Sunday, April 17, 2011

Change is happening... as I see her walking away

This past week the world's oldest man died at the noble age of one hundred and fourteen. During a press conference a few months back he was asked the secret of his longevity. He replied frankly "Being able to accept change." They were wise words from someone who had endured over a century of tremendous industrial, technical, civil, and personal change, taking each step with stride while accepting life's cyclical pattern of continual evolution, renewal, and recycling.

With that being the case, I realize the emotional struggle I am inevitably going to wrestle over the next eighteen years. I am generally very open to change after I have a few months to marinate my feelings on the subject. There is no time to follow this schedule with children, for they change quicker than the blink of an eye, and if you are not paying attention, you may even miss it.

Senia Mae started walking last week. We had been busy, immersed in our own pastimes while she scooted around on the floor, as an innate voice told us to pay more attention to her. After sitting on the floor for a moment, I noticed a very different confidence in her gait, quickly deciding to get the video camera in case this was the moment we had all been waiting for.

As soon as I turned on the camera, as if she knew this moment should be caught on film, Senia Mae went from a squat to a stand and walked all the way into the living room, like there was absolutely nothing to it. We hollered, clapped, and roared with delight as she trotted around the house with pride, completely enjoying the praise. I can honestly say that two minute time slot was one of the proudest moments of my life. My heart was so full, brimming with emotions so much more than love alone, I wanted to shout the exciting news from the rooftop, so that everyone could share the joy of this baby turning into a toddler. It was then that I realized that there was no turning back from this point, the days of holding onto my baby were over.

Although this week has been truly amazing, for it is absolutely awesome watching her blossom into her own little person, proud as a peacock as she struts around showing off her new found freedom, the feeling itself is bittersweet. There is some sadness surrounding the finality of her no longer being completely dependent on me. It is difficult to put into words, but there is a certain primal energy that miraculously appears with the birth of a child, fragments of your heart, soul, and infrastructure that you were completely unaware even existed. A sense of completeness permeated my being, knowing that her complete survival was dependent on my thoughts, actions, and nurturing ability.

Of course she still needs me, but its intensity is changing, which, I must admit, is equally as cool. This morning as the three of us snuggled under the covers, I held onto her a little closer, savoring the blessings in my life. For even though she's catapulted herself gracefully into toddler hood, she's always going to be my baby.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What things go together!

My nephew, Austin, is at the tender age of three and a half; a time in his life when he is intuitively figuring out what things go together: peanut butter and jelly, toothbrush and toothpaste, mommy and daddy, cereal and milk, Aunt Kara and Aunt Kim.

While he was visiting our home last month, we noticed something very strange involving how the photos and magnets were arranged on the front of the refrigerator. There has always been a photograph of Kim posing with her brother Joey at the family reunion a few years ago. Austin has never met him because he is on the other side of the family. Apparently when he saw a picture of Aunt Kim with a man...he knew the match was NOT right...Aunt Kim goes with Aunt Kara. His solution was to stick a magnet over Joey's side of the picture.

At first we thought it was just random and removed the magnet, but it happened three or four more times! We laughed and laughed when we realized what he was doing...he was protecting our relationship! Aunt Kim goes with Aunt Kara..that's right Austin! All of my fears about how to explain situations to kids went completely out the window...he gets's the adults that have the issues with it! What a hoot!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I'm finding that my own wisdom IS BabyWise

One of the most significant parenting lessons I have learned surrounds the age old saying "Fake it until you make it". I have found that method to be successful in all areas of life. Parenting takes up a lot of your time, seriously, I wonder why we weren't yachting through Europe for the last five years, for we had all of the time and money in the world (compared to now at least LOL)! But alas, LIFE happens while you are trying to catch up and get it together, hence the statement of faking it.

I have joined this fantastic Mom's group in my town. The group has get togethers a few times a month and includes busy, working Moms that also want to have socially integrated, balanced, happy children. Perfect. When I found out the details it worked for me because I didn't really have time for coffee and gossip, but still wanted to make time to ensure that my child is thriving, as well as being able to pick other brains about specific parenting issues.

We met Thursday morning at a petting zoo and all of the kids were thrilled, running around with brushes petting the sheep, ponies, donkeys, and random chickens that blazed through the barnyard. Senia Mae is not actually walking yet, so I had her in the front facing Snugli carrier, which happens to be her favorite place close to me, so it almost guarantees that she will just chill out, having a good time without any extra ruckus.

After a hayride, we got dropped off at picnic tables for a quick lunch. Unfortunately there were some very hungry chickens that jumped on the table, plucking a succulent piece of sandwich out of a particularly sensitive toddler's hands, resulting in a complete meltdown. Her mom soothed her, but to no avail; she was upset and was not going to rest until those chickens got theirs.

The chaos died down eventually, after the farmer supplied us with some squirt bottles to swat away the aggressive chickens, but you could tell this mom was still a little embarrassed at her child's over-reaction to a what should have been a fairly mild situation. By this time I had Senia Mae standing on the grass, holding on to the front of her stroller, playing with the straps. She was giggling away and appeared to be in hog's heaven. You know, whatever works, if the kid is happy I'm going to let her be.

The mom came up to me commenting on how "well adjusted" Senia Mae appears to be, asking if I follow the suggestions of the book BabyWise. I let out a deep laugh stating that I would love to follow that protocol and am hoping the information is being transferred via osmosis, for all of my best parenting books have been left to collect dust on the dresser, sitting there ready for whenever I have a spare moment to learn a few "tools of the trade"!

I did and still do have the best intentions, being able to accept the fact that my parenting skills are mostly coming from instinct and what I feel is right. I don't know if I just have a great kid, or she just has very cool parents, or maybe she's just too young to have got to the troublesome age yet...but for now things are going fine....naturally. Of course a chiropractor's kid is going to be WELL's just what we do!

Friday, April 8, 2011

THEY were right - it IS different when it's your own kid!

Anyone who really knows me is acutely aware that I am the biggest vomit phobe on the planet, so extremely phobic that most of my life I wouldn't have even considered getting pregnant due to the remote possibility that it might be accompanied by morning sickness. Crazy, yes, I know. I never said that I don't have issues.

There is a certain critical parental role that has played over and over in my head, like a lost Brady Bunch re-run, because the time would eventually come, leaving me to wonder if I was going to be able to pull through during my child's moment of need. Would I be able to see beyond the barf and actually be a supportive, nurturing parent or would I flee the scene praying that everything would turn out o.k?

They always say, "Don't's different when it's your kid." I never believed them, thinking of how I would explain my lack of compassion when Senia Mae was old enough to confront me about it, for in the back of my mind I really did not know if I would pass that unbelievable test of strength. Well today was the day.

We were driving around a curvy road and the car slowly began to smell of gastric juices. Thinking nothing of it I kept driving until I heard these strange gurgling sounds followed by the most pitiful, scared cries I have ever heard. I immediately KNEW what was going on. I had imagined that my reaction in this situation would be complete panic followed by meltdown (me, not the kid)in which during time the child would get lost somewhere on the side of the road. I know, awful parenting. Well that is NOT what happened!!!!

I pulled the car over, got her out of her seat, changed her clothes, wiped her down while soothing her and everything was FINE. I made it, she made it. Yes, we were a little smelly, but I am a good parent!!! All of that worrying for nothing. When it's your own child your protective instinct kicks in and you don't even realize that you are delving in a pile of warm, juicy vomit! Like I said, I never claimed to NOT have issues!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Little Miracles

Spring has sprung in Georgia, which means dust, pollen, and allergens are blossoming in every crack and crevice available to any loose particle. It was quickly becoming a hectic know how it is...trying to get one last thing done before leaving for work. This particular morning we decided to wash the dust ruffle under the mattress to remove any unwanted "extras".

We both were hefting the massive pallet in an upright position toward the ceiling, grunting as we tried to avoid an accidental crash landing on the baby who thought the whole scene was absolutely fascinating. Her little angel's face said it all. "What's under there?" was the question her expression translated, even though she is still unable to actually speak in formulated words.

Just then Kim commented, "What is that wooden spoon doing between the mattresses?" I smiled remembering the old Italian wives tale that had said a wooden spoon under the mattress would make a little girl, I had secretly placed it there when we were trying to get pregnant and completely forgotten about it. Now our little girl was observing and enjoying our re-discovery of the "little miracle" that happened when we weren't even paying attention!

Who ever said don't believe everything you hear?