Friday, July 29, 2011

Here's to Wonder Woman!

Wonder Woman does not wear a cape.  She wears glasses, khaki shorts, knit t-shirts, and flip flops.  She straight-irons her hair and brushes on a little makeup.  She greets the day with a smile and mentally prepares for her highs and lows.  She doesn’t fight aliens or super heroes, she doesn’t conspire against villins or kick-box people to the ground.  She can’t fly but she can move super quick.  I know because I was there.  I just spent two days with this woman. 

Yesterday I returned from St. Louis where C & I were visiting a college friend of mine.  We had planned this trip months ago—just after her third baby was born.  Since I have my summer off, we decided a mid-week get-together would be perfect, and it was. 

I was very….apprehensive about the 5 1/2 hour drive with a 17 month old, however, he was a perfect traveler and I couldn’t have been more impressed with him.  We arrived at on Tuesday afternoon and met my friend’s adorable 6 month old baby, and her super sweet daughters (ages 3 and 5).  We spent that day playing, snacking, coloring, and navigating the stairs (definitely one of C’s favorite things to do when he finds himself in two-story homes).  We went for walks, played at a park, played outside, built sand castles, played hide and seek, read books, painted pictures, and ate numerous snacks.  In the middle of this, my friend & I would try to have some conversations—undoubtedly always interrupted by her daughters or my C.  

The interruptions came in the form of quiet requests (Mom, can you…..?), silent demands (C tugging on my leg and whining), howls (someone banged their head into the steps), yells (“She took my….!!”), protests (“I don’t want to…..”), and cries (a baby who had rolled into a “stuck” position).  We would respond to the issue and then continue with our talk—simultaneously happening while creating some kind of art masterpiece or constructing some type of block structure. 

It was really a fun time and all the kids loved playing with each other (for the most part).  But what I was most impressed with was my friend’s ability to glide through the chaos and still remain calm and light hearted.  She was amazing to watch—I’ve never really be in the life of a “stay at home mom of three” so it was incredible to be a part of.  I couldn’t help but be amazed at her ability to balance her attention with each child, work through their squabbles, and sit down to play with them--all while providing snack & meals, keeping her kitchen and their faces clean, and setting up/ tearing down the giant blow-up water slide in the backyard.  Not to mention she was nursing the little guy all the time too! She never came unglued when someone had a meltdown (whether it was her offspring or mine), or appeared the least bit frazzled.  She would shrug and go about the next item of business. 

Now, while I was overwhelmed by her “mom-ness”, her ability to do this certainly comes as no surprise to those who know her.  Afterall, this is the same college girl who cooked real homemade meals, made birthday cakes,  cleaned the bathroom, changed her bed sheets and the oil in her car regularly, drove the intoxicated roommates home, and created Halloween costumes.  She’s always been one to take care of others—to help people out, and she is awesome at it.  But the really cool thing about this person is that she thinks it’s no big deal.  She doesn’t think she’s “Mom of the Year” and she confesses to having moments of desire to be alone in her house without her children.  She admits fully to getting frustrated with the kids, and sometimes wishes that she could head off to work for a few hours each day.  But, she knows this is where she is supposed to be at this moment in her life—and she embraces that.  She keeps a level head and a sense of humor, especially when responding to shouts of “You’re a Mean Mommy!” with “Yes I am!”  Her kids are certainly lucky to have her in their life, but so am I.  I feel like I can take away a few gems from her home and implement them in ours. 

And tonight, I'd like to propose a toast.  To this WONDER-ful woman in my life.  Whose house is never quiet, whose patience is always tested, whose work is never done, whose feet are always tired.  But whose paycheck comes in the form of kisses, hugs, memories, and the knowledge that she has given her children the best gift they could ever have--her time.  


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dare I Say....

.....I'm enjoying being a mother.  (shhhhh!)

Now, I'm so hesitant to even post this blog because I'm terrified that the feeling is fleeting and I'll return to my more "normal" motherhood feelings soon.  But, I just have to explain this crazy feeling I've had for almost two entire weeks. 

When my parents brought Charlie back from his "Spencer Vacation" (only a 16 month old could find Spencer totally exciting), I was thrilled!  For the first time in his life, I missed him---really missed him, when I was away from him.  Unlike the majority of my peers, who claim to be heartbroken every time they are separated from their cherubs,  I usually am...well... fine with my alone time.  (and secretly love it)  But this last time was so different. 

Mason and I were at the cottage in Wisconsin and while we had a nice time up there, my heart was aching for C.  When I called my parents, I could hear him chattering away in the background.  They messaged me pics of his daily adventures and texted little things that he said.  During that week, he gained enough confidence to start walking alone (we'd been working on that since the middle of April!) and picked up a few more words.  After six nights away from him, it felt like he grew up and I had somehow missed out. 

And then it clicked.  Some mommy-thing inside me just seemed to snap into place.  Maybe it's because he is super attached to me lately (this can be super annoying but I'm trying to embrace the fact that he wants me and that I'm his first choice out of every other person in the entire world) but there's something that is directly connected to my heart when his little voice says, "ma-ma'.  And it seems to have a direct link to my patience and tolerance. 

Now, unfortunately, it has taken me 16 months to be more patient and understanding with my child (and granted, this might only be a phase), but at least it happened.  Every day C seems to be doing more, exploring more, learning more, speaking more.  He is changing right before my eyes.  And, like so many people told me (but I refused to believe), things are getting easier as he gets older.  His little personality is starting to shine through.  Like all of us, he has gems of his personality (his giggle, his cuddly nature, his love for animals, the way he'll curl up in his chair and read books) and duds too (he hates to be woken up too quickly, and he has an incredibly stubborn streak).  But honestly, as I get to know him more--and understand him more--it's becoming easier to cope with the daily grind. 

This past week, he had a tooth breaking through.  He was incredibly whiny, sad, clingy, and stubborn.  He didn't eat much, insisted on being carried, didn't enjoy playing.  A few months ago, I think I would have left him in his room to sort out his feelings alone, but now, I realized that something was amiss.  This wasn't our normal-happy little guy, & I assumed it was a tooth.  And now, after having been through this routine a time or two, I could tell myself that it wouldn't last forever.  A little extra TLC and cuddle time somehow got us through the week. 

Today, C's been in a super mood--of course, I'm scared to publish that for fear that it might somehow jinx this afternoon's mood--but I'm doing better at taking it all a day at a time, and soaking up the good times--that are greatly outweighing the bad these days.