What can I say about my daughter...? She is everything.
She is thoughtful and caring to her friends and peers, and easily affected by the moods of others. She likes managing, advising "and then we do this...", and also never wants to go first. She is annoyed by her brother's constant copycatting, and cares for him deeply. She is observate of people and watches for cues on how to react and act, and completely oblivious to the smallest thing in front of her face (like her father). She loves to dance and sing, color and read, and I am pretty sure she will always run faster than me. She gets this "you know what I mean" look on her face when she explains important information, and always has questions. She is usually polite, and is testing the boundaries on sneaking and lying. She will always say yes to treats, maybe to broccoli, and no to gravy. She decided to have a rainbow and unicorn birthday party because, "I like unicorns, and we don't see a lot of rainbows here". How true she is.
My daughter, my oldest, she gives me a lot of chances to practice being patient. She is teaching me to be kinder with my voice, softer with my words, slower with my advice. She is showing me how to let her grow up, her own way, and to simply be a safe and open place to rest her mind, relax her body, dry her tears, and hold her tight.
This little girl. Loving, kind, curious and unsure. I don't know how I could love her anymore than I did the moment I held her, but I sure do.
Today was Aurelia's first day of school in Pre-K. Earlier this morning she was reading to us from a new board book we bought for Henry. Walking towards school, she was sure of herself and ready. We settled her in and she went off to play with other kids like it was just another day. She barely remembered to give me a hug goodbye. I thought about her all day, wondering how she was, knowing that she probably wasn't worried at all, and was enjoying a new place with new friends.
I can't sleep. The past few weeks have been rough with the kids. I'm not sure when I got a solid night sleep, and by solid - I mean from 10pm to 5:45am without interruption. We had a small stomach bug go through the house, but then Arri woke us up screaming last night. I thought for sure she had an ear infection, but it appears that it's not... or one that can be seen. ::shrug:: I was a zombie most of today and feeling quite worried about her, taking my concerns from general to catastrophic. Then Nick needed me to step in regarding Henry's inability to go back to bed. Not sure what's so hard about being almost 14 months, but whatever. And in complete stupid mom form, I decided to look up information regarding the kids/health... and commence crazy-mom-spiral.
Do you know how hard it is to be a mom? I am sure there is something to be said about being a dad and its struggles, but do you know about moms? Do you know how much pressure there is on a mom to know absolutely everything there is regarding how to raise and care for a kid? As if we are magically implanted with a "how to" chip in our womenly brain on how to handle all-things-kids? Spoiler alert: nope. However, that doesn't negate constant societal pressure that we do, proved to us with messages of your lack of abilities and pictures to compare how unqualified you are. You thought you were feeding your kids well? Let me tell you how you are definitely not. Are you brushing your kids teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and flossing? I'm going to scare the shit out of you regarding tooth decay right quick, just to make sure you understand what your lack of action equals. Is your kid crying out in neck pain? They could have kninked a muscle, or... meningitis... you decide, but choose wisely 'cause, you know, brain damage.
I want to say, on the grand scale of things, I do well for my kids. I love them, feed them, get the medical help they need, provide a home, support them, guide them. But. There is always a but. I am actively working on being kinder to myself, telling myself that I am enough right here, right now, doing exactly this - even if it is not perfect, even if it doesn't fit some conformed mold. This is excursatingly hard. Terrifying, even. Because I am allowing myself to be "less". As a mom, this is never an acceptable option. Ever. I always feel two steps behind, and while in some cases, who cares, but when you are a mom and caring for two people who do not have another, a better, mom to turn to...
See. This. It's fucking hard being a mom. Every day you are judged and labeled by what you can or cannot do for, or with, your children. It's a neverending toxic sludge you wade through. I am exhausted.
I don't have a picture to share. Or, at least, not yet and probably not later either.
Today, people, Henry is one. I woke up around 5:30 AM to the sound of my oldest asking if it was waking-up-time. She told Nick she wanted to snuggle with Mom. I think he was trying to convince her otherwise, but she won. They both crawled into bed and I started a story...
Your dad and I, one year ago, are at the hospital right now, working very hard to bring out our second baby... we didn't know he was your brother yet...
The past two days, this has occupied my mind. It has been one year already. Where did my time with Henry go? I don't regret or have guilt about it, but it sure feels like I have missed something, somewhere, that time has taken something easily and I'm almost too busy to notice.
He is starting to walk. Five steps before he realizes what happening and crumples to crawl instead. Almost unintelligibly he says: "What's that?", "Maa", "Dada", and "Yeeeeeaaaaaaahhhhhh!" He has four teeth on the top and bottom. He needs yet another hair cut (third one!). His hugs makes your heart explode, and his habit of feeding the dog his dinner makes your BP rise. His smile infectious and his lashes a dream.
My second. My baby. My boy. You make me ugly cry with all the love and fear I have. You have grown and thrived by the support and care of so many. I am so grateful I am your mommy.
Nothing says hello like not saying anything for months on end. I have little room to feel guilt about that.
It is ten days until Christmas and I am running full speed towards the end of the year. I feel like we just got back from Disneyland yesterday (actually almost two weeks ago) and that we'll be leaving for Hawaii tomorrow (actually two weeks from now).
Trying to be ever-present when your ten month old (yes - ten months!) has decided to protest sleeping is pretty hard shit. I feel bad for Arri because I am so short with her because I have used up all my patience on Henry. I need to be a better mom to her.
Anyway, I literally don't have the time or energy to say much more, nor to do a picture-dump of all of Henry's monthly pictures. Poor second baby gets zero love. But here are a few from our Disneyland trip for good measure...
For the record - the pictures make it look like we had a lot of fun... I simply can't remember it. I am still having a hard time coming to grips with this trip. I simply hope whenever we go again, I can enjoy it more.
The days go by and you know your kids are growing, but then one day you put them in a shirt that was too big that now fits just right, pants that were too long are now too short, and they ask you fully formed questions that make you stop in your tracks.
Then you go to a pumpkin patch and watch her walk through the fields, talking about finding the pumpkin "made just for her", which she finds on her own accord (while ignoring all your polite suggestions). You take her picture, you buy your pumpkins, and it's just another day in your family life.
Henry is three months old. He is cooing and laughing and making all kinds of racket. He can roll from his tummy to his back, but not consistently. He can also roll from his back to his tummy, but that's a very recent and rare occurance. He sleeps through the night, in my book, but not in Nick's. Henry is usually in bed by 8 PM, wakes up somewhere between 2:30 and 6:30 AM, depending. I say that's nothing to be angry about considering he is only three months old! Aurelia is showing more and more affection to him, saying, "I love you, Henry," and giving him nose boops. I am surviving full-time work and pumping. I give myself full marks for sticking it out and making it half-way through my six month quest of supplying milk.
This is all well and good, but I realized today, while I was uploading pictures from my camera to my computer, that I had not actually imported any pictures of Henry until today. That's three months of neglect. It's not like I haven't picked up my camera, it's just that I haven't been sharing any pictures from it. My silly phone has become my go-to camera. That isn't necessarily bad (a picture is a picture, nonetheless), but I really only have to post once a month! Something about my new baby and something about how awesome it is we are surviving.
Anyway, because I am so bad at this this time around (though I am sure no one is surprised), here is two months worth of pictures.
TWO MONTH PICTURES:
THREE MONTH PICTURES:
ARRI AND HENRY THREE MONTH COMPARISON (not related at all...):
This is the last week of at-home help post baby number two. I have a stack of medical bills I need to review and pay. Spring has shown up and so have the spiders. I've been up since 4:30. We had to pay back the government for taxes. We are probably not going to Hawaii until the end of the year.
Simple things. Every day life. I am scared shitless of it.
Next week we have to fully fend for ourselves with two full-time jobs, two kids and a dog. And while it seems simple and every day life, it sounds horrifically impossible to me. And if you know me by any means, the fact that I think it sounds impossible is kinda a big deal because I make things happen. I make it go. What needs to be done? I'll get it done. That's my m.o. But I find myself standing in the kitchen, sitting at work, or staring at my breast pump and wondering how. How will I juggle mornings of pumping and the dog and getting the kids ready by 7, so I can be at work by 7:30? How will I balance my work hours so I stay at full-time and still take care of Henry's drop-offs and pick-ups? How will I come home and pump and take care of the dog and cook dinner and attend to Henry before the rest of the family gets home, where then I'll need to have enoughwits about me to give attention to Arri and do bedtimes? Oh, and maybe have an adult coversation with my husband? And then pump again before bed, contemplating if tonight I will give myself a full-night's rest without interruption, or should I set my alarm now for my mid-night pumping?
This. All of that. How do I make that go and not become a zombie? How do I do this and not revert to not-that-good-for-you instant meals? How do I juggle the responsibilities of being a working parent and wanting my children's lives to include me? I hear myself saying, "My kids don't see much of each other... or us, for that matter." And so many red flags and warning signs start to flash and scream in my head. This is not how it should be, right? I feel like I shouldn't see my co-workers more than my family, but I do. And I'm not in any way saying I want to be a stay-at-home mom because I was not built for that. But I want that balance where I work and have two kids and a dog, and not feel like it's impossible. That should not be impossible!
It's 6... time to go back to working on the impossible.