Tag Archives: siblings

Finding breathing room and seeing the light

9 May

ImageOne, of what will certainly be many, black eyes in the P house.

I’ve been struggling a little bit lot over the past few months.  Not really with my mood, but rather with the “voices” in my head.  No, I’m not actually hearing anything, silly.  I just mean the kind of self-defeating conversations you have with yourself when you feel like you have made a poor choice or you aren’t living up to your own expectations about what being a mom and wife looks like.

My boys (ages- a couple days from 2 & 5 and 7/12- his words, not mine) are having a rough go of the sibling thing.  They are at two completely different stages and have mostly different interests…except of course when one brother is playing with something- then it becomes absolutely the ONLY thing the other wants to do. 😉  Anyway, I feel more like a referee than a mom most days, and I’m fairly certain that I’ve been about as sweet as rotten eggs as a wife since our second became mobile.  L2′s nickname is “the bionic child”, and for good reason.  He challenges me to my core with the physical intensity required to keep that boy safe.  While being extremely independent, he is also an expert climber, jar opener, mess maker, and sharp item finder.  Being awake means he’s at risk for injury and so I can’t leave him alone.  Even for a minute.  Even to pee.

L1 is at an equally delightful and challenging age.  The one where his curiosity has blossomed from self endangerment (which he never really suffered from) to research.  However, it also means that he asks a million questions a day and is incredibly sensitive because he is analyzing everyone’s words and actions.  What used to be wishy-washy playground talk by 4 and 5 year olds has become “the world is going to end because so-and-so told me he’s going to lock me in the squidapod…”.  What in the world is a squidapod anyway???

Yesterday was a random day.  My husband was out of town.  A couple of friends and neighbors stopped by.  The landscaper was moving mulch from some trees we had cut down last week.  It was sunny and warm, but not too hot.  The stuff of ordinary Wednesdays in May in Atlanta.

But, for me May 8, 2013 was extraordinary.  Why?  Because it was the first time in as long as I can remember that I felt like I was doing an okay job.  That my boys weren’t constantly in a competition to see who could irritate the other more.  That I didn’t feel the need to rush to beat the bedtime clock.  That we just were.

This morning we slept in a little.  We had just enough (but not too much) time before school to do the things we had to do.  We got to school on time.  Not late, but not too early for carpool, either.  L2 and I came home after dropping off L1 and he and I played a bit.  I cleared out my inbox a bit.  We ate a bit.  He actually watched part of a TV show!  He brought me a shirt out of his drawer and asked to get dressed.  He threw his own trash away and helped me clean up a few of his toys.  We hugged and laughed and giggled.  He fell down and bumped his head and instead of getting hysterical he walked over to me and asked for a hug.  We snuggled.

I found some breathing room in the past 24 hours.  For the first time in over a year my shoulders are not pulled up to my ears as an outward sign of the inward stress.  I am breathing a bit more deeply and peacefully.  I am seeing the light of what life will soon be like more regularly.

While I adore the infant phase and I am able to tolerate the toddler phase, by far, 5 years old is my favorite so far.  I miss the newborn smell and the ease of a child who can’t harm himself since he doesn’t move much.  But, I also miss being able to pee by myself.  And, reading.  Oh how I love books…and I miss them so.

My kids are growing older everyday.  Whether I like it or not, they are rapidly changing and developing.  So instead of living my life in mourning for their infancy, I am going to choose to be present and find the beauty in having older children.  The contentment and freedom that come with their independence and ability to communicate their needs.  The joy of finding myself again as I get to know them better.

Bless your heart 😉 ,

Amber

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Having More Kids? When everyone says “You’ll know…”, but you don’t.

5 Sep

When I was growing up I always said I wanted to have three children.  Maybe it was because I am one of three myself.

Image

~Meet my siblings~

Maybe it was because all three of my parents were technically one of three in their families (my stepmother lost a teenage brother when she was 13).  Or, later on because my husband is also one of three.  It seemed like everyone around me had three kids.

I pictured myself with a little girl, I think mostly because of the clothes.  I’ve always loved fashion and dressing someone else is so much more fun than (and easy than, right?) yourself.

After I had my PPD baby (which happened much later in life than expected on my 31st birthday due to some unexplained infertility the first few years of marriage), I was certain I was DONE.   I was so ill physically and emotionally from a traumatic birth and postpartum period that I couldn’t imagine having anymore kids.

~Meet L1~

Thank God, I didn’t go ahead with having my tubes tied, as I had begged my OB to do back then.  Because, of course, I got well and eventually got up the nerve to have another baby.  Things were totally different the second time.  I had a little more difficult pregnancy, but the birth was beautiful and I only had a couple of weeks of postpartum challenges.  And that’s when I fell in love with the newborn and early infant stage that sadly I could barely remember with my first son.

~Meet L2~

In fact, I remember blogging about that very thing the day that I took the above photo in late May 2011.  I believe I named the post “Best. Decision. Ever.”.  And it has been.

Since I had never dreamed I would have a second child, after all the difficulty becoming pregnant the first time and then my emotional challenges that had to be overcome to reconcile my PPD experience, you can imagine my surprise when I became pregnant with L2 after just a few months of trying.  It was meant to be.  Except, about halfway through my pregnancy I got a pretty bad bout of antenatal (or pregnancy-related) depression.  Because it occurred right around the same time we had our 20 week sonogram (and this time chose to learn the gender of our baby, which we had not done the first time around), I blamed it on gender disappointment.  I cried for three weeks straight.  I told only people who directly asked me the gender that I was having a boy.  I refused to shop for the baby or his room and denied my pregnancy in my mind, despite my expanding belly.  Thank goodness my hormones leveled out after a few weeks and I began to accept and acknowledge that I was going to be the mother of two boys.  Also, gratefully I was in the care of a psychiatrist (though I had decided not to medicate during pregnancy) and a therapist who helped me work through this difficult period.

I had deemed myself to be “done” prior to even conceiving L2, so it seemed obvious to me and everyone else (many of whom were also secretly disappointed I wasn’t having a girl), that I would never be a mother to a female.  I made plans to give away my maternity clothes, infant clothes and paraphernalia and toys as soon as L2 and I grew out of them.  I had labeled bins and bags ready and waiting in the closet.

And when that little head popped out of my belly and L2 greeted me with a wave and we locked eyes, I felt instantly that our family was complete.  My heart felt full and my eyes welled with tears, and this time they were tears of joy!

But here we are 15 months later, and all of that stuff having been donated, consigned or gifted.  And there’s still a little part of me that sighs when I walk past the maternity section at Target.  When I catch a glimpse of a mother nuzzling those soft hairs on her baby’s newborn head.  And mostly when I think about the future.  I always pictured big family holidays and reunions with lots of kids and in-laws and grandchildren.  With just two boys, will we always be just the four of us?  Or, will my boys marry and go to be with their wives’ families, leaving my husband and me (or even just me, if something happens to him later in life) to eat turkey alone?

I know lots of things rationally.  Sure, having lots of kids doesn’t guarantee they’ll be close to you or each other later in life.  It doesn’t mean that you’ll get to have a child of each gender.  Then there’s the advanced maternal age label and the associated risks now that I am over 35.  There’s the fact that I am still taking a small dose of medication to deal with anxiety that accompanies the first couple of years postpartum for me.  There’s my workaholic, traveling husband and the fact that I live far away from all of our family.  I can rattle off a thousand reasons why I should be able to proclaim “I’m done!” and mean it.

I know it’s what’s right in my head.  I know that my capacity to be a good mom is greater with just two very active boys.  But somewhere in my heart, not down very deep I yearn for another baby.  And if not for that, then for the courage and confidence to say “Just two for me.” and mean it.

Am I alone in this dilemma?  How did you “know” your family was complete?  And if you feel like you don’t know if you are “done”, then how do you believe you’ll decide whether or not to have more children?

Bless your heart ;-),

Amber

http://naptimeshopper.blogspot.com
p.s. I linked up with Naptime Review today.  Check it out, I think you’ll like it!
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