day in the NICU.  Then the sassy little thing wouldn't pee.

There is a checklist of things that the hospital would like to happen to make sure all is well with this new human.  Peeing is one of them.  So, when she had pooped out the lovely black tar newborns start off with, but there was no urine, they wanted me to nurse with formula.  Which meant that my already awkward start was more awkward and nerve racking with a thin tube taped to my nipple (this never actually worked, by the way).  To make a long story short.  We were much relieved to get home, and find that on our own time line, nursing was going to work for us.

Ramona was the chunkiest baby at the breastfeeding support group we went to, really more for an escape from our house than support.  I produced enough milk that I could have fed an additional child, and she continued to nurse until she was 13 months old, even with me getting pregnant again when she was 9 months.  I wouldn't say that I am an exhibitionist when it comes to nursing in public, but I have been known to nurse, with a blanket, at the table in a restaurant, when absolutely necessary.

With Miles it started very different.  He was born, laid on my stomach, and wiggled his way up to nurse within minutes.  I don't seem to have nearly the amount of milk this time around, but I suspect that is because he eats it all!

And lastly, we don't tell moms that if they decide to nurse exclusively, that the only minutes away from this little person for at least the first three months of their lives will be when you are in the bathroom...and even then it's questionable whether you will be able to get away.  Ramona never really took a bottle, and Miles has had only a handful in his 9 months.  So...that means I am never far from their side.  I greatly admire women who work and pump.  I hate pumping, and therefore, my kiddos nurse.

So...why write this in my blog?  Well, I want Ramona, as a mom, and Miles, as a dad, to know that nursing your babies can be hard, especially at the beginning.  I want them to know that it is different for every mom and different for every baby.  I want them to know what my experience has been, and that I am grateful everyday that this is how it worked out for us.  I want them to know that my ability to nurse is not directly correlated with how much I love them.  If I hadn't been able to nurse, or had decided not to breastfeed, I would not have been a worse mother.

I also want them to know how cool I think it is.  My body was designed to give nourishment to my babies.  I grew them as fetuses, and I fed them as infants.  They know that when they cry in the night, I will be the one to come and comfort them.  I want them to know that, by nursing them, I learned what it means to be a mom.  The sacrifice along with the reward.  The 3am feedings with the milk drunk smiles.