Sunday, January 25, 2009

Motherly Advice

I attended a baby shower this weekend for a sweet friend of mine. She is expecting her first child - a baby girl! As you can imagine, shower festivities were aplenty. The "candy bar in the diaper" game, the "don't cross your legs" game, the "baby in the ice cube" game, bring a book for the baby's library, and fill out a card to share advice for the mom-to-be. All these things I greatly love. However, there was a problem with the day...

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I second guess all that I say and do at public gatherings. Ten minutes after arriving home I begin "the replay". "The replay" is like a movie in my mind, where I see all my interactions and all my words and I feel absolutely dumb for all that has transpired.

On this occasion, the replay revealed the stupidity of my advice given to her on one of the decorative cards, that I'm sure will become a part of some baby scrapbook. In my defense the pens were not working correctly and I think it threw off my game a bit. I tried five different pens, all of which refused to write my words - that should have been my sign. No, I dug a little more, tried a pencil without any luck. At last my persistence paid off, or so I thought, and I found a Bic to relay my message containing the sage wisdom of my mothering. The writing looked like that of an eight year old, because at that point I had traced my friend's name several times. Not really the problem, but it is vivid in my mind's eye so I thought I'd make mention. I can't remember all of the note but here's the gist:
"My advice for this special time is: to laugh. When the baby is crying, your step-son has broken your favorite something or other, and someone's dog has pooped on your floor realize the situation for the ridiculousness that it is - and laugh." It didn't start off too bad, but right now as I type those words I cringe as a wave of embarrassment hits. She has no dogs! The only relief I have right now is that "ridiculousness" did not appear with a red line underneath it, I woke last night doubting its legitimacy, thinking it might not really have been a word. But let's get back to the dog pooping thing - what the heck? Everyone else is sweet, "get sleep when you can", "let her get dirty", "let me babysit for you" and here I am telling her to laugh when someone's, not her own, but someone's dog poops in her house. Why didn't I say burn dinner or your doorbell rings with unexpected company? No, I picked stray dog feces! I think I revealed a little TMI into my own life. And do I laugh when my dog craps on my floor? Heck no! I spank the dog, threaten to kill the dog, and then I tell the kids I'm getting rid of the little rat-dog and make them all cry; I follow it all up with locking the dog outside or in her bed for the rest of the day. One big jocular moment in time - yeah right.

Maybe my advice should have been, "When you become a mom, lack of sleep wreaks havoc on the mind, and you will write and say stupid things so think really hard before you open your mouth or write your thoughts. Give yourself time to think things through, lest you allow people to peek into the not-so-pretty-window of you life."

That's what I've done the 24 hours since her shower, I've thought about all I could have said and what I should have written. If I had it to do over, it would have said this:

"Dear Kristina,
My advice to you during this special time is: to realize what an honor has been bestowed upon you, treasure it.
Sleep when you can, if you can.
Know that it all passes too quickly, except for the stage where they wake up during the night, several times a night - that seems to last a lifetime.
Ask for help when you need it and put pride behind you.
Surround yourself with friends made up of moms that you respect. Take their advice - but not always, at times you have to make your own path.
Realize that all mothers feel like they have miserably failed at their job at one time or another. (The mothers who don't - most likely have royally screwed their kids, they will figure it out in 15 years and it won't be pretty - don't hang out with them.) Take heart, children extend grace to us more often then we deserve and are generous with their love.
Love your little one enough to discipline - no one likes to hang out with other couples whose kids are brats.
Remember the fun that brought you this precious gift - set time aside for you and your man.
There will be days in the beginning when personal hygiene will become a luxury, buy some nice perfume and a hat - it will cover a multitude of sins.
Etch into your mind those adorable moments when you smile at your little one so much that your face actually begins to hurt.
Laugh out loud everyday.
Dream big for her, but don't forget your own.
Pray for discernment, for guidance, for protection, giving thanks always to the Lord.
Your world is about to be rocked - but don't fear it will be the best thing you have ever experienced. Congratulations!
With Love, Erica"

My P.S. would most likely remain the same, "If all else fails, keep a bottle of vodka in the cupboard above the fridge...," you'll need it if you ever get your little one a pet.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Maledictory Mariner of My Mind

I think I might be certifiable.

Last night at 3:00 a.m. Ryleigh came in our room to tell me she had a bad dream. I told her to go to her room and I would be in to see her in a few minutes. I laid there and drifted back to sleep, it was only when I heard her start to cry that I jumped from the bed in fear of her waking the others. When I went in there she told me that Brynna made her watch the movie Indian In the Cupboard and now she was afraid because the toys came to life. Like any mom, I offered to pray, tuck her in and gave her a kiss on the forehead. Keely woke during this time and requested milk to which I obliged, not cheerfully, but obliged none-the-less. Fifteen minutes after returning to my bed, Ryleigh began to cry out again. At this point in time, my mind begins to swirl with expletives and I again run down the hallway to try and avoid the whole house waking. Granted, my attitude is not as sweet as the first time, but still I try to comfort her by telling her it's just a movie and to think of all the fun we will have tomorrow. It doesn't work, she's still whining. My patience wanes, I then resort to, "The only thing you need to be afraid of is me. Now go to sleep." I'm not sure why it didn't work or why I am not Mother of the Year but it was obvious, I needed a different approach. I thought if I brought her to my room she would quickly go to sleep on the floor and then I too could get the rest that I needed to avoid a major meltdown.

My children don't realize that different levels should be used when speaking indoors or at night time, they only choose to whisper and mumble when I am asking a question that needs an immediate response. So here is Ryleigh making requests for warm corn bags, cooler pajamas, and more lighting in an unhushed voice. The sailor in my mind is getting a little out of hand. "Lay down and don't say a word." Quite ensues. Then 15 minutes later as I begin to rejoin the sandman, "Mom, my arm hurts."
"It will be better in the morning. No more words."

Sleep. I am able to begin dreaming of Keely dipping my couch pillows in chocolate. "Mom, it's hot even when I take the blanket off." That's when it happened. I dropped the S-bomb. "Shut-up." This is a big deal in our house. I was thinking worse, but still it felt good when I said it, but two seconds later I realized that I actually said it and not just in my head...I felt horrible. Brian who obviously was feigning sleep made a little gasp. That just added to my anger, why wasn't he interceding when I am two seconds away from moving on to some hardcore vulgarity. He was saved by the cry, Vance was awake. I commanded Ryleigh to stay put and off I ran to the boy's room. My hope was that a paci in the mouth would do the trick - not so lucky. At this point my face is pressed against the wall praying for God to allow me some sleep. I succumbed to the pressure of the wailing boy child and nursed him for fifteen minutes. I tiptoed in the room and hunkered down under the blanket.
"What did Vance want?"
Are you kidding me? Is she ever going to sleep? "Go to sleep," I hiss.

"Can we pray?" I don't know if I should try to speak to God when he knows all the horrible things I would like to be saying. I offer up a prayer anyway. It's short and to the point, "Lord, Let her sleep. Please! Amen." I shut my eyes as tight as they will go in hopes that it will keep my tongue from passing my lips again.
"And help me not to think of bad things and only good," she chipperly added.
It was 4:50 am, her last request, not another peep from her. Conviction hit. I decided to utter the same prayer in hopes that the potty-mouthed pirate who was wreaking havoc on my mental process would set sail and that I would drift off to dreamland thinking about how blessed I was to have these little ones - even if Vance was up again at 5:20!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Non-Discerning Palate

Keely, the two year old, has begun to demonstrate her independence. She has decided that she no longer likes my cooking. I'm not cooking exotic dishes or forcing her to eat spinach, I stick to kid-pleasing menu options; Chicken Parmesan, Homemade Mac n' Cheese, Sloppy Joes. Things that two months ago she would have scarfed down, she now refuses.

Grandmothers don't worry, she is still healthy and thriving, croutons and milk obviously provide some nutritional value, and yes I am giving her a multi-vitamin. My concern, as horrible as it sounds, has nothing to do with her caloric intake, rather it is a pride issue on my part. Why doesn't she like the food I prepare? This little one has consumed dog food on more than one occasion. She frequently gulps her own creations from cups of water that have meat sitting on the bottom, chips floating on top, and cookies that have expanded and developed into mush. She drinks sour milk from sippy cups found days after they were made. Remember from previous posts - she is the one who swallowed the penny? I even think when we went to the petting zoo last summer, she ate a goat turd, yet my meatloaf turns her stomach. Is it possible that goat's produce tastier morsels than mom? I'm not sure, but I certainly hope that the age old statement "We are what we eat" is not true, because I think that would make her a cheap little poop.

And Then There Were Two...

I've started a new blog, not to replace this one but, to maintain in addition to this one. Crazy, huh? For years I've been filing away ideas from magazines and other moms of things I want to someday do with my kids and I've decided to share them with the cyber world. I named the blog "My Mom is Better Than Yours", not because I think I am better than anyone but, because I think if you do fun things with your kids they will think you are better than all other moms. So the blog is filled with crafts, tips, and ideas to do if you have kids. It won't include my tips for cleaning the floor, which is to get a dog to clean the kid's messes and have kids to clean the dog's messes, but it will tell you that if you plant a peanut you can grow a plant. I realize it's not for everyone but hopefully it's fun for those with little ones.

Monday, January 5, 2009

An Apparent Sacrilege

Here's my stance on my writing. I want to share my heart for God, my love for my family, the reality of life, and a side of my personality that I don't often get to express. I offended someone, known because of an anonymous comment left, the other day with my story about Jace's gas, they weren't disturbed by Jace's issues but rather by using Jesus and farted in the same sentence. I am sorry. Not that I wrote it because, I still believe my Lord passed gas, but sorry that my heart for my fully-man-fully-God savior was not clear. My heart is to be real, to acknowledge the stuff others might not want to but still need dealing with - I am trying to have a heart like God.

I hope those of you who personally know Christ see the humor and recognize the truth of the subject - he was a man, he lived as us, he was just sinless! Those of you who don't know much about Christ and think I am just being funny, please know that while I am trying to make you laugh, God came to earth as a man to connect with you. Not to inundate you with rules but to relate to you in reality. He lived, loved, got hurt, was falsely blamed, became frustrated, enjoyed spending time with others and, yes, he pooped! In Mathew 15:17 Jesus says, " Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out the body?" I don't think he was referring to vomiting.

I realize this is not the typical approach to sharing about Jesus, my prayer is that through my rants and stories that you see the presence of God in my life. I even hope that you will see how God loves this crazy, yelling, at times unappreciative, messy, talks-to-much mother and realize he loves you too. Find out who He is for yourself and don't rely on me or the other extreme, an uptight Christian, discover him for yourself . One thing I've learned over the years is that Christ always meets me in the poop of life. He will meet you too.