Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Brynna: A letter to my daughter on her 3rd birthday.

Brynna:

My little firecracker how is it that you are 3 years old? All those early days when I thought the days were long and time was inching along are gone. Now I want time to stand still; I want to go back to the beginning. back to the days before I knew how fast time really does pass by when raising young kids. Because you see,My Brynna, back then as a new parent I did not know how to sit back and just breathe you in. Back then, when it was just you and I huddled on the couch, everything was new. And everything seemed so hard. My mind was consumed with worrying if I was producing enough milk, were you getting enough tummy time, was I holding you too much or not enough?

Then, just like that, you were a toddler. New concerns arose to keep me from cherishing every moment. Were you eating enough, were you hitting your milestones, why were you taking so long to catch on to using the potty, were  you copying my bad behavior and were timeouts working?


And then you turned three. This past weekend we celebrated you my little firecracker, allowing you to pick whatever you wanted to do. No party or extended family. Just the four of us. We spent the day hanging around the house just playing with you. We put clothes on your new doll, listened to Disney Princess music, watched you ride your new bike on the sidewalk and let you pick the lunch menu (Mexican food, of course). After dinner we sang happy birthday and allowed you to eat a big piece of cake.

There will be birthdays when you'll ask your father and me to not be around. Instead you'll ask to celebrate your milestone with friends, a boyfriend (or girlfriend) and others. One day we might not be the first people on your guest list. I realized that the days you ask me and your dad to focus on you, wrap you in our arms and lay on the couch beside you are coming to an end with each passing day.

Now you're 3. And I'm a mom to two girls. A little more experienced, less concerned with what others think but still worried that I may not be doing this parenting thing the right way. Some days are hard and the hours are still long. Some days I want to press a do over button and I anxiously wait for the day to end so I have a moment to myself.

But those are some days. It's everyday that I miss you when I'm at work. Everyday I can't wait to get home to hug you and kiss you and ask about your day. It's every single day that I smile out of no where because I remember a funny thing you said or simply because the sound of your laughter that forever echoes in my mind brings so much joy that I can't even put that feeling into words.

My love for you grows everyday. I need you to understand this because I know that some days I'm not at my best, and you need to know that it has nothing to do with you. Life is hard and stressful, and parents have a lot of worries, responsibilities and stresses weighing on them.

So many times you have seen me upset or sad and you'll sit on my lap and just hug me or tell me I'm beautiful or you've asked if I'm proud of you. It's in those moments that I push all the crap aside and just focus on what's important: you. seeing, really seeing and hearing my daughter. Being present for you.

Brynna, I am so incredibly proud of you. I'm your biggest supporter; your number one fan, always.

Happy third birthday my darling girl, I look forward to this year. The year that I vow to try to really focus on what's important and cherish the days, no matter how difficult. I see you My Brynna, just as you see me.

I love you,

Mom




Brylin: 11 months



* Happy 11 months, My girl! It's almost time to celebrate your birthday, which makes me sad. I can't believe how quickly you are growing up.

Here is what I love about you right now:

* Determination: When you have your mind on something you do it. Trying to redirect you often does not work. For instance, you are all about climbing the stairs and even though we tell you no, which makes you cry, or steer you away from them, you head right back.

* Chatter box: Yup, more words are coming out of that cute little mouth of yours. Oh oh is a new saying as is Brynna, and Mas. You also talk back, which is adorable, to me, your dad and Brynna. Pretty adorable -- for now.

* Climbing up: You are this close to walking. Pulling up on chairs, tables, the sofa and anything really, is a common activity these days. Your face lights up when you realize you pulled yourself up without any help.

* Combing your hair: Yes, you are combing your hair! Of course you do this with a number of things: brushes, spoons, bowls of food and your sister's doll brushes. It's adorable.

* Asking for more: As in "mas," whenever we start tickling you. Oh, and you point at things you want.

Geesh I love you!

Mom

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How I do it

This story was posted on Lose the Cape's site. See it here or read it below.

Moms in general are often asked “How do you do it?” How do you run a household, take care of infants, toddlers or teenager all while holding down a job? Each of us has a different answer, and here is mine: How do I balance work, family, household, chores, responsibilities and personal sanity? This is how:

By emailing the pediatrician about my toddler’s refusal to drink milk while standing in line at Starbucks for a morning coffee.

By laying out my and my daughters clothes the night before school, having the clothing battle with my 2 ½ year old then instead of the next morning – saving precious time.

By tossing a banana and pre-packaged salad into my lunch bag, while cutting heart-shaped cheese and turkey slices for my daughter the night before work and school, double checking she has a fork but constantly forgetting to do the same for myself.

By snapping photos of my daughters playing in the play area directly in view from the kitchen counter where I peel, cut, steam and puree fruits and veggies to freeze for the infant.
By sneaking away to the bathroom where I upload the photos taken throughout the day, stalling for time behind the locked door for the perfect hashtag and caption before pressing post.

By encouraging the toddler to bring out her miniature vacuum to “help” vacuum the living room and play area carpets, then together sweeping the kitchen – her with the mini-broom and me with the adult sized version -- where I follow behind her picking up whatever remnants that floated from the dust pan she carried to the trash can.

By taking photos of checks and depositing them via SmartPhone while pumping in a designated break room in the office; if time allows, snippets of a reality show is watched as the machine whirls in the background.

By sending out an email to the teacher agreeing to make play dough for the class and signing up to provide pumpkin bread to the bake sale while printing an agenda for the upcoming staff meeting.
By calling the terminator, chiropractor and MyGym in between taking bites of a salad and gulps of water during a 30 minute lunch.

By sending out text/facebook message/email to fellow mom pals during a 15 minute afternoon walk in the office parking lot confirming a playdate before going back into the office to edit copy.
By lunging, squatting and lifting in the backyard while the toddler mimics my moves and the infant awaits a yell of “boo!” each time I squat down or lunge back.

By sending out a text to my best friend to finalize plans for dinner while nursing the infant as the toddler jumps on the couch.

By sending out an email to the Bounce House selecting the princess themed jumpy and providing time of drop off for the kids birthday parties while nursing the infant on the opposite side – the toddler is now rolling on the floor.

By loading the girls into the shopping cart at target, stopping for popcorn for the toddler before speed walking from aisle to aisle picking up birthday gifts for the two upcoming parties, a card for a friend’s engagement, rice for the night’s dinner and a pack of underwear – for me.

By having my daughter brush her teeth alongside me, leaving her at the sink to pick out an outfit for tomorrow’s workday.

By reading Pinkalicious to the toddler on her bedroom floor while nursing the infant as my husband feeds the dogs their pills and closes up the house.

By giving the infant to my husband to rock back to sleep as I put the toddler to bed – stuffed animals, three nightlights and a pink blanket – kiss and hug goodnight with promises to check on her through the night.

By taking the infant from my husband, whispering goodnight, laying the infant beside me in the bed where she nurses as I read on the Kindle.

By asking my husband to open the door as I slide off the bed to the infant’s room to lay her down, cussing when her eyes open the second she touches the sheets. Walk back to the room where my husband scoots back the blanket for us to get back in bed.

By walking away from the pile of laundry/to do list/ pile of dishes in the sink and sitting on the floor to play puzzles and peek a boo with the girls, knowing it can all be tackled later.

How do you do it?


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A New Number




This time around, I promised I’d be easier on myself; not focus so much on the what ifs or dwell on the weight gain.

This time I would pamper myself and spend the extra money on the prenatal massage and not be so concerned if I had two cups of coffee or ate a turkey sandwich – without heating the meat.

This time I will remember those first few months of her life rather than focus on what I should be doing and how things should be. I’ll take my time on our daily walks to soak in the moment instead of focusing on what comes next.

As a parent, I understand you eventually have to decide when to stop having babies or stop trying to have a baby. For me, that answer came quicker than anticipated.

***
Before my medical chart read “Unexplained infertility”, I envisioned a large family. Three to four kids with a few pets. I was unaware – or perhaps, reluctant – to admit that I could be a woman who did not conceive easily.

When we finally agreed to start trying for a family the realization that I would not be one of those women to conceive on the first, second, third time became more apparent as the months flew by without even a missed period.

After one year of trying, we sought medical intervention consisting of numerous tests only to have them come out normal. Finally, a doctor confirmed that I was infertile with no known cause. My husband and I found ourselves staring down two pathways: (1) IUI, (2) In Vitro. The thought of not having children was quickly squashed as we both realized how much we wanted children. Not a child but children. We opted for the less invasive procedure and I became an IUI patient.

Undergoing infertility treatments was a lonely time spent wavering between feelings of disappointment and shame. Ashamed to know that I needed help to achieve something that should come naturally.


Getting pregnant with medical assistance can be tedious. There are weekly ultrasounds, daily injections, blood tests and the rush of emotions that run the gamut from optimism to self-loathing.

Finally the day arrives when you find yourself laying on the doctor’s table. After confirming the sperm in the cup is in fact your partner’s, you lay on the table, imaging the pinching you feel is the sperm clinging onto an egg, burrowing into your uterus. Your baby is finally home. For a second you forget that you’re essentially getting impregnated in a cold doctor’s office on the same table where you receive your annual pap smear.

For two weeks you wait. Every bout of nauseous, every cramp, every tender ache of the breast is a sign. A sign that it worked; or that it failed – you failed.

***
During my first pregnancy with my now 2-year-old daughter, everything was analyzed. For me, not being able to conceive naturally morphed into God’s way of telling me that I was not meant to be a mom; my body was not designed to carry a child to term.

My pregnancy was filled with fear. There were days that I’d rush into a bathroom stall, pull down my panties and expect to find blood. Instead of soaking in the moment, I was in a constant state of worry.

It was only when I held my daughter in my arms that those concerns were lifted. My baby girl was beautiful, perfect and for the first time it didn't matter how she was conceived. All that mattered was that she was here.

***

When the time came to decide whether or not to try for another baby my husband once again played the optimist, and I the realist.

“You can get pregnant this time,” he said. “It happens to women all the time after they have a baby.”

As the pessimist, I played my role and made an appointment with the infertility specialist.

“You won’t have a baby without treatment,” the doctor concluded not insensitively but in a not-leaving-room-for-second-guessing manner.

I felt my heart sink in that moment sitting in his office where pictures of his success stories line the wall. That one ounce of hope that I had silently been clinging too quickly dissipated leaving me to fall into that same fog of disappointment that cloaked my first pregnancy.

Not this time. This time will be different.

Two months later, I entered the doctor’s office with the knowledge of what was about to happen and focused on the end result, not so much the fear.

This time around I did not dwell on the weeks of shots, ultrasounds and doctor visits. I did not cry when I had to lie still on the doctor’s table. I did not question whether or not we were meant to have a second baby.

***

“We hug; no handshakes,” explained my doctor after confirming I was pregnant. The hug marked a time to celebrate; the end of treatment.

No more shots. My husband no longer had to sit at the dining room table each night preparing the needle, swirling the powder and liquid together before measuring out the required dose to stimulate my ovaries. No longer would I need to slip in a DVD and slide out from under my daughter’s grasp to sneak into the bathroom where I’d close my eyes and brace myself for the injection that my husband administered daily.

No more questioning if what we were doing was working.

This time upon leaving the doctor’s office, I knew this was it. Despite my vision of having three to four kids, the emotional toll was enough.

***

At 32 weeks pregnant my belly button has popped resembling a pout. My stomach is rounder than anticipated and the kicks are more jabs than flutters.

My evening walks around the neighborhood now consist of pushing my daughter in a stroller and holding conversations about the color of the leaves we walk through the tree-lined streets scoring the ground for pine cones.

As we walk, I feel that jab in my belly. Something it’s a swift move under the rib or a waving sensation throughout my stomach. A reminder that soon my daughter will have a sister, and our family will grow from three to four – a number that will take some getting used to.