Monday, April 30, 2007

Makeover Monday

I'm a bit slow at posting about Makeover Monday today (my link to moodswingingmommy's post isn't going to work because she's tarting up her blog this afternoon!), I am still trying to catch up with my very disorganized self.

My plan to improve on time spent playing with my daughter went well last week - albeit that I think it's created expectations in her that I will now paint, do play dough, crafts, music etc on demand, like all day, everyday! (not happening sweetheart!).

We kicked this off on Tuesday with a play dough session, starting with us making the play dough (Martha's got nothing on me!).
Wednesday instead of coming home straight after the library story time, we headed to a nearby splash park for fun and lunch with friends. Much fun ensued, and a nice long nap later was a great bonus for all of us.

Thursday's activities were music related and I sat with her at the piano keyboard for AGES!, going over the ABC song (at her request) over and over again - then suffering in silence as she clanged the keys - she had a blast! No photos, they wouldn't do it justice - you really would need audio, but since my technical skills aren't up to that yet, consider yourself spared!

Friday we had some crafts in the morning:

We even got this in before heading out to our playgroup at 10am at the play center (does that earn me extra mommy points?). Since I've said enough about our fun play date already, and since I think I might cry if I make myself recall the rest of Friday, now feels like a good point to stop discussing it!

We did have fun doing these activities, and I will continue to do similar, and some less structured fun stuff with Miss E. Over this past weekend I also had something of an epiphany that I need to look out for myself more, and that this in turn will make me a better mommy, too. Saturday and Sunday were spent just surviving, and so teetering on the brink of a mommy meltdown one of these days - my next week's focus is on ME!

I've already had my hair done today - and you all know how much better we feel after a haircut. And, as I've told everyone within earshot today, I'm going out for a girly night during the week (okay, maybe just a couple of hours since my 6 month old will require my lactating services before long - but it's a start right?!). My other goal is to teach myself a piano piece by reading the music! I bought a book of classical pieces for adult beginners. I don't know how realistic this is within a week, but I will give it my best shot - how satisfying it would be for me to sit down and play a piece as its composer intended it to be played!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Pass me a beer - please!

PMSing my way through the day - watching the clock until 'Daddy' gets home, let me tell you about my day!

Well, it really started yesterday - with me feeling irritated by this:

And it took IMing with my chum Megan, who is a way 'funner' mom than I, to realize my two year old was only enjoying herself. Megan, crazy lady that she is, says she is going to let her son squeeze all the toothpaste out of the tube just because it is fun! (it's okay, I pointed out her error in judgement, that it wouldn't be fun for him since she was allowing him to do it!) So, in the scheme of things, the toothpaste thing was no big deal, really, I shouldn't have left the bathroom door open - clean up and move on!

Today we had a fun playdate planned at an indoor playground (you know the kind - lots of climbing areas, ball pits, and lots, and lots of screaming kids!). Scrambling as usual to get somewhere on time Running a little behind schedule, I decided not to lose precious minutes by swinging by the ATM on my way there (thank you hubby dearest for cleaning out the $30 I had in my purse last night!), I decided I'll just pay with the debit card when I get there. So we get there, go to pay, open the purse .... NO DEBIT CARD! Frantically searching my purse for the debit card, and loose change, I scrape together two dollar bills, and the rest in coins for our $3.20 entrance fee. Major embarrassment of having no cash or other means of payment averted, but where the heck was my debit card?

We proceeded into the danger play zone, I parked the baby up in the stroller and asked one of the other moms to keep an eye on Miss E for a minute or two while I called the bank.

Called the bank - 'we can't help you, you need to speak to "Customer Service", I'll put you through' - rolling my eyes I think to myself 'whatever'. Get through to Customer Service and the unbelievably annoying recorded greeting asks me for my telephone ID number (don't have one), OR card number - don't have that either!!! After listening to several rounds of 'say or press 1 for this, say or press 2 for that and say or press 3 for the other', I was damn near ready to scream or press '666' and see if I didn't have a better chance of talking to a PERSON! Of course - the reason I had several rounds of this, is that the IVR system (Interactive Voice Response - I used to work in a bank, and I used to think these were a great invention!) is so sensitive that it picked up the noise of the kids screaming in the background and misinterpreted it as something I said so we stumbled through a few robotic 'I'm sorry, I didn't catch that, would you like to hear your options again?' No I F***ing wouldn't just put me through to a HUMAN! Eventually, I get to talk to a sickeningly cheerful lady - but I'm not complaining since I was feeling anything but cheerful at that point, she probably kept me from going completely over the edge. Go through a million questions with her and now have peace of mind that nobody is going to steal from our paltry coffers. It'll be a pain waiting for that new card though!

So having sorted the card business out I see the other moms happily snapping pictures of the kids having a blast - and Miss E was having THE best time so my inner peace was (temporarily) restored. I get my camera out - switch it on - batteries are dead! So, inwardly uttering a few expletives and self admonitions, I forgot about it, knowing I can get the other moms to email me some pictures.

I planned to hit the mall on the way home from the play place, to start picking up a few bits and pieces for our upcoming trip to Ireland. I drove to hubby's work to get his card (heh heh) and was going to do some damage with it. Sadly, lunchtime, with a toddler and a baby, not the best time to be dragging them around the shops so I decide we'll nip in quickly and pick up gifts for Granny and the Aunties at Victoria Secrets. I spy a 'Family First' parking spot opening up ahead as someone is reversing out of it - 'great' I think, the day is looking up - this was before the dumbass, sports car driving, single guy swung into said family parking spot and took off running into the mall. I was so mad! I took down his tag number (observed by two cops doing this by the way - but they were on their way in for lunch so they neither cared about the dude taking the mommy friendly parking space, nor the fact that I was writing down his tag number). What was I going to do about this? I called the mall lol! I just needed to let off steam. I told the girl I was so ticked off that he would do this and wasn't sure there was anything she could do about it. She said there wasn't, and she undoubtedly thinks I'm a nutjob - I don't care, I felt better after doing it :)

We head into the mall (Miss E is soaking wet by the way, having tossed the last bit of water from her water bottle all over herself), then the 'I want sumpin' to eat' starts - so we go straight to the food court (I know, yuck) and both of us scarf down Chick Fil A, leave the food court just in time before being accosted by the poor person whose job it is to dress up like a cow and tell us to 'Eat Mor Chickn'. I run to VS (run being a relative term considering I was navigating my way around pushing a Graco Tandem Stroller). I grab the first six packages of smelly stuff I see, pay and get out of there.

I thought to myself E has got to be tired and she'll fall asleep on the way home, but despite me taking the long way she is STILL awake - and she is in that 'way overtired hyper mode' right now - right now, and here I am typing - I'm just blocking it out pretending it isn't happening because that's the only thing I can do right now!

On my little IM chat with Megan yesterday - I said 'oh well, at least she didn't get into the diaper cream' - and yes you've guessed it - I spoke too soon, because not long after we got back to the house, as I was tending to her brother - this is what she did:

Look at her hands and leg.
So off we went for her second bath of the day.

I am SO ready for her Dad to get home, and he better come armed with beer and chocolate! I find myself asking though, why does Miss E never save any of this 'fun' stuff for her Daddy? :)

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Conscious that I have managed to appeal to a handful of people who actually read this blog, I lay in bed last night thinking 'what will I blog about tomorrow?'

I thought 'I could reveal my odd secret that even though I am no longer pregnant, I still sleep with a pillow between my knees because it is so darn comfy' - but figured it would take all of a sentence to do that - and ta-da - a sentence is indeed all it took!

Then I thought 'I could write about my short lived experiment of actually getting up before my kids in the mornings' - which when my kids are involved, is a 6am kind of thing - I did it for a week and in the first few days it was nice having a peaceful half hour to an hour of drinking coffee and eating my toast (and getting to eat the whole slice myself!). But, since I didn't actually use that time to get anything done, when the babies awoke we were back to drifting from one poorly planned chaos to another - yesterday nursing a headache to boot. I thought 'sod this - I need my sleep, I'll try this again when my kids stop waking me up at night!' - which should take me to retirement age I'm guessing.

My main thoughts however, as I lay in my comfortable bed, in my safe, comfortable house, with my two healthy children, and my wonderful husband were those of deep gratitude. Having watched most of the Idol Gives Back special, I cried 'til my heart was sore at the conditions, the sorrow, the hardship, and the injustice faced by so many in this world - the program concentrated on Africa, and issues here in the USA.

I was born in Zimbabwe, and lived the first two years of my life in Zambia. The daughter of a teacher and a bank official - even though our life was modest enough, we lived richly compared to some I'm sure. I get very sad at the state that Zimbabwe is in today, once known as the 'Bread Basket of Africa', Mugabe is responsible for the dreadful deterioration of the country and starvation of many of his own people. I had the opportunity to go to South Africa a few years ago with my parents, and we would have visited Zimbabwe but I declined since I do not want to visit while he remains in power ( I have the distinct notion that he'd make me less than welcome anyway).

Maybe this is why Africa 'calls' to me in particular when it comes to requests for aid. The corruption and suffering in African nations is heart wrenching and I wanted to get up this morning and make my donation - so I did, at Idol Gives Back.

I feel so grateful this morning for my cosy life, for my childhood, for my health, and that of my family, for the fact that it is possible for me to stay at home with our children, even though there are definitely days when I'd gladly head off to work for some peace and quiet - or on those days when I succumb to materialistic desires and wonder if going back to work would allow me to get x, y, or z, I am profoundly grateful that we have the choice, and the means to stay at home. I am grateful that we have the freedom to choose how we live our lives, and we have opportunities to improve our lives, and those of our children.

In the midst of this gratitude I am struck by the responsibility I have to help those in trouble, or those whom are struggling in some way. As a small step I made my donation this morning and so I'm adding my voice to those pleading last night on American Idol. If you have not yet given a donation - please, please, please, click this link and do it now. Help those mothers, those children, those families, here, and in Africa - and as Eric McCormack said 'if everyone who voted for Sanjaya, gave just one dollar, it could do so much good' - how true!


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Good Mom, Bad Mom

Last night my two year old inflated my mommy ego, filling my heart with pride and joy, then she popped it less than thirty seconds later, leaving it in a pile of soggy pieces!

I had been reading her several bedtime stories, wrapping up with a cute children's prayer book - I asked her a question after finishing the prayers not really thinking she'd grasp the concept but tried anyway.

Conversation went like this:

Me: 'E, what are you glad that God made?'

E: 'I like my family!' (she said it straight away, and I looked at my husband and said 'we must be doing something right').

E: 'Mommy, read these books again' (about 6 in total).

Me: 'I'll tell you what, why don't you tell me a story?'

E: 'I can't, I'm too busy' (I didn't meet my husband's gaze for fear that he'd make me acknowledge where exactly she'd heard that phrase before!)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Makeover Monday

Moodswingingmommy at Am I going mad or am I just a Mommy brought the concept of Makeover Monday to my attention this morning on her blog and I thought - 'this is for me'! One of my reasons for starting this blog, as I said in my profile, is to improve in a number of areas - my thinking being that if I commit to blogging about it, then I'll actually DO it!

There are several things I want to get better at in a variety of areas - as a mother, wife and selfishly, things I just want to get better at just for ME. Makeover Monday will give me some structure to chart my progress (structure is good, it is lack thereof in any part of my life that has me needing to make so many improvements lol!).

Rather than bore myself listing them all now - I'll just start with what I intend to focus on this week.

I want to take more time engaging with my two year old on the floor, in the backyard, playing with her and watching her learn. I will set up specific activities for her be it crafts, manipulative play, music or whatever, and I will actually PLAY with her for the duration of the activity.

I enjoy reading to her, and she is at a wonderful stage now where she actually listens and engages in the story with me, so it's not that I don't have any one on one time with her - I do, but I'm conscious that lately that I let my sense of boredom (yes sometimes getting down on the floor with her bores the knickers off me!) overrule the situation and I leave her to amuse herself more than I should - I need to do better.

Next week I'll post progress and provide photographic evidence! Today is a bust as far as getting into any specific activity - since we're going into full blown bedtime preps shortly. I did have her at toddler gym this morning though after a 4 week absence so that counts for something, right?

Equal, but different.

I have seen the question posed recently ‘Do you favour your first?’ My immediate reaction to that question was ‘absolutely not, I don’t favour either of my kids, I love them both the same’.

However, it is an interesting question, whether or not you love one child more than another, and I’ve been mulling it over a lot recently, and I have come to realize that I do not love both my children the same. This looks shocking when you see it in black and white. I guess I should qualify that statement and say, that I definitely believe I love my kids equally, but differently.

I suppose this is one of the learning curves for me as a mother, one on which I will get better at understanding and accepting that each child is unique in his or her own temperaments, abilities etc. And one on which I get better at modifying my approach and expectations.

When pregnant with my first baby, I was very sick for 5 months and truly wished every day to go faster so we could get to 9 months and have this baby out! Despite this, I was very focused on the baby, I anticipated and imagined how things would be with this new person in our house, when we would go from being just a couple, to becoming a family. The room was prepared, clothes all ready, all the gear, etc etc. When she arrived, we settled into life as a little family of three very quickly, and I was thrilled at how ‘natural’ being a mother felt to me. I trusted my instincts, and never really second guessed myself. She was a vocal child from the start, letting us know clearly when she was unhappy and wanted something done about it, (she’s still like that!). Now at two and a half, she is quite the conversationalist, articulate, funny, independent (downright stubborn if you want to look at it that way) and very outgoing. She is feisty, fun, absolutely adorable, and she has both her Dad and I firmly wrapped around her little finger. She has never suffered more than the occasional cold, and has only once had an illness involving fever – in short – we have never had anything to worry about as far as she is concerned.

My pregnancy with my son started off similar to my first – that dreaded nausea, and the puking sessions – thankfully though they did not last as long. With a toddler in the house to run after – once the morning sickness passed, I barely even remembered I was pregnant. No leisurely afternoons spent choosing baby equipment or décor for my second baby, no dreamy sessions picturing what we’d get up to, what those early days would be like – who had time? I feel guilty about this, and having spoken to other moms with more than one child, I know I’m not alone.

We found out the sex of our second baby at the 20 week ultrasound (something we didn’t do first time around), and while it did help me ‘connect’ a little more – I was truthfully so caught up in life with a toddler, my pregnancy, and my son were almost like afterthoughts. Then at 33 weeks, as if in an attempt to say ‘Hey Mom, it’s me in here, did ya forget about me?’, my baby decided he wanted to come early – I went into preterm labour which thankfully was stopped by a short stay in Labour and Delivery, and a terbutaline shot. My baby boy was determined though, and the following week he tried again – lots of frequent and strong contractions, once again needing the dreaded shot, and a spell on bed rest to help him stay put. And so, with these two bouts of preterm labour began my first real experience of maternal worrying. Even before he was born I have experienced anxiety with this baby that I never had to deal with as far as Miss E was concerned. He was born at 38 weeks, and we’ve had several more bouts of worry since he was born. His arrival face up, caused massive bruising all over his forehead and scalp, which his pediatrician pegged as permanent birth marking – more worry and a tremendous amount of crying as I projected us into the future and the inevitable teasing he would get at school – I cried and held him close, wishing I could just wash it off. Thankfully two weeks later most of it was gone, it was bruising after all. We have had in J’s short 6 months, 2 trips to the ER, several sick visits to the doctor and several follow up hearing tests with an Audiologist who wants to keep an eye on a mild deficiency in his upper frequency hearing. None of these things are life threatening and for that I am eternally grateful, especially when I consider the challenges some mothers face with their babies. J’s personality is very much more subdued than that of his sister. He is a sweet, sweet boy, quiet and very laid back (my guilt complex constantly questions whether this is in fact his personality, or the fact that he has had no choice but to patiently wait for my attention, which is so often demanded more forcefully by his sister?). So while I enjoy this and revel in his differences, I find myself worrying ‘what if he’s really shy like I was as a child’ ‘what if he’s ‘too quiet’?’, ‘what if the hearing thing gets worse?’ and so it goes on. I find myself as a result feeling much more protective of him than I am of his sister. From an early age she has demonstrated that she can get out there and take care of herself if you know what I mean? She will be the ringleader, she marches and others follow – she is the bossy one and so I feel I don’t have so much to worry about with her.

I do love both my children with all my heart – what mother doesn’t? – I definitely love them in very different ways. I'm hoping this is a good thing, and that I can continue to grow as their mother, loving them the very best ways I know how!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

I’m a cheatin’ fool!

I was unfaithful last night – to my long time love. I feel awful. It was disgusting. I never should have done it. I swear I’ll never do it again. What was I thinking? What could have possibly lured me away to try this? ……

To try THIS???

What makes this all the more painful is that I am still nursing my 6 month old son, I only get one shot at a beer any time we’re out – I get ONE and I wasted it on this? When I took the first glug I imagine my face turned the same shade as the bottle. But since this was my ONE beer, you can bet I was going to finish it. I kept sipping thinking the taste would grow on me, you know like sometimes that first sip of a glass of wine is not so good, but the further down the glass you get, the better it tastes? Not so with Miller Chill- even the name makes me cringe.

I’m sorry Miller Lite, please forgive me – after this brief dalliance, you can be assured that I am a ‘one beer lady’. (And, when I’m finished nursing I’ll be a ‘one, more, oh yes another, oh, okay just the one more beer lady’ once again!)

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Dreaded Lurgy, and waffles!

If I'm going to cough and splutter my way through the next few days, I need my breakfast to make me smile!
I have ditched frozen waffles in favour of making my own, and these make a regular appearance in our house. If you don't make your own waffles, and use the frozen kind instead, try this recipe and make your own - they are simple and tasty and you'll never eat frozen ones again.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
2 cups milk
2 eggs, separated
1 Tbs. butter, melted
Pre-heat waffle-maker and oil grates lightly with spray oil.
Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Separate the two eggs, then add egg yolks, milk and the melted butter to the dry ingredients and beat together thoroughly.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff.
Fold egg whites into flour mixture.
Pour 1 cup of batter onto lower grates and close the lid and cook for about 2 or 3 minutes.
Remove waffle and top with your favourite topping.
This recipe makes 8 Mickey Waffles (maybe more on a conventional iron), and since there is no way I'm in the mood for grocery shopping today, guess what's on today's 'sumpin to eat' menu?

Lesson Learned

My daughter is going through a really annoying phase right now. Her physical and verbal achievements, while rewarding to see on the whole, bring a new level of irritation at times, along the lines of:
  • Sliding the chairs across the kitchen tile (the very sound of which umpteen times a day drives me crazy), to climb up and reach things on the counter top.
  • On the rare occasion she listens to me, and doesn't use the chairs, she'll resort to hanging off the counter top and attempt to scale the cabinet face as if practicing rock climbing for some future Mission Impossible movie.
  • Opening and closing the fridge and freezer door accompanied by repeated bursts of 'I want sumpin to eat!' over, and over and over again! (and it doesn't matter that she ate not five minutes ago).

I realise that she's exploring, and my job is to redirect (over and over and over again!). I also realise this is about control - but I'm about ready for a break.

The most annoying thing about this latest round of explorations is when I answer and suggest 'sumpin' to eat, we go through a list, raisins? NO, yogurt? NO, applesauce? NO, cheese? NO crackers? NO, and so it goes on.

Soooo - as I feel the tell tale, throat tightening, nose snuffling signs of a cold coming on, today's options will be 'Take it?' (NO) 'Leave it'.

This mommy is sometimes slow, but she gets there in the end - a lesson learned.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Three Things Meme

Megan at Velveteen Mind has tagged me to complete this meme (which, despite her wonderful explanation of how it should be pronounced, will still sound like 'meh meh' in my head when I see this word).

Sitting down and doing this took longer than I thought but it was fun.

Three Things That Scare Me:

  1. Harry Potter –(stop laughing) the later books – yet I will be buying the new one come July!
  2. Myself or someone in my close family contracting a fatal illness.
  3. Pedophiles.
Three People Who Make Me Laugh
  1. My kids (I know, that’s two people) E because of her ever expanding use of multi-syllabic words that never cease to amaze me, and J with those gurgly baby laughs that crack me up every time I hear them, even though I had to work SO hard to make them happen!
  2. Billy Connolly
  3. My husband

Three Things I Love

  1. My family
  2. Chocolate
  3. An ice cold beer

Three Things I Hate

  1. Bigotry
  2. Drivers that don’t use their turn signals
  3. Buttons – I really HATE them, and I’m not alone koumpounophobia. While I wouldn't go so far as to say it is a 'fear' for me, I certainly do hate them and will go out of my way not to wear anything that has buttons on it. The fact that kids clothes designers seem so keen to use buttons for decorative purpose rather than function irritates me to no end. Yes, I know, I am a freak!

Three Things I Don't Understand

  1. Bigotry!
  2. Drivers that don’t use their turn signals – really people, how hard is it to flick that lever and give me even a nanosecond of warning that you’re going to cut in front of me?
  3. Why my daughter insists on stripping herself bare naked, as she has done twice already this morning.

Three Things On My Desk

  1. Empty coffee cup (a sign that my housework break is over!)
  2. Bills awaiting payment (better do that next!)
  3. Car keys

Three Things I'm Doing Right Now

  1. Answering this meme
  2. Telling E to get dressed
  3. Trying to remember if I have stamps to post these bills?

Three Things I Want To Do Before I Die

  1. Grow old
  2. Be a GREAT mother
  3. Be a grandmother

Three Things I Can Do

  1. Sing
  2. Play piano (albeit by ear – too lazy to read the music)
  3. Draw/Sketch

Three Things I Can't Do

  1. Dance – sadly I’m not blessed with the ability to move arms, legs and body in anything resembling a coordinated fashion, and to the beat of music? Forget it.
  2. Stay organized for more than a few days at a time
  3. Watch anything whatsoever to do with vampires.

Three Things I Think You Should Listen To

  1. Your conscience
  2. Celine Dion’s ‘Miracle’ CD – I don’t normally like Celine Dion – but this CD captures the wondrous miracle of being a mother for me.
  3. This

Three Things You Should Never Listen To

  1. Extremists
  2. Anyone who tries to drag you down – you know the negative,’ suck the happiness out of you’ people
  3. Sanjaya on American Idol (thankfully we don't have to after last night - AT LAST!)

Three Things I'd Like To Learn

  1. To have the patience to read music and play the piano better
  2. To stop worrying about what other people think of me or what I do
  3. To dance lol!

Three Favorite Foods

  1. Good Chinese food – there isn’t any in this town
  2. Spaghetti and Meatballs – all the better now that I’ve learned to make my own
  3. Chocolate – I’ll even sink to eating the Toll House chips if I have no other chocolate around!

Three Shows I Watched As A Kid

  1. Blue Peter (a UK show)
  2. The A Team
  3. Wonder Woman

Three Things I Regret

  1. A brief fling with someone when I was 24 – not a good person and not a good fling.
  2. Not visiting a friend when I knew she was going to die, because I was too chicken to handle it – what a coward I am.
  3. Not knowing my paternal grandparents.

I think I am supposed to 'tag' three more people for this but since everyone I 'know' in blogland has done this, or something similar recently I won't. Feel free to do it if you like though :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Pain of Motherhood

Yesterday's news of the murders at Virginia Tech has all of us reeling at yet another senseless massacre. Megan at Velveteen Mind has captured for me here what goes through my mind each time something like this happens.

Before I became a mother, stories involving loss of life, whether on a large scale like this, or just of an individual, in whatever circumstances, made me sad. Having children of my own however brings a whole different perspective. A deeper reaction and one that stays with me for a long time. I find myself imagining what each mother must feel on hearing that her baby has been taken from her - what a gut wrenching, painful piece of news to ask any mother to digest. Imagine the pain too of the mothers whose children commit these crimes? How do you even begin to deal with that? I feel for the fathers too of course, and the siblings, and the investigators, and the members of law enforcement, or other people whose task it is to break that news to next of kin, but I find myself feeling much more so for the moms. It just runs so contrary to the 'natural order of things' to ask a mother to bury her child - and I know many mothers have lost babies through illness, accident, or at the particularly rancid hands of a pedophile, and they have to do it on a daily basis all over the world - it's still wrong somehow.

There is something more jarring about what happened yesterday, and in other cases like the Amish school shootings which happened only days before I delivered my son in October past. I sat and looked at him in my hospital room feeling for those Amish mothers all the more - never did they think when they looked into their own newborns' eyes that some crazed gunman would shatter their world and take those innocent babies in a few short years. I feel for these mothers and their painful loss, for the pain of the question 'why?' that is sure to be rattling around their heads, now and for some time to come. I feel for the task they have ahead of picking up and carrying on after all the 'busyness' that surrounds a death and the formalities that will proceed in the days ahead. This is painful for me, a mother, just because trying to imagine what they are going through tears me apart - how much more painful must it be to actually go through it?

This is a scary world at times, one that makes me want to order up the largest, lifetime lasting, bulk order of cotton wool imaginable to help me protect my babies.

My thoughts are with all the mothers who have lost their babies, yesterday, or any day. May God hold you in his loving arms, now and always.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Flamenco Mom - Five Questions

I have jumped on this little interview bandwagon, to get, and keep my blog ball rolling. Flamenco Mom has asked me the five questions below. If you would like to join in, read the instructions after my 'interview' and I'll interview you.
  1. If you had a choice between living in the mountains or by the ocean, which would you choose and why? Ocean. I am 5ft 9, the air is thin enough up here thank you. Plus, more of our families will visit if we lived near the beach. There are mountains aplenty in Ireland (well more like big hills, but never mind).
  2. Would you like to have more children, or have you not thought about it yet? Oh yes I’ve thought about it, plenty. I waver on this one, a lot. My husband is set on two (mind you for a while he thought one was just fine so who knows?). I just have this feeling deep down that I’m meant to have at least one more. I had rough elements to both my pregnancies, and last time, especially with two bouts of preterm labor I pretty much convinced myself I couldn’t go through with another pregnancy. Then baby was born, and we now have the benefit of some distance between those negative pregnancy feelings, I look at what a wonderful sweet baby he is and I ask myself – ‘how could I not want another one of these?’ Then I look at my wonderful, spirited, feisty and sometimes exasperating daughter and ask myself ‘how could I cope with another one of these?’ lol! Do you think I’m indecisive? I don’t know, yes? No? Maybe? At any rate, if I do want another one, we’d better get our skates on; I’ll be 35 next month (yuck!).
  3. What is your favorite film? Steel Magnolias – I wish I could put some big ‘high brow’ epic in here and make myself sound all intelligent and interesting – but that really is my favourite. Any movie that can make me cry and laugh, and go ‘aha, I know someone just like that’ – is a goodie in my book. When my relatives come to visit me they are all taken by the southern accents they hear around them and often times tell me it’s like living in ‘Steel Magnolias’
  4. What would be your ideal vacation? Definitely in a luxury log cabin resort, with gorgeous big fires cracking and spitting in a big open fireplace complete with obligatory furry rug to lie on in front of it. Somewhere in the mountains in Colorado (I have nothing against visiting the mountains), in winter. I’d love to be out snowmobiling or dog-sledding, or some other bundle-up-to-keep-warm activities by day, and eating delicious decadent meals in the evening. Our kids will have to stay at home, we’ll arrange for Nana or Granny to come to stay and mind them. Of course, enjoying this vacation would depend on me surmounting the inevitable guilt I would feel at leaving them behind – I even feel guilty just sitting here speculating about it!
  5. If you could have a superpower, what would it be? I would love the power to pause time, for little spells, so that I could soak in more of the ‘baby’ time that E has left. She is growing up so quickly – she looks, and talks like a four year old yet she is only two and a half. I even have to remind myself that she’s still so young when I find myself expecting too much of her. Yesterday she said ‘whatever’ to me – where did that come from? Recently she has told me ‘you look brutiful mommy’, she has also donned a hat and said ‘very distinguished’ (thank you Little Bear!), and uses words like ‘certainly’ – huh? I’m happy that she’s got good vocabulary – but I mourn somewhat for the babyhood she is rapidly leaving behind.

    Also, if that ‘pause function’ would still leave me free to move, it sure would come in handy when I can see that she is about to clobber her baby brother, but he’s beyond arms reach so I can’t prevent it happening – yes, that would be useful every day, sometimes several times a day!

So, if you want to ride our bandwagon, leave me a comment with 'interview me' in the text, and I will email you five spiffing new questions :)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Potty Training is for the BIRDS.

Really! If we were birds how much easier would this process be? Just fly along and let loose on some unsuspecting punter's head.

This has to be the most challenging aspect of motherhood so far (cue experienced mothers with older kids and their knowing peals of laughter here. I know there are worse things than this ahead - too scared to think of those yet).

I have a two and a half year old who is so far resistant to all and any approaches I take. I've tried praise, rewards, blatent bribery and shameless pleading - no major progress so far and we've been at this give or take, 6 months. If I had a dollar for every mom stating 'oh really you're having problems? - gosh it just 'clicked' with my kid' I'd be a rich lady by now. I'm ready for some serious 'clicking' in our house right now.

It's driving me nuts. Growing up I often heard my Dad state that insanity was hereditary, you get it from your kids - stuff like this makes me realise how right is he is!

Here's hoping she gets there soon though, my mental health, and the carpet, depend on it.

The Best Laid Plans ...

A former ‘career girl’ turned Stay at Home Mom, with two kids in suburban America! How the heck did this happen to me? An Irish girl – whom only a short while ago had no intention whatsoever of leaving Ireland, much less to come 4000 miles away! I loved my comfy little life thanks very much with my nice car and well paid job. I am what most would call a ‘homebody’ too, I loved being close to my Mum and the rest of my family and friends.

This is what happens when your world gets turned upside down by meeting a cute Irish guy in a bar in Ft Lauderdale. He was a friend of my cousin and her fiancé, and I was in Florida for their wedding. I met him the night before I left to return to Ireland. Buzzed on one too many Rum Runners, I kissed him goodnight in front of many cousins, aunts and uncles (one of whom is a Priest!). I took off from Miami Airport the next day, never dreaming I’d set eyes on or hear from this guy again. I mean holiday romances never work out, and we hadn’t even had a romance at all! Imagine my embarrassment too at arriving home, met by my parents at the airport, to discover that the family jungle drums had been beating and all of a sudden I’m getting the third degree on the ‘young man’ I met! Cut a really long story short – we kept in touch by phone, he came home intending to stay, couldn’t hack it, moved back to the USA, broke my heart, we kept in touch a bit more, and the transatlantic visits started increasing in number – both directions.

All the while I was working my way up in my job in bank marketing, and doing pretty good. Of course, despite my own delusions to the contrary, nobody is perfect, and the one ‘flaw’ that kept coming up in my evaluations was my aversion to risk – I kept being told that I needed to take more risks ( ironic considering that the banking industry has to be one of the most risk averse I can think of!). And so began a period of intense self contemplation. I liked my job, I was good at it and I was excited that I was earmarked for further promotion – but what did this mean when the man I loved lived so far away? At work we were always encouraged to set professional goals etc – I never managed to come up with convincing plans and it is only in retrospect that I can see why? I only thought I loved my career.

What I realize now is how I could never have been fulfilled by my career alone, and couldn’t have continued to make transatlantic trips twice a year to see my fella. There would always have been something missing. On a visit to see him in Florida in April 2002 I was asked a question that would have me considering the most risky decision of my life so far – he asked me to marry him! I said yes instinctively and came home to much celebration from our families, and celebration tempered with curiosity and a level of concern from my co-workers and immediate line managers! I guess they knew the writing was on the wall and that I’d be leaving soon – something I wasn’t even prepared to admit to myself. How could I just up and leave my job and trek halfway across the world?

And so my self contemplation continued for a while longer, my risk averse self hoping something else would take over and make the decision for me – do I leave and head Stateside?, or do I work on my husband-to-be and persuade him to make the move home? I knew that the latter option would make him unhappy at that particular time so the only choice really was for me to move here.

Here I am four and a half years later, married, with two beautiful children. Staying at home was an easy decision for us. We had, thanks to a long drawn out immigration process, been living on one salary since I got here, (my work permit didn’t come through until just before I got pregnant with my first), but more important than that minor inconvenience, both of us wanted me to be at home with our child(ren). Living with the decision has been difficult at times, and I have struggled with the ‘losing my identity’ thing more than once. Settling in Florida has taken a long time, I was desperately homesick, and while I do still miss home, kids have a way of giving you a different focus, and truthfully keep me too darned busy most of the time to feel homesick.

So, the best laid plans do go astray as they say – had you told me 6 years ago that I’d be swapping my suits and salary, for sandals and spit-up I’d have laughed heartily in your face. While I always hoped to be married and have children, I imagined them fitting nicely into my life as it was – now I laugh heartily at myself. In telling me that I was risk averse and needed to work on that, my bosses helped me take the plunge in my personal life, kissing my professional life goodbye – for now. I had to do what my Mum and many others encouraged me to do – submit to another plan, not my own – but put my trust in God and be guided by Him – and I thank Him for bringing me here.