Tag Archives: Emily

When I Get That Urge to Kick Something, I Think of Emily (And Usually Do It Anyway)

Emily is very expressive.  Lately, when things are not going her way, she growls and says, “I’m frustrated!” Or, if Andrew is not doing things the way she wants him to, she angrily grunts “Andrew! Stop!”

I know exactly where she gets her grunts and expressions from – me.  While I could sit and feel guilty that my daughter is learning bad behaviour from her mom, I choose to look at her angry grunts, scowls, and snide remarks as evidence of her emerging self.  Like all kids her age, she imitates what she sees, so all my explosions of frustration and anger teach her how to respond when she faces similar situations.  And I don’t see any problem with that.

Frankly, I think my responses are fairly mild.  I don’t yell, spank, or call her and her brother names (besides pooky pants or other silly made up words) and I am quick to apologize and show an excessive amount of love.  Something that she has also picked up on.

When Andrew is having a hard day, she hugs him and gives him extra attention and special treatment.  When I am sick, she rubs my back and says, “I’m sorry momma.”  If Andrew falls down, she runs to him and says “are you okay?”  And, best of all, she will randomly tell all of us how much she loves us.

Yeah, my daughter can get angry – like me – but, more often and more importantly, she is a sweet girl who willingly and freely expresses her affections toward her loved ones.  I can honestly say I taught her that too.

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Filed under My Kids

Growing Together

With Emily being my first, I feel like I am blindly groping my way through the dark room of parenthood.  Her twos kicked my trash and now her threes are taking me on a Merry-Go-Round ride of emotions.  She picks up on everything I talk with Ben about and is starting to understand and fully express the various emotions of this human state.

Her wit is dizzying.

But rather than spinning out of control, I find us on the same ride: sometimes speeding up and sometimes slowing down.  The Universe is in control and the good we send into space returns, twenty-fold, keeping our ride bumpy, but safe.

I’m not always sure what to expect, but I feel confident that she and I will enjoy this ride and learn as we grow together.

This is part of Galit and Alison’s, Memories Captured Linky.





Filed under My Kids

A Birth(day) Story

My dear Emily turned three this month.  While I am amazed by all she is blossoming into: a thoughtful pre-schooler, a loving sister, an ornery monkey; I am thinking more about her birth.  It is time I write her story down.

To Emily: Your Arrival

Though I was a week late on my period, I refused to take a test.  At least until I could surprise Ben.  Naturally, as soon as he heard the test wrapper–at 4 am–he couldn’t resist tumbling into the bathroom.  Since it wasn’t a secret anymore, he sat with me as we waited for the results.

And there they were: two pink lines.  A perfect gift to your father on his birthday.

At exactly 22 weeks, while I was sitting in my morning class, I felt the first kick.  I had waited, somewhat impatiently, to feel those movements.  The location of my placenta–directly in front (behind?) of my belly button, insulated my skin from feeling your movements sooner.  Anyway, I felt the first movement and immediately stopped paying attention to the lecture.  I could hardly wait until I could call your father.

Two weeks later, I had an appendectomy.  It was a terrifying experience.  I am extremely glad nothing happened to you.

Finally, things settled down.  I eagerly awaited, and prepared, for your birth.

At 38 weeks, 10 days before your official due date, I took castor oil to get things going.  Within hours, I was having regular contractions.  Per the birth training I had used (hypnobirthing), I breathed through them.  They were intense, but I did not feel any pain.  By midnight, your father convinced me to pack our bags and head to the hospital.

Once there, we settled in for the hour wait to see if we would be admitted.  While I continued to breathe through the contractions–the peaks continued growing while the time between was shrinking–your father watched the Olympics.  At that time of night, the only event on was speed walking.  Talk about thrilling.

Though I had not progressed too far, the nurse convinced my midwife to admit me because clearly my contractions were not going to slow down.

The nurse wheeled me to our room and Ben turned on calm music.  I used a variety of breathing techniques to keep my body relaxed and felt as comfortable as I could.  Between contractions (which were happening every 30 seconds), I dozed.

Although I should have felt exhausted, I could not wipe the smile off my face; nor rid my body of the adrenaline.  I was to meet my little girl soon!  I would be seeing the face I had pictured so perfectly for the last 9 months.  I was ready.

As with most first pregnancies, the labor was slow and intense.  I was admitted in the hospital at 1 am.  By 7 am, I had progressed to a 6 and the midwife encouraged me to have my membranes ruptured.  I was too exhausted to argue, so she went ahead. Though things had progressed calmly, once my membranes were ruptured, the pain rocked through my body.  Sending me into spasms.  I tried everything.  I went to the bath, walked around (the hospital’s strict policy of constant fetal monitoring did not ease my sufferings), and had Ben massage my back.  I breathed.  I pictured calm images.  Nothing worked.  At 9 am, a different midwife (one who I did not like) looked in, checked me, and insisted I start on a Pitocin drip.  Her reasoning was I had slowed down.  Since I was clearly in pain, and not in a condition to respond rationally, I agreed only after requesting an epidural.  My plan of natural birth went out the window, and I was okay with that.  And so was Ben.

I hunkered down, waiting for the anesthesiologist.  When he arrived, he asked that I stay still.  Since my contractions were still overlapping, with only a few seconds break in between, I knew this request would be utterly impossible.  With Ben’s stabling hand, I held still long enough for the doctor to insert the needle.

Once the anesthesia spread through my blood, my body relaxed.  I was able to breathe slowly again and finally able to rest.  After a few hours, the nurse checked me and, much to my surprise, announced I had progressed to a ten.  She called the midwife and everyone else who is involved with the birthing part (I don’t even remember who was in there, I just remember it was a big group of people).

Unfortunately, the midwife was not patient and holistic like she had learned in training.  After only one push, she said she would need to perform an episiotomy.  I refused.  Each push she would say the same thing and I would vehemently disagree. I knew I didn’t need one.  I held her off long enough to push you out.  By that time, only 15-30 minutes had passed and I had pushed maybe 5 times.  When I felt your head and feet come out, heard your cries, and saw your face, I had a rush of emotions.

The silly midwife did not give you directly to me.  Instead, she handed you off to the nurses for your first bath as she sewed my few tears up.  Your daddy and I had to wait until almost 10-15 minutes after your arrival to hold you.  Everything felt surreal.  I couldn’t quite grasp that you were really mine; that I was your mom and Ben was your dad.  I held you and, between exhaustion and fear, felt disconnected from the moment.

When I finally sat down to nurse you, it was both beautiful and incredibly painful.  I bore the pain and successfully managed to nurse you almost the entire time in the hospital. (It took 4 months for the pain to finally subside, but I grew to really love it and have never regretted sticking with it.)

There were many things I felt angry about with your birth.  As time progresses, the pain, anxiety, and fear of those first negative experiences fade.  I now look fondly on the labor and birth.  You were the first; as such, there are many special moments that are incomparable.

That first night, Ben held you.  I was physically and emotionally spent and needed some sleep.  You were awake that entire night, just looking at everything around you, exploring your new world.  As I woke up sporadically throughout the night, I would see you and your father gazing at each other.  You with curiosity, your daddy with amazement, and I fell in love with you and your father (again).  I knew those moments he had were moments that would be repeated–with both of us–over our lifetime.

There are many moments that I worry I have let you down.  As I grow more confident, I feel I am growing into being your mother. From birth to now, I still feel this sweet connection with you.  I love to hug, kiss, and snuggle you.  Thank you for loving me despite my many imperfections.

I remember our small family then.  You were–still are–the center of our attention.

Even though you share our time with your brother, my love for your has never divided.  Instead, it has multiplied the more I come to know you, your nuances, and your amazing personality.  I love you to pieces, now until forever.




Filed under Letters

How I Get Sleep

This week has been a monumental fail.  Parenting fail after fail after fail.  But, since this is supposed to be an upbeat post, I thought I’d talk about sleep.

For whatever reason, the babes have returned to their newborn schedules of waking up one to three times at night.  Which is why they end up in bed with us.  And this is what usually happens.

Sometime around 2 AM: Emily screams at the top of her lungs, I stumble out of bed, cursing, sure there is something dreadful happening and retrieve her from her room.  I place her in the middle of our bed and hope she sleeps.

Close to 4 AM: Andrew starts whimpering, than crying, then screaming.  Once again, I stumble out of bed*.  This time I go to the kitchen, prepare some milk, then pick him up from the crib.  I scoot Emily closer to her dad, place Andrew next to her, and hope he goes back to sleep.

Probably around 5 AM: Kids start rolling and jumping around, laughing, and alternate between sticking their bums on our faces and pulling our hair.  I grab them, grumbling nothing but sweet words under my breath, take them back into their rooms and hope they will sleep for AT LEAST another hour or so in their cribs.

Sooner than I wished: Kids wake up, yell, “MOM!” (Emily yells, Andrew babbles something like dadad mamama tyenah (Tylenol, his first word),  I stare at the ceiling wondering how long I can keep them in their rooms.

My sleep is less than optimal while they are in bed with me, and, rather than figuring out why they are waking up, I do what I can to expend the least amount of energy possible in the middle of the night.

It may not be the best solution, but it works for me.

*Since Ben is working two jobs, I think it’s best that he gets all the sleep he can. Still, there are many nights where he takes his turn with the kids.

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Filed under Non-judgmental parenting

Virtual Hot Cocoa

Cathy suggested we have a cup of virtual coffee together, much like Corinne’s weekly series.   I think this is a wonderful idea and will only tweak it a little–by making mine a cup of hot chocolate.   Don’t worry, you can keep your cup of coffee if you’d like.

If we met for hot chocolate, we would exchange holiday stories.  I would tell you mine were perfect: Relaxed and guilt-free.  Ben and I decided on a new tradition that will take a couple years to get going, but we are very excited to see it come to pass.

I would ask about your family then tell you about mine: How Andrew took his first steps on Christmas Eve among wild applause and shouts of, “Hooray!”;  that I finally conceded to potty training Emily because she is doing it all on her own. You would laugh as I describe how she marches right to her little potty when she needs to relieve herself, stands up and yells, “I go pee pee, Mommy!” when she’s finished and helps me empty the bowl it into the toilet.  Afterward, she instantly demands a treat.  Which I often agree to because she is just so big and I am just so proud.  You would ask about Ben and I would share how marvelous it was to have him work only one job over Christmas break.  We had so much fun together.

You would ask how I’m feeling.  A little rough emotionally, I’d explain, especially since some of my friends are having their babies right now.   It makes me hurt knowing that I won’t be holding mine in May, even as I take comfort in knowing she (I always knew it was a she) is being held by God in Heaven.  Physically…well I’d quickly change the subject because that’s a sore (no pun intended) topic right now.

We would swap resolutions lists.  I would tell you that I don’t expect perfection in my goals, just gradual changes as I continue to grow through my experiences.  You would nod your head at my wisdom and then we’d both collapse in fits of giggles because, let’s be honest, “being wise” isn’t my greatest attribute.

As our time ended, always too quickly, we’d stand and give each other giant hugs.  We’d promise to meet at the same place, same time next week with new insights to share and stories to laugh about.

Until then…

What would you share?


Filed under Hot Cocoa

My (Non)Thrifty Children

We have been on a budget for most of our marriage, but especially so after Ben graduated (hence the two jobs).  I thought I’ve taught my kids the importance of sticking to the budget.  Apparently I was wrong.

Just last week I explained to them that we needed to ration out our diapers and wipes.

“One diaper and ten wipes a day,” I said.

“Blahadadalelabladamamkama!” Andrew replied.

“I wanna drink!” Emily responded.

Alright, I thought, it will be smooth sailing from here on out.

Then they decided to get sick!  This more than quadrupled our diaper usage!  I couldn’t very well let them make messes on the floor, could I?  So I had to let them use more than their one diaper quota.

It’s even worse when we head to the store.

“Don’t touch anything!” I sternly warn them.

Before we are even down the first aisle, Emily has licked/bit on half the items.  I had only to buy milk, bread, and cheese, but by the time we head to the check-out stand, my cart is full from her diligent efforts at vandalizing my grocery budget.  Naturally, once I am loading all her groceries onto the conveyor belt, she grabs all the candy from the display, rips them open, and begins chowing down on her stolen goods.

Between my kids’ out of hand diaper usage and Emily’s expensive grocery trips, I’ve already spent my allotted allowance.  And it’s only the first of the month.

I guess it’s back to the drawing board.


Filed under Offspring

Of Princesses and Puppy Dogs

After I came out about our family’s lack of holiday spirit (every holiday, mind you), I felt greatly relieved.  So much so that I actually celebrated Halloween with the kids.  Please don’t die of shock.

Ben worked all weekend, so I decided to take the kids to our church’s trunk or treat and chile cook off.

It. Was. Hard.  After arriving, I kept asking myself why in the world I even went.  I did have a good reason.  Truly.  I cannot use the excuse of Ben’s absence to abstain from out-of-the-home activities.  So, I will go when I can and do my best to make it fun for the kids.  I don’t know how to describe the event in greater detail without sounding too negative, but I will say that I am proud of myself for staying through the dinner and not breaking down.  I waited until after we left to cry.  Go me!

Ben worked Halloween day, so we were able to take the kids trick-or-treating to a few houses that night.  It was worth trucking through our cold and deserted neighborhood to hear Emily say, “trick or treat!”

I guess I could share photos with all of you.  (In case you are wondering, Ben nor I dressed up.  That would have been too much effort.)   I am so very proud of myself for  getting the kids in their costumes two days in a row.

Andrew kept his costume on long enough for me to take this picture, and then he acted like a one-year old by ripping it off and throwing it at me.  Silly boy.

Emily loved being a “pincess.”  Since she has never seen a Disney movie, I don’t think she has any idea what that means, but she did enjoy the dress, the tiara, and the wand thingy.

I like this new freedom I feel from the holidays.  It makes them kind of fun!


Filed under Holidays