When you hold your baby for the first time, a million thoughts run through your head. They are a jumble of emotions, questions, glimpses of futures, possible and impossible, there is hope and love building a strong between you, so quickly, that you barely blink and it is there. You learn in those first few moments something you never knew. That your soul belongs to little hands, a little heart, that your very existence was all for this little person. How in the world is one person capable of that amount of love and care? Because as a mother of four, I experienced that four separate times. I don't shine with less love for one when a new one comes along, and as they all grow, so does that love. It's amazing. Alexander, being my first, has taught me so much in his nearly 11 years. I learned what it meant to be a mother with him. How to have patience, strength. How to fight for what I believe in, how to laugh, how to appreciate the small things. He will be 11 in May, he will be a cub scout for the last time tomorrow, before he crosses that bridge on his journey to responsibility and self reliance. Before I know it, a short year and a few months, he will be leaving the world of the elementary for the semi-teen world of the junior high. I am looking forward, but I still look back from time to time. I look at the old pictures of my little Elfin child, and I remember. It is not pain I feel, but there is sadness when you watch them grow and mature, and you want to capture the moments of their babyhood and childhood in snow-globes and keep them there. Tiny, unchanging. Perhaps, it will always be this way with the first child, every milestone leaves me with a sense of loss, but filled with so much pride. I watch each of my boys, so very different they all are, personalities, likes and dislikes, it amazes me everyday the love I have inside for these little beings, the pride, the strength I gain from their success, the fear and pain I feel when they falter. It must seem silly, to some, when you think all he is doing is moving up and on to boy scouts, and yet here I am emotional to the change. However, they are all my babies, even though they will grow up, move on and up in everything they do, I will always remember that first moment I looked upon their tiny faces, held them in my arms and fell, hard and deeply in love with them! That is what happens, you fall and you keep falling. You never stop loving, you never stop learning from them, and they are only small for such a little time, there will come a time when he will be too big to kiss me good night, or hold my hand when we are walking. When he will want to walk in front of me, not beside me, but the love will never go anywhere. It will keep beating wildly in my heart and I will always see a sea of ever changing faces, from the first puffy newborn baby face, to the toothless grins, to the sweet two teeth smiles, to the proud first day of school... These are what I see... And it hurts and it doesn't all at the same time.
I got that nap today- A nap is defined as short sleep: a period of short light sleep, especially during the day; which in all cases, is probably true. I however, tend to creep beneath my heavy blanket, in the quiet darkness of my room and the sleep I have been lacking for the last several weeks or months, because my brain is not like most peoples, and never shuts up, takes over. Sleep. That thing most of us take for granted, comes back to me in these super, hour long excursions I take upon myself, like a special treat, like late night ice cream when the kids are in bed, like that last unopened Christmas present, or a night out for drinks with the girls. And I use it up. I sleep until my eyes open on their own and I am rested, well, almost rested, fully- It's like a battery charge. I feel great, it's bright green and filled with life, but I missed half the day while I plugged myself in to my bed. Now I sit here, well rested in the middle of the night, wondering if tonight will be like last night, or the night before, or all last month, where I will not close my eyes again till 4 am just to wake up by 6:51, yes, 6:51 in the morning, to a baby who is demanding to be changed, fed and played with, to two boys who even with an alarm clock set, still need me or Grandma or Patrick to wake them up, because God forbid our internal alarms stop working, the baby sleeps in and we catch another sweet hour of sleep. They could be fully awake and still lay in bed, listening for the sound of a creaking floor and praying we forget its a school day. Ian will sleep as long as the others don't touch, speak, or move too loudly in the space where his head lays. I will stumble, to the bathroom, because if I don't go there first, I will proceed to the dance of my bladder for another 25 minutes, while I prepare a bottle and a pot of coffee with one hand. I usually look like I just wrestled a bear before that first cup touches my mouth, and death to any child who asks me a question that doesn't start with, "Good morning mommy! or where are my shoes?" This has been my morning forever. I have days where Patrick will kindly let me sleep in till 8, which is nice when I can do it. Even before I decided to try once again, this staying home thing. I was up by 7, coffee and facebook like it is a newspaper, looking for articles to awaken my brain. Since I walk, EVERYWHERE there was never a toss up who walked the kids to school. Now, with me home, Grandma loves that I am up at 7 and dressed by a quarter to 8, to walk the boys to school. I don't mind it. It's alright. We share in this family thing we have here- It's a nice thing, to have so many hands helping with the stirring and creating! Even when my day didn't technically start till 11, I didn't roll out of bed and step into my shoes. I still can't do that, because I am not a morning person. I need to wake up and become human again after my night as a bear wrestling monster. The kids know now, "Wait until she goes for her second cup!" I will hear Alexander say on a Saturday morning. The questions are usually, can we play games, go to the park, play outside, have ice cream for breakfast! You know the usual. I, however can not answer any questions till I am a cup of coffee and a half down. Because I have learned to live on 2-4 hours of sleep. I have been this way my whole life, even as a child- So I get by just fine, until that day I say, "Hey I am going to go lay down for a bit!" And I nap like a champion Olympic sleeper. The cycle begins again. I am embracing who I am; the night owl. I just know eventually it will all catch up to me. I am embracing this new lifestyle of stay at home mom again, because I am terrified to miss a second of Noah, knowing all his firsts will be my last. I accept it and I thank every second for being able to do it, and having the support to try. Who knows I could decide a month from now that I need to get out again and work- but it was worth it to feed him his first taste of fruit and watch him learn to walk forward in the walker. I will cherish every second of this first year, because it is my last first year. Life is hard, moving and expanding and growing and changing, is hard. But I have support and my 6 hour naps once a month! I will survive, like I have survived the last 29 years!Well, my mother decided to call the school this morning. She thought it would be a good idea before the Army of one ( that's me) decided to go marching on up there, in my penguin pj's if need be. I came down stairs, baby slung over my arm to the middle of the conversation. "Yes, well he is not sick you see, and since he is not sick and only has a cough, the last thing the nurse should be doing is sending him home. We are sending him to school with cough drops, but until the weather clears and the classrooms aren''t 300 degrees he is going to have a cough." This continued for some time. While in the kitchen making a bottle, I hear, "I just want to warn you, if it happens again, I really wouldn't want to be in your shoes if his mother has to come up there again." My mother, the woman who I am pretty sure is the reason why most Rahway principals were bald, warned the staff at Grover Cleavland about me. I am not sure if I should be proud or not. Am I following in my mother's footsteps? That take no crap attitude? I sure hope so, and I hope they take the warning. I will not be the mother who every time my kid says it was someone else or complains about something he doesn't like, be up there to start a fight, no I have enough common sense to know, children will do just about anything to not have to do anything. But I will not be the mother cowering with shame, because you try to make ME feel like I do not take care of my children. If my child was really, truly sick, he would not be in school. If he was really and truly sick, he would be at the doctor. I am also not the mother that sees fault in everyone elses child but my own. I see their faults, I know their bullshit, I am not looking at them through rose colored glasses, but I also know when my child is hurting, frightened, sad, angry or just being obstinate. I am their mother, it is my job to see only them in a room filled with 30 other children. But I also will not take it when I feel like something someone else is doing is complete crap. I will let my feelings known, and at this point the warning is clear I would be so annoyed that you wouldn't like me! Just saying.
The never ending laundry pile- The first load of kids clothes is about to go in. I do them first, because honestly, if I do mine, I will never get to theirs and a vicious cycle will ensue. A ten year old, who has no shirts that go well with bright green jeans, a 8 year old who unfortunately is in a husky and seems to hoard all the pants that are three sizes too small. A five year old whose favorite shirt, that if he could he would wear for days, is somewhere at the bottom, with chocolate milk still staining the front. Mom, you don't need pants right now, you can get by, they need every pair of pants, shirts and where the hell are all the socks! Why in 7 days do they go through a month full of outfits? Why is it that, this never ending pile of dirty, stinky boy laundry seems to multiply even after you have washed, dried, folded and put away a wardrobe you barely see half of on their bodies? I will tell you why, because they try and dump. I am definitely thinking of doing the sniff test from now on. If it still smells like a dryer sheet and there are no dirt or other unidentifiable stains, it will be folded and put back in the dresser, then in a moment of genius I will get a padlock and key and heavy chains, to lock up their dressers! Or even better, let them live out of the piles of clothing that can usually be found from the door to the dresser, that they seem to walk over like it is a cushy path to their lives. Laundry! When will someone invent a machine that washes, dries and folds and all I have to do is place the already folded items in a basket and transport it to their rooms? After that it is their problem! haha
It is difficult, being a parent of a child who has decided it is his way or no way. Ian is very trying, he eats what he wants when he wants, goes to sleep when he decides he is tired. He is daddy's shadow and mommy's headache, but I love that little midget and I will try my hardest to get him to see that mommy has good ideas and they could be fun. A month ago, we started an eating chart, if he eats three complete meals a day that do not consist of cereal and junk, he gets a sticker for each meal. It was working, it is still working, but he doesn't ask for a sticker anymore. He has his moments of diva-ness, his way or no way, spelled out in fake frowns and tears and sometimes stomping. It is quite exhausting for everyone involved. Now on to the school issue. Ian couldn't start this year, 1/2 day preschool is not easy for all the adults in the house who walk everywhere and he can not start kindergarten till September when he will only be a few short months away from 6. So we have been attempting to teach him things from home. He has no interest in this school place like the other two had. He gets a vacant look on his face when we start talking about it. My biggest fear is he will pull the same, "If I can't see you, you aren't there." tactic he uses on us, on a teacher, and I see a lot of time spent in the principals office. However, I am determined. He knows all of his numbers, from 1-20, at least he can count above that and recognizes them. He likes to pretend he doesn't know his letters, but a few tests here and there, there are only a few it takes him a few minutes to recognize. We have started for a long time now with reading out loud and he tries very hard to tell the story his way, which is all in the good. However, I have to bribe him to sit down and learn things. I have given him the reward of computer time, all learning games, he gets one for every lesson he completes. He needed a break. I see a long, stressful day in my future, for every day I will attempt to take the diva out of this child, and teach him how to be more accepting of other people telling him what to do. For now, it's one step at a time. Morning Letter recognition after breakfast, number games before lunch, some computer time, then a snack, independent play so I can get things done, then we will read. Everyday, we will look at RIF and we will read. He has already started recognizing sounds, even if he isn't certain about the letter. He tries. Now if I could only get him to slow down when he speaks to me, we both might like each other at the end of all this.
Going through some serious emotional battles with myself lately. Between a oldest child growing up; a new baby who is my last, a five year old who will be starting school in the fall and an 8 year old who is my biggest battle, yet my sweetest Angel boy ever. I am just an emotional parent. I will be 30 this year, its not an immense age, to some I am still a baby, to others like myself getting ready or already hitting that milestone, we have come to a turning point. Sadly, I have always been quite old; or as my brother said most poetically, I am a young person, living an old persons life. I am watching this world I have built, change and grow, and it is terrifying and exciting all at the same time. I am bent more towards my inner emotions at the moment, probably mostly due to the fact that I still have some serious hormonal issues going on from having a baby 5 months ago. However, I have decided to blame it on the year of change and growth. I look around at everything, I watch my boys interact with each other and other people, learn and mature at a rapid speed, I just want it to slow down for a second so I can catch up. However, the truth of it all, I take a deep breath and I allow myself a few moments of pride. Pride in myself, pride in my parenting, my teaching, my morals and values. I pat myself on the back for being the mother of these boys, who have shown me, that with the help of a few, I have been guiding them into being amazing men. Tonight, Alexander had his first official Boy Scout meeting. On our way out, Patrick and I stopped to talk with our long-lost scouting friends, you know, the people who made the beginning of our Scouting experience into a lifelong love. I asked Melissa, if she could possibly bring Alexander home. Of course, these are my heart family, the people outside my own home I trust with my children. Alexander told her, "I will have to talk with my mom first, before I go home with you." This is my child, he was listening, he knows my rules, he knows my practices, he listens to me. I was so proud in that moment and all my anxiety over leaving my "baby" at the scout meeting went away completely. I won't always be there, as he grows more, but he knows enough and he knows the right way to handle any situation. I am proud, because my children are going to be alright, if I just keep doing what I am doing. It is the small things that make you realize you really are a good parent. It is in the unseen sometimes, where you think back and all the "Am I doing it wrong" questions play back over in your mind and you have a moment like this, something simple, when you realize, No! I am totally doing it right. I am doing what I think is right. I am making able, smart, aware children, kind, empathic young men. And I am proud of me!