The Best Years

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I have had many “Best Years” of my life. Starting when I was around seven, and my sister was ten, we would play for hours downstairs making forts, watching movies, and making our stuffed animals pay admission. On Fridays, my mom would order a pizza from Little Caesar’s, and I would eat half while my sister would delicately eat one slice.

 

I also loved many moments through High School where I was active in the Theater program. Life revolved around staying up late, sleeping in, and Mom making me pancakes on Sunday. My only true worry was what role I was going to get, keeping my grades up (since I was notorious for talking too much in class), and what cute outfits was I going to wear to get that hot guy’s attention in 2nd period (Which, looking back, it turns out most of my crushes were total dweebs! What was I thinking? I really need to go back in time and have a heart-to-heart with my former self. I would have saved a lot of wasted energy and tears).

 

College was also amazing. The ultimate, really. I discovered a new-found sense of freedom and a unity within myself that I never felt before. I made the best friends a girl could ever have (still friends to this day), and really indulged in the college experience. Late night studying trips to IHOP, over bad coffee and stale fries, was the norm. Weekend jaunts to the mountains, and long viewings of Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter were staples. It was heavenly.

 

The time when my husband and I first met and were together was magic. I was stupid-in-love with him and he was everything that consumed my day. Before our struggle to get pregnant, and all the sadness that would follow, we had a blast. Road trips, overseas trips, house renovations, late night book discussions to Village Inn over the summer, and eating pie! Simply wonderful.

 

But I have to say, that even though all those moments were magical, heavenly, and grand, nothing beats right now. The best time of my life is right now, this moment with my son Idan.  I am a bit emotional and dramatic, and I like to make people both laugh and cry, but this is true when I say that right now is the best year of my life. How did this come to be?

 

I went on a walk the other day with Idan to the park. Now that the weather is getting warmer, he constantly is handing me his shoes and pounding on the door to go outside. I was pushing Idan in his stroller and he, ever the Captain, was sitting up and pointing his hands to where he wanted to go. The wind slightly rustled his strawberry brown hair, and he kept looking back at me and was smiling. I am doing my job right. My son is happy.

 

We spent the better part of the morning making rock piles, picking up twigs and swinging in the swing. He was proud to show me how he could match parts of the playground equipment and kept pointing to everything and screaming in delight. When it was time to go, he grabbed my hand and walked me to the stroller. He lifted his arms up and I held him. He nestled his head under my chin and just rested there. Not for an hour, not for 10 minutes, but for a moment. And that was the moment I knew, this IS the best year of my life.

 

I am very aware, that this time is fleeting. He will soon be wanting to play with his friends, and have late night adventures with his future spouse. He will want to make forts with his little brother or sister someday, and have his own independence and freedom. I know that Idan will love me forever, and will want to spend time with me. But at that one moment in the park, I was his world and he was mine, and I am so thankful to God that I get to have that with him, because those memories are the ones that I will carry with me during the best years of his life.

 

Until next time! Thanks for reading!

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The Long Lost Blogger!

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Ok. I will admit. I set my sights a little high when I decided to be a blogger. Kind of like I do with everything in my life, but I won’t get into that right now. Anyways, I first thought I would document EVERY DAY of my life being a SHARK (stay home and raise kids).  Then that turned into two times a month, once a month, and now, sadly, I am writing my newest blog two months later. I guess I am more apologizing to myself instead of my five steady readers. Life as a busy mom just seemed to get in the way…but maybe my absence is a sign of a true shark!

 

So what has life been up to since Idan’s birthday?  Well, lots actually, but nothing too exciting or major! No winning the lottery, or earning a PhD, or anything like that. Just your typical stay at home mom business which consists mainly of cooking new meals, washing clothes and watching reruns of bad reality television. But, the holidays came and went, and with the holidays came joy, lots of comfort, sugary carbs, and the plague.

 

My husband and I packed up Idan and one of our dogs and headed to my Grandparents’ house for Thanksgiving. It is amazing to me that my son has been able to spend time with his Great Grandparents at the house I visited and have such fond memories.  It was one of those times in my life that was truly special that I will always cherish. The first half of the trip consisted of eating food, sitting by the fire, going on walks and letting the kids play. It was glorious. A once in a lifetime memory, a moment that is forever with me.

 

Then the stomach flu hit. EVERYONE. One by one we all fell into the vomited abyss. Kids on the couches with bowls, grandparents lying in bed, puke outside of the house from people going to and from the cars. It was awful! It was a Hallmark card joke from hell. Idan and I were sick…again.  We already had the stomach flu one week after his birthday. You know that true love is when you will sit up all night holding a puking child, and your husband  then pulling your hair back while you puke. That was Thanksgiving.

 

Despite the grossness, it was fun to get away, and Idan did amazing on the 15 hour, one-way car ride! I think I have Caillou’s Christmas and Harry the Bunny movies memorized word for word!

 

Christmas arrived as fast as it left! Idan is now old enough to enjoy toys and seemed to get a kick out of taking down the ornaments from the tree! He is walking and running everywhere! He is giving me a run for my money, but I love every minute that I get to see him grow into such a cool little boy! Even when he throws toys into the dog bowl, which is all the time, I can’t help but smile and shake my head. I truly have a child.

 

Now that the New Year is here, it has given me some time to reflect on what 2013 was like for me. It was a whirlwind! It felt like a constant changing of trains, and running in every direction. I survived being a full time mom while commuting and working full time. I survived Idan’s first stomach flu, and several colds thereafter. I made the new mommy rookie mistake and took him to the ER thinking he had bloody stools, and it was really just watermelon. I  have figured out a lot of his little quirks that help him nap better and eat more vegetables! I learned that it will take longer than a year for the baby weight to come off, but it is finally giving up and leaving!  I learned that being a mom is extremely challenging, but the rewards out- weigh the stress. I have established a pretty darn good routine during the day and am not feeling as lonely or directionless as before. I celebrated the first year of my son’s life and felt a sense of accomplishment, knowing that I tried to give him the best first year ever! This new year brings new opportunities, challenges, memories and experiences that I both am excited and afraid of!  So thank you, 2013. It is a privilege to continue to live life.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Humphrey Highlights:

*I tried Zumba for the first time! It was awesome…as long as I didn’t look in the mirror

*Idan’s favorite thing to do right now is play with his puzzles and run around the house screaming DA DAD DA DA!!!

*I am becoming a decent cook, and my baking skills are really taking off!

*I’m learning to enjoy the stillness and quietness that surrounds me during Idan’s nap time.

One Year Ago….

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Idan1yr

One year ago……

One year ago, at 2:26 am, my son was born.  Today he is one year old. ONE YEAR OLD. I am looking at my son through the baby monitor as I write this down. My emotions keep wavering between deep guttural sobs to pure elation. My son, is ONE YEAR OLD.

If you would have told me two years ago that I would have a one year old right now I would hope that you were a psychic telling me my future (trust me, I did go to a few during my trying-to-get-pregnant days), but deep down I may not have believed you for fear it wouldn’t come true. And now here it is. My little baby, who is no longer much of a baby, but more like a waddling, drooly, pumpkin-toothed toddler, is about to reach his biggest milestone yet.

I think that this  past year both our learning curves could be compared to that of a Mt. Everest graph, a colossal mountain which we hiked together, blindly, clinging to each other, but always together, mother and son, as one, learning how to navigate this new world that we both are a part of.

If I look back on all the things I have learned, it would take up much more than this blog entry.  But I will sum up most of the highlights, if I can. And I will try without making my keyboard too wet.

To Idan:

One year ago, before you were born, I was neatly folding each onesie that family and friends had given me and made sure they were washed in baby friendly detergent. I neatly placed each one by month and size. I would put each one on my belly and would try to imagine you in them. ~Now they are all packed up, because you are too big, and you now wear t-shirts and pants. Like a big boy. And your mother is lucky if she can find one neatly folded, and has used up all the baby friendly detergent.

In one year you taught me that yes, I can indeed live off of 3 hours of sleep, and work a full time job at the same time. Before I had you, I would obnoxiously say to people how I NEEDED at least 9 hours of sleep, and if I didn’t get it, I wouldn’t survive. It has been one year, and I still do not get 9 hours of sleep. But I have survived, and I am a stronger person because of it. And I have loved you every waking minute that we have had together.

One year ago before you were born, I spent my last day before you were delivered with my best friend, shopping for things for you. That was the first time in four months that I walked around a store, and I was in shock to see Christmas items on the shelf, since the last things I saw were summer items. I walked up and down the baby aisle twenty times touching each different product and realizing that I was about to have a baby. For real. ~ I learned that the cute items that were bought, were not as important as the late night run to Walgreens weeks later for gas drops, Tylenol, and non-scented baby lotion.

In one year you went from being my little 6 lb eating, sleeping, pooping machine, to this young, vibrant ever-learning little boy. I have watched you say your first words, grow your first teeth, and take your first steps. You have developed your own likes, dislikes, and already have changed and touched the lives of everyone you’ve met. You have started developing your own personality which includes feeding the dogs cheerios, pointing and saying words, and biting your mom’s arm while laughing. You are turning into you.

One year ago before you were born your mother had no idea what true love was. Yes, she knew love. Very deep love from many people. But when you were born, all the questions of the universe were answered, heaven opened its gates a bit, and God let me look upon his face while I held a miracle in my arms. From that day, and every day since, I am so grateful and thankful that you are in my life.

Through the last 12 months I have cried, sobbed, laughed, cringed, yawned (a lot), questioned myself, questioned others, all the while trying to figure out this whole new life called mothering.

I could keep writing more, but I would keep writing the same words over and over. I love you Idan Joseph Humphrey. You are the light of my life. Thank you for being born, and giving me the best year of my life! Here we go, toddler-hood!

Happy Birthday!

Gym-tastic and the FLOOD

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WOW! Has it really been almost a month since my last blog post? Yes, yes it has. I am sitting here writing this, shaking my head sadly, because I did want to write something sooner, but alas, LIFE has been very busy! I am going to do my best to sum up everything in the crowded, little, allotted blog box while striving to make this piece entertaining, informative, interesting and maybe even a bit funny.

So what has the Humphrey Clan been up to the last (almost) 30 odd days or so? Let’s see:

One- Idan and I had a “staycation” at my mom’s house while she and my step-dad were gallivanting off to Norway (yes, very jealous).  My job was to make sure her animals were fed, her mail picked up, and to consume the entirety of the contents of the fully stocked fridge and pantry that she left as a “thank you” for taking care of her home while she was gone. The challenge was that for most of the 12 days I was there, my husband could not be. So, I had a small taste of what single parents do EVERY DAY (minus the added full time job part) and I must say it was HARD! I was thoroughly exhausted by the end of the day, and just wanted to drown my sorrows with Oreos and bad reality television. Which I did, every night.   I have the utmost respect for all the parents pulling double duty.

Two- A small, little thing that Colorado experienced called THE FLOOD hit!!! (note sarcasm in voice) This flood was insane and did affect me personally. Yes, it was a shame that my Devil Dash was canceled (until further notice, or until Lyons is not underwater anymore) and I was unable to show off my minimal mad jogging skills, but what was much worse was the devastation that was endured by so many people. It was so awful to witness homes being swept away or submerged under water, livestock stranded, and people desperate to get back to their homes only to realize that they do not have flood insurance (who would think you would need it in Colorado?). I did have family members affected by this as well, and it has made my heart ache for them. The only positive result from this is that my son was able to be immersed with grandparent love for a week while they were staying with us. He has been thoroughly sad, since they left, and often looks at me with mommy boredom face.

Three- I joined a gym!  I have belonged to this gym before and loved it. I actually, really do like going to the gym. I haven’t been able to the last few years due to commuting to my job, money, time, and a little thing called 4 ½ months of bed rest. However, we are now at a place where we can manage for me to go a few times a week. What is nice, is that Idan gets to spend some time with other kids and play with other toys, and I get one hour of “me time,” which I think is essential for every mother.

Things have not changed all that much since the last time I was at the gym. The main difference now, is that I have a kid that I tote with me, and my reflection in the mirror while I am jogging is a lot scarier and older! I say that to myself in the nicest way possible. I was never the chippy who wore makeup and jewelry to the gym. Who really does that anyway? And if so, they are not there to work out. I managed to squeeze into my pre-pregnancy work out attire, (although still sporting the five months pregnancy looking bump) pull my hair up, and go. I am glad that my large donut shaped headphones are not as dorky looking as they were two years ago. The cute girl who runs next to me wears white ones to go with her sparkly gold headband and matching gold shoes. I try not to stare too much at how fast her pace is, but when I do get a glimpse I can tell that it is at least double the pace of mine. Gotta love the gym.

I do want to point out that even though I have my slightly tight, pre-pregger pants, left over baby spit up in my hair, zero makeup, a somewhat dorky looking jog, I am thoroughly enjoying myself and feel great about getting out of the house for some me time. I will write more soon on some of the things that I have learned so far while going to the gym.

But I will leave you with this: I just realized that because my chocolate donut headphones are SO good at keeping noise out, they are not good at keeping me from making noise. Because I cannot hear myself, I didn’t realize that after the first half mile of running I was continuing to make this sound that was kind of like a guttural exhaling grunt, combined with a slight squeaky wheeze, and that the people next to me were not glancing over to look at how fast I was running, but more as to question, why they had to be stuck next to “THAT” person who was the gym weirdo. I was grouping myself with the sweaty short-short wearing mullet man, or the token gym lurker who only stares at the equipment instead of using it. I only realized that I was making these musical body sounds when I had to use other head phones and discovered that I am very vocal when I exercise.

*sigh* Can I not just be a normal person?

I have since corrected this about myself, and now have upgraded my gym status to a more normal social peer group.

Thank you all for reading this post! I hope that my fingers will get exercised more in the coming weeks with more writing!

I also want to add that my thoughts and prayers go to all who were affected by the flood. May there be peace and resolution that will come swiftly.

Current highlights:

Idan is crawling like a mad man and wanting to walk!!!!

I am now adjusting to the pace of being home, and am loving 98% of my day. Mostly the two hours before the hubs comes home from school is the hardest.

Still learning to cook and doing pretty good, I am a better baker.

I am experiencing a huge weakness for drive through coffee. It’s getting worse. I look forward to a coffee while running errands with the boy. Plus the 2:00 caffeine upper is much needed these last few weeks.

Still jogging. Guttural noises and all.

Running is My Frienemy

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Oh my Frickin’ GOD!

My relationship with running started when I was around five or six years old. Back then I LOVED running. I would run around for hours with my sister or neighborhood friends. I loved the feeling of extra air in my lungs and coming into the house with pink cheeks. Running was easy at that time, and it never felt like a chore.

Then, in the midst of my awkward puberty stage, running decided to humiliate me in the sixth grade. Gone were the days where running was carefree and exhilarating. Now, running was something that hooked into your ego and self-esteem.

PE in middle school is one of the most embarrassing and social numbing experiences out there. Not only is your body going in every which way, you don’t want to highlight that by not having any physical prowess. This is where the humiliation part kicked in. Once a month we had a “fitness day” where we were tested on everything from pull ups, to sit ups, squats, jumps and RUNNING.

I was a gymnast for many years, and was always fairly athletic, so I was not too intimidated by the first fitness test of the year. I was new to the school, didn’t have any friends yet, and thought I could fit into the sports crowd by wowing them with my physical athletic capabilities.

I was horribly mistaken, and it was running that let me down.

It was a colder day, slightly dreary and we were all cattled around the center of the football field. We were instructed that we all had to run the mile, and that we would be timed. Everyone had to participate in the endeavor and no one would be allowed to leave until EVERYONE WAS DONE. And the teacher meant that.

Running the mile around this track meant running around it six times. We all lined up on the track, and he blew the whistle. I was off. The first half of the first lap wasn’t too bad. I had found a decent stride, the cramps in my legs hadn’t kicked in yet. Heck, I was even ahead of the three questionable weird kids! After the first lap I thought, “I got this.”

Then lap two happened. I am not sure if it was actual soreness or lack of confidence, but I just couldn’t run anymore. My lungs started to burn, snot was building up in my nose. I had a side rib cramp, and one of my calf muscles seized up.  One by one, kids started running their third and fourth laps around me while I was pathetically limping along on my second one. Not wanting to feel like an even bigger nerd than I already felt, I mustered up enough energy to try and run and only ended up with bursts of hobbled walking. It just wasn’t going to happen. I couldn’t run anymore. I felt like I was going to cry, and tried to hold back tears, but the overwhelming ball in my throat wouldn’t let me and I began to sob while I walked around the track.

Slowly the herd of sixth grade bodies thinned out, and they were all sitting in the middle of the football field waiting for me to finish; I was the last one to complete the mile. I could see kids snickering and jeering as I tried to run my final lap. Even the teacher was waiting impatiently and would look at his watch while holding the timer. “Come on Ms. Lange”” Hurry it up, these kids need to get to lunch.”

Not only was I the last kid to run the mile, I was keeping everyone back from lunch (The one thing every middle schooler waits for all day). Running not only humiliated me by failing to make me look cool, I was now responsible for cutting everyone’s lunch short.  After this event, I sat alone in the cafeteria for at least a month.

Finally, I crossed the finish line and everyone got up to go to the locker rooms. I purposefully stayed behind, because I didn’t want to see their faces, and didn’t want them to see mine. Running ruined my life.

From that day forward I have since had a love/hate relationship with running. I was able to recoup emotionally on some level, and when the fitness test happened again, I wasn’t necessarily the last person, but have never been the first. Running became this thing that I was suddenly afraid of. Every time the teacher announced “Fitness Day,” I would hope that I would spontaneously combust so I wouldn’t have to participate. I still feel that way. When my husband suggested a few years ago that we try training for a 5K I found every reason not to, and almost started weeping at the thought of anyone seeing me run. We did the program, I gave it what I could. We finished the program, but never did our 5K.

But now, I have my own son, and he needs to know his mom is not afraid anymore. I never want Idan to experience or feel the way I felt when that happened to me.  I know we cannot prevent these moments, but I hope I can show him he can recover.  I refuse to be that girl who sobs on the last lap and wants to die inside from humiliation.

I have started training for a 5K again, and this time I am going to do it. I want to experience the extra air in my lungs and feel elated again. I want to see what my body is capable of, and not be afraid of getting outside my comfort zone. I want to tell that 6th grade girl that it is ok to be last, because you know what? You finished.

And that is what I intend to do. Finish.

I don’t need to be first, and if I am last that is okay. At least I can say I did it, and I am not afraid anymore. So, to complete this goal, my husband and I are participating in the “Devil Dash” 5k, mud-run and obstacle course in September (We Humphreys like to go big or go home!).  For the first time in a long time, I am looking forward to something that would normally cause me stress and potential humiliation. I am a little intimidated by the obstacle part, but I have my husband to help me push my overdeveloped bottom over the wood and rope walls.

I promise to blog all about it.

Thanks for reading one of my many memories to grace the social media world. Maybe this will inspire some people to counsel with their inner 6th grader and let them know that they survived and really, everything is okay!

Until next time, happy running!

Mommy Bootcamp

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I have heard it since my childhood, that being a mother is the hardest job on the planet. I thought to myself, “What, really?!  How can being a MOM and being home all day be that hard?!” Now, after my first week and a half home, I couldn’t agree more.

I remember watching Oprah in college, and she did this whole special dedicated to mothers, calling it the most important and least recognized job on the planet. She became very emotional and started crying. They panned to all the people in the audience, mostly women, who were dabbing their eyes with tissues, stretching out their mouths in the funny frown shape as they smeared their mascara down their cheeks. I am an empathetic person, and will cry with most people, but I never fully made the connection until now.

It is all true. Being a mom is the hardest, most rewarding, and least recognized job on the planet.

Last week my husband officially started back at school after a long and glorious summer. It honestly felt like I was starting my new “job” as well, and I couldn’t help but still have a bit of those new job rookie nerves. Idan is over nine months old, but this is the first time in our lives together that we are with each other for eight (plus) hours a day without any help, assistance, nearby guidance or even friendship. Nope, I am 100% on my own.

When I first had Idan, I was allotted eight weeks maternity leave before having to return full time to work. That time was such a blur that I really only remember fragments of it. I do have picture documentation of me however with my greasy, pulled up hair, mismatched PJ set, and swollen, puffy eyes from crying and lack of sleep. All I remember of that time was it was cold, I was sore from recovery, and I had a small bout of the baby blues. I was only home with Idan for a few weeks before the “hubs” had Christmas break, and then took over baby duties for two months while I went back to work.

However, life is different now that I am staying home with him full time. I no longer have pulled up greasy hair (well pulled up, but hopefully not greasy) My eyes are no longer puffy and swollen, in fact they have a bit of spark in them that was gone for a long time. I finally found the matching set to my PJs and have since organized my dresser.

Things are different than they were on maternity leave. There isn’t that impending doom of sadness lurking around the corner knowing that I have to leave my small child in the hands of someone else (Good hands, might I add, but still not mine nonetheless). I don’t have to rush every moment with him afraid that someone else will get to see it and not me. I am extremely blessed and fortunate that I am able to stay home and be the one to raise my son.

So that was the sunshine and rainbow part of the blog, now I want to briefly talk about the nitty gritty of what the first week was like. And like I said previously, being a full time stay at home mom is HARD!

I want to recap on a few events that have taken place:

Mommy and Idan’s adventure to the post office ended with pureed raisin, oatmeal and prune vomit down my shirt, in my hair, and on the book of stamps that I just bought (The nice lady behind me opened the door for me on the way out).

Idan decided that he now has a 15 minute window for each activity that he is engaged in before he screams like a holy terror (which makes any type of cleaning or cooking very challenging).

He acquired his second cold to date and three teeth coming in at the same time. Yes people, three teeth.

I have made 3 1/2 home cooked meals, and am pretty proud of how they turned out.

I did allot myself a “break” when he was napping and drank some coffee and watched my guilty pleasures that were recorded on the DVR. I have successfully followed my cleaning schedule for the first week, and I must say my house is cleaner now than it has been before.  I know, I know, just wait till he is old enough to destroy the house, but I am enjoying it while it lasts.

I have even managed to fit in a trip to Babies R Us, Target and Walmart (while having nice hair and makeup might I add), re-organized my kitchen (mainly throwing away steel cut oats that had meal worms in them! EEK!), and managed to squeeze in exercise! Wheew!

I know that every week like this won’t be as eventful. I may even have a week of just being in my PJs and eating take-out. But, I am proud that I have started some semblance of a schedule. As a former Special Education teacher, being structured was extremely important for both the kids and myself, and I find that I am craving some of that structure at home. I have to say that even though being home is hard in many ways (mainly I am a bit lonely from lack of adult conversation and interaction), and being “on” ALL DAY,  I do find that having a coffee break whenever I want it is an amazing perk! I might even bake some muffins to add to that coffee this week.

I want to wrap up this blog post by  saying a special thanks to my mom who made it look so easy. She was always cooking, cleaning, helping my dad run a business, and still had time to always be kind to my sister and I, and hardly ever lost her patience! I am definitely taking a few tips from her while I am home, and a few recipes for that matter. Because it is true, nobody can do it like a mom can!

Until next time.

A few highlights!

Idan is on the VERGE of crawling. He does this scoot, crawl, roll combo thing, but he is moving!

My little babe is not so little anymore, weighing in at over nineteen pounds at his last doctor’s appointment, and no longer has his gummy smile. Two lower teeth and the two top ones poking through. *sigh* I am about to have a toddler

The Three Dreaded Words, “Are you pregnant?”

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I want to make a public service announcement for all women, and men out there for that matter. Something happened – again – to me today, painfully, for the umpteenth time, and by writing this, maybe, just maybe, I can stop someone from being stupid. Yes, I used the word stupid. If you are offended by that word, you may not want to proceed any further, because today’s blog post is a rant. I was going to write a cheery blog post about a few firsts that the Humphrey family is experiencing with Idan. I was going to talk about his first tooth, our first vacation, my first night away from him, but alas, no. I will have to blog about that some other time. This occurrence today has preoccupied my usual chipper Pollyanna sunshine attitude into “that” person who is a little uncomfortable to be around. Let me proceed:

I understand a lot of things about post pregnancy. Heck, I even wrote a blog post about how incredibly difficult it feels to get your body back after having a baby. It seems like I am in a constant race chasing after my “old self,” but am far fatter, on a track that is uphill while wearing not so cute running clothes. I have gabbed to several women about how it feels like my body was pushed inside out, and then back in again, and the new body parts arranged by Picasso. My logical self knows that all of this is part of the process. But then why does it still hurt so badly when someone asks you the three dreaded words:

“ARE YOU PREGNANT?!”

These three words come in many different forms and varieties.  “Having a baby,?” or “Are you expecting?” or “Another one huh?” (with a belly pat might I add)

This list goes on and on, but today for some reason it really hurt my feelings.

I know of three exact occasions that someone has said this to me, and each time, it affected me differently. I know that when that stupid person asks, they are not trying to be mean. In fact, they smile and get a glint of excitement when asking you a question that is incredibly private and personal. Most of the time they are strangers, and on a few occasions maybe a co-worker. But that doesn’t matter, because in the end I want to say that asking someone if they are pregnant is straight up rude. Even if the woman is carrying a 20 pound bowling ball, wearing a shirt that say’s EATING FOR THREE, and is waddling around eating ice cream covered in pickles, you STILL DON’T ASK.

What if that woman was suffering from infertility and you just asked her the one thing that could cause her to go into an emotional coma for a week? Not only did you bring up the dreaded pregnancy word, now she feels like she is fat too. Great, FAT and INFERTILE.

What if that woman just adopted that baby? Because of the awkwardness of the question, she may be forced to reveal private information about her experience which may be painful.

What if the woman is just overweight and is feeling insecure about herself, and you just made it worse and confirmed what she has been thinking all along: that she is fat and people really DO NOTICE. That is something that can ruin a vacation, a day at work, a moment, or a lifetime.

What if a woman just had a miscarriage? Or lost her baby? After my first miscarriage, a colleague of mine patted my belly and asked me if God had blessed me with another one to replace the one I just lost. I ugly-cried in the car and felt like a failure.

Because even if someone tells you a thousand wonderful things a day, you will remember the one that is the sharpest and most cutting, because it leaves the deepest impression and spreads to the darkest places within ourselves.

Why am I ranting so much about this right now? Because for the third time since Idan was born, I have been asked if I am expecting again.  It was a nurse at Idan’s 9 month doctor’s appointment today. That question had absolutely no medical relevance to my son, it was just plain ol’ stupid commentary. As she was asking about his health, she glanced down at my midsection, smiled, and said “oh, and another on the way?” I was so shocked that I didn’t know what to say except “Nope.” My husband was baffled and wasn’t sure he heard her right and mumbled something and just looked at me with terror, ‘cause he knew that he was now going to have to deal with my emotional rollercoaster for the next several hours. That and several hours of googling the newest diets, cleaning out our fridge and making him exercise with me the moment we got home.

It is so painful because the person who is asking doesn’t know what I went through to conceive Idan, or to keep him. They don’t know that I had a very painful C-section that took weeks to recover. They don’t know that I have had self-esteem issues with my weight since I was eight years old and saying something like this feeds that starved inner child who really does believe that she is fat. The nurse is just is making a blind assumption, and poor small talk.

Words are weapons, and I want to give some insight to people who may not know, but asking the question “Are you pregnant?” can cause a lot of emotional distress, and really make a person feel bad about themselves and the cards that they were dealt.

It’s a personal question that is up there with…

“What is your salary?” or “What’s your political affiliation?” or “Do you believe in abortion?”

To me, it’s just plain rude. Please don’t ask it, people.

Thank you all for reading my soap box about this. I understand you may be reading this with raised eyebrows and horror that I would use words like stupid, or go off on something that is seemingly silly.  But this is something I really just wanted to get off my chest, because maybe it will enlighten people to be a little more cautious with what they say to strangers. Everyone has a story, and who knows what part you just added to theirs.

That is all.

Child of Mine: A Tribute to the Passing of my Daughter, Cora

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July 26th, 2012. There are few moments of days and times that stick out in people’s minds. You might remember what you were wearing on a certain day, or what song was on the radio. You might remember what you ate, or didn’t eat, who you talked to, what you were planning on doing that day. The day could have started out like any other day, or perhaps it was a day that started out bad to begin with. Either way, these are the moments that your heart and mind hold onto in the midst of tragedy.

It was a very hot summer day, and to me, it seemed even more hot than normal for July. Any pregnant woman can tell you that being pregnant over the summer is not very fun, and to add twins and a house without air conditioning seemed to make things worse. I was on day four of bed rest. Maybe five, details are somewhat blurry at this point. The week prior had been extremely stressful when complications with my pregnancy ensued, and I was told that bed rest would be required until the babies arrive. At that point they were trying to get me at least to 28 weeks.

I was 22 weeks pregnant.

I don’t remember what I ate for breakfast, or how I did my hair. I am not sure what song was popular on the radio. I was so scared about the events that had just taken place, I am not sure if I could have told you at the time who the President was. But I do remember I was wearing a black shirt and blue capris. We had a doctor’s appointment that morning (one of thousands to come), to see how everything had turned out post-surgery.

I had felt the babies kick earlier that morning. We had just had a “gender reveal” party and found out that we were having a boy AND a girl. The perfect family. One of each. Everything I had ever wanted in one beautiful moment. We proudly named them Idan and Coraline “Cora” for short (The names that my husband and I picked out six months into dating).

I carefully hopped onto the table and the ultrasound tech began the usual drill. Gel on belly, rolling it around to see different shaded shapes and body parts. She scanned onto Cora, paused and then quickly went to Idan. His beautiful profile emerged. There he was kicking, rolling, and even yawning. He was a dream. She then went back to Cora.

It was that moment, when you feel fear in your heart and your mind quickly starts rationalizing what you are feeling in order to protect itself. I could feel sweat start to accumulate on my lip and under my arms.  I grabbed my husband’s hand and looked at him, he looked at me with deep concern – not the usual playfulness I typically see from him – squeezed my hand and looked back at the tech. We waited as we watched her narrow her eyes onto the screen. She kept clicking buttons and moving the wand around to different places. I could hear the white noise of the air-conditioner and my heart pound in my chest.

“I don’t see a heartbeat.”

The words ripped through my ears and I shook my head. I didn’t believe what she had just said. I asked her again to check, show me, prove to me that the little girl whom I just felt kick that morning is really gone. I could see Cora’s little body, curled up, feet crossed, arms tucked in around her, and no heart-beat.

“It looks like she just passed this morning” the ultra sound tech said. “I will go get the doctor.”

And out she went, and down came all the walls around me.

The next moments after that I don’t really remember.  They were filled with deep sobs, my body shaking with each guttural wail. The doctor came in with his tensed, pursed lips explaining to us that there is no way of knowing what happened to her, and unless she is delivered today, we will most likely never know the cause, and because her twin is alive, I will have to carry her until he is delivered.

And that was it. She was gone. Just like that. Months of planning, dreaming, and envisioning a life with twins was gone, and I was left to carry both life and death within me. Both joy and sorrow. Hello and Goodbye. And I did.  With each day there was joy that Idan was bigger, stronger, and still alive another day, and there was also sadness that Cora was gone, curled up peacefully inside me, safely sleeping.

Through the next 16 weeks, until they were both delivered, I had heard it all, and all with good intention from people. “Well if there were problems better it happen now than later”; “These things happen”; “it wasn’t meant to be”; “at least you have him.”

But I lost her.

I know how extremely blessed I am to have Idan. I am reminded everyday how close I came to losing it all, and what a miracle it is that he made it to 37 weeks. I look at him and my breath catches in my chest, and I thank God that he trusted me with such a precious gift, and despite all the suffering, I still deserved to have him. I am satisfied with the thought that he may be my only child that I ever have.

But it still doesn’t take the pain away that I feel for the loss of her.

Grief is an interesting thing. There really are different stages. Sadness, denial, negotiations, anger, then, at some point, healing. And everyone mourns at their own pace. To me, with the one year anniversary of her passing, I am finally able to go there, grieve and celebrate the life that she did have.

I am honored that she chose me to be her mom, Idan to be her brother and my husband to be her father. I will be sad that I never will have the moments of seeing her grow, or play with her brother. I mourn that I will never get to dress her up in super girly clothes (even if she would have hated it), or have that Mother-Daughter relationship that I cherish with my mom. I am sad that my niece and nephew will never get to play with her and have the girls gang up on the boys. I am sad that I will never know what she would have grown to look like, or who she would have become. Would she have brown eyes like me? Would she have her brother’s dimples, too? All of these things I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

She gave me 22 weeks of a dream I always wanted. She gave my husband and I joy that we have never known, and with her passing she gave me humility and the gift of knowing that life is frail and precious and to fully live each moment. She gave Idan the gift of life, because with her passing, I was able to carry him to 37 weeks. Full term, which was not what the doctors thought could be a possibility early on.

I want to conclude this blog post to Cora, to honor her memory and to tell my story for any others out there who have grieved the loss of a child. It doesn’t matter the age or stage, when it’s a life that is connected to yours it is meaningful.

I wrote this poem back in 2003 when I was in college. Ironically it is dated 12-1-2003, their due date, and that was the day we picked up her ashes. Funny how things have weird ties to others. Maybe she was whispering in my ear when I wrote this poem 10 years ago.

Child of Mine

Her delicate hands

Match her slender arms

Sloped and refined with dainty edginess.

Years of passed down faces

Embody this girl, this woman, this

Child of mine

In her youth she is small,

Yet with age elongates her growth

She is not known

Only a tender creature

Who in my thoughts is born

This girl, this woman, this

Child of mine.

When Bed Time Sucks

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8:52 PM and the boy just fell asleep. His night time routine started at 6:45 PM. Two hours and seven minutes after our night of bath, massages, and lullabies started. Idan and I have his bed time routine down like champions. When he was two weeks old, and I was in a state of sleep deprivation delirium, I decided to read the book Happiest Baby on the Block; Guide to Great Sleep and man was it a game changer! I followed about 98% of what Dr. Harvey Karp instructed, and Idan has been the Happiest Baby on the Block ever since. Except for tonight.

I guess I want to just write a short blog on the CHALLENGE and EXHAUSTION that is Bed time. Dr. Harvey Karp said that a lot of night sleep problems are sometimes sleep problems during the day. The boy has had a huge last few days. His little 8-month old world has been filled with swim lessons (mostly me pulling him around the pool while he chews on the little, plastic whale toy), bowling for the first time (which mainly consisted of my husband and I trying to console him since we were right under the loud, music speakers), and it was day-camp day and swarms of little unsupervised children were running around everywhere. It took all I had to silence the teacher voice in me and ignore them pouring coke products and wiping boogers on each other. Idan also has been traveling a lot, and spending time with family.

So, I had a feeling when he skipped his AM nap and took a three hour long afternoon nap, that I might be in trouble for the evening. We haven’t had too many nights where it has taken two plus hours, but tonight was one of those nights. I know any moms who have endured this may be biting their lips and shaking their heads in agreement. Putting an overly tired, teething baby to bed is NOT FUN.

I found that I was using everything in my arsenal to put him to bed. He had his usual bath with his favorite bath toys (which include a squeaky ABC book, and three little plastic fish). I sang him his favorite sleepy time songs, rocked him, holding him in various positions, and gave him pain meds for his gums. At one point, he was screaming so much after putting him down that I just brought him back out to play in his “exersaucer” with me feeling somewhat defeated. My husband was at his Writer’s Group and I was very much looking forward to having a few hours of alone time watching my sickly, guilty pleasure of “Toddlers and Tiaras.”

Anyways, where am I going with this blog tonight? Nowhere really. I just wanted to write what it was like to have my little moment of “going to bed madness.” There is so much about being mom that I am learning by fire. Or more like bath water, tonight. I am learning that being a mom is TOUGH. The amount of physical, emotional, and spiritual energy that is involved is enough to keep the world circling for eternity. I am tired from the sheer amount of time it took tonight to pick him up and put him down, console his tiny little crying body, and the emotional energy of trying to figure out what to do next (I don’t believe in letting him crying it out, so I like to use other tactics instead).

That is the main thing I have learned tonight. Sometimes, I am not sure what to do next, and that is okay. I am learning that advice from doctors is just that. Advice. I am the one who truly is learning what my son needs, and he is learning about me at the same time. So, even though I didn’t get my Toddlers and Tiaras fix, I did have that one beautiful moment right before my son fell asleep where he put his little hand on my face, snuggled his cheek next to my chest and closed his eyes. That was worth the extra two hours and seven minutes of my mommy shift.

Until next time. Good Night!

The “Cleanish” House and Post Pregnancy Woes

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I read a post on facebook from a friend of mine who said that trying to clean the house with kids is like trying to eat Oreos and brush your teeth! (I apologize if I butchered the original quote!) This spoke volumes to me! Even though Idan is not even crawling yet (God help us all when he does) I feel like I am perpetually whirl pooling in the same mess.

To add to that, it has been approximately 1 month and 1 day with my new SHARK status (Stay Home And Raise Kids) and so far these are the things I have learned:

One-My new wardrobe consists of varying types of yoga pants/sweat pants topped with X-large t-shirts to accommodate my still 2nd trimester size waist, usually garnished with either drool, vomit or poop.

Two-Babies are unpredictable. Just when I think I am creating  a pretty good schedule, BAM! Idan decides he wants to do something different. I guess I have to be flexible with this whole “parenting” thing.

Three-Losing the last 15 pounds of baby weight is very hard. I want to ramble about that for a moment. First off, I want to say Thank You to the universe and breast feeding that I did lose the initial 32 pounds fairly quickly. I was not anticipating that, and was pleasantly surprised at seeing that on the scale. I am discovering, however, that it is not just 15 pounds that I need to lose, it is that EVERYTHING about my body has changed! If any guys are reading this, they may find this part pretty boring, but my fellow ladies who have had babies probably understand.

My hips are wider making my pre-pregnancy pants fit weird, I am losing hair in massive wads at a time, my skin thank God is clearing up, but I resembled a 12 year old boy for months. I have this lower Kangaroo pouch that constantly jiggles when I walk, and when I try to suck it in, it literally doesn’t move (Jillian Michaels has a sit up to help fix that) and to top it all off, I went up an entire shoe size!! (which is not too terrible since that means at some point I can buy all new shoes) but for now, I have to resort to my last year pregnancy flip flops that have lost all the sequins and have a dark outline of my foot permanently embedded in them.

I am learning that Post Pregnancy is almost just as hard as being pregnant. Not everyone knows, but I had a very complicated pregnancy from weeks 20 on that included losing Idan’s twin sister Cora, diabetes, pre-eclampsia and 16 weeks of bed rest. I guess I am realizing that MY “Post Pregnancy” is going to be a little different than other people.

I am having to work harder regaining all the muscle tone and strength that I lost, and emotionally I am having to reconcile with losses that I endured those last 17 weeks. I have to remind myself that even though my pregnancy was difficult, my body held up its end of the bargain and did an amazing thing for me. It brought me Idan. My body endured to get Idan, and it endured a lot to keep him. My body is a pretty cool machine.

With  every extra pimple, stretch mark, bald spot and pair of boring shoes that now possesses me, it is worth it for creating the child that I have wanted my whole life. And even though I don’t have my banging 18 year body that I once had, free of pimples, dark spots and stretch marks,  I have the new, transformed version of my body that did an amazing thing for me.  So, I am going to take care of this body that was my miracle maker and be a little more forgiving of it taking it’s time to fit into cuter clothes. I am going to continue with my healthy eating plan and 30 day shred, and just enjoy the fact that my body has served its purpose. Because after all, what is 15 pounds in the long run? Thanks for reading my ramblings of today.

Highlights right now!

One of my best friends is fulfilling her dream and going to Ireland as part of her Master’s program. She is a beautiful writer, and I encourage all to read her blog during her adventure! elsmiller.wordpress.com

Idan is growing by leaps and bounds and I can hardly keep up with his appetite and his constant growing out of clothes!

I am currently on track to fulfilling some of my goals: I am going to be getting cooking “lessons” from my wonderful Father-in-Law this fall! He will be the best teacher.

I am more than halfway done with the 30 day shred. My husband and I are almost to level three, and even though it is torture everyday and I feel like crying, I am starting to see some positive results!