Wake Up

I’m not a late sleeper, by any means. I get excited if I get to sleep in and, by “sleep in”, I mean past 6am on any day. Even growing up, I was always the first one up. Then came Basic Training and we sure as hell didn’t sleep there. No big deal.

Except.

Beanie has decided she doesnlt care to sleep in anymore. And by “sleep in”, I mean past 5am. Her wake ups keep getting earlier and earlier. Last Wednesday morning, as I am peacefully sleeping in my nice, comfy, king size bed, I heard thumping and foot steps pounding through my house.  All I kept thinking is “please be  a dream, please be a dream” and then I hear “HI CAN-DIN!” Well hell. Now she’s awake, I’m awake, and the dog is awake.  So I scoop her up and put her between E and I and try to whisper to her to go back to sleep.

Except this child only has two decibels. Loud and Even Freaking Louder.

Me: beanie, you gotta whisper, mmmkay? Daddy’s sleeping.

Beanie: SHHHHH! DADDY’S SLEEPING!!!

Well no. Not anymore. Every occupant of the graveyard 2 miles down the road know you’re awake.

Saturday Morning. Let me set the scene:

tantrum*Someone* woke up at 0430 and *someone* insists that they weren’t tired. Yet, *someone* was singing me the song of their people. This was in response to me telling her “please continue telling me how you aren’t tired and you don’t need a nap”. Thank god I got released and was able to have a coffee date.

tantrum2tantrum3Oh dear Beanie.

Let me sing you the song of *MY* people. It’s called a nap. It’s also called “Mama wins”. She managed to nap like this for 2 hours while I was at my coffee date.

I think the only thing that saves my sanity is that I know she won’t be 2 eventually. Assuming she survives until Sept 😀

NaBloPoMo – Nov 3

There are things in this world that will wind me up and get me going. Fewer things that really tick me off but one thing that really grinds my gears, burns my biscuits, and chaps my ass: someone telling someone else how to parent their child.

Ultimately, the #1 reason that I will ever go to jail for assaulting someone will, in fact, be because someone told me how to parent Beanie. I’ll be the first to admit, I question my own parenting sometimes. There are times where I sit back and look at her and think “how in the holy hell have I kept this small human alive for TWO years?” Seriously. She’s already two years off and she’s thriving. We’ve had our ups and downs and times where we tried to unfriend each other in real life but we’ve managed. At the end of every night, she looks at me, gives me night time hugs, and blows kisses. She doesn’t care that I think I’m f**king it up. She doesn’t care that I’m worried about my weight or that I struggle with how to explain life to her or that I worry, constantly, what will happen when she’s older. She just knows I’m the person who gives her hugs and milk and yells occasionally. But only when she’s being an asshole, I promise.

So with that in mind, imagine my rage when I saw this article going around the inter webs.

Happy Halloween and Happy Holidays Neighbor!

You are probably wondering why your child has this note; have you ever heard the saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’? I am disappointed in ‘the village’ of Fargo Moorhead, West Fargo.

You [sic] child is, in my opinion, moderately obese and should not be consuming sugar and treats to the extent of some children this Halloween season.

My hope is that you will step up and parent and ration candy this Halloween and not allow your child to continue these unhealthy eating habits.

Thank You

Was this bitch for real? I mean, let’s overlook the fact that girls, these days, already have it rough enough. Between social media and the real world, I cry for what’s to come for my daughter. Now I have to worry about how I’m going to explain the asshole woman who is handing out notes because she thinks it’s her right to tell a child that she deems them overweight? And that she’s singling them out, as only a true asshole would do, and not give them candy because SHE thinks they don’t need it?

Mama Bear will come the f**k out and roar.

The Mom Wars are ugly and this makes it even uglier.

*The Breast Feeding vs Formula Feeding Battle.

*The Front Facing vs Extended Rear Facing Battle.

*The Breast Feeding in Public vs in Private Battle.

*Cry-It-Out vs Cuddle until Asleep Battle.

These are just a few of the battles that people engage in. WOMEN engage in. Against other women. It’s disgusting. As if battling one another wasn’t terrible enough, we have a new opponent.

I rarely comment on people’s parenting out loud. I mean, I’ve said my piece to the ghetto bitch who was dragging her child through the store by his arm. Or to the mother who slapped her child so hard, I heard it from a different aisle in the grocery store. But for the most part, I keep my comments contains in my head (or to E, if he’s with me). I have never, in my life, thought to ever walk up to a woman and tell her “you’re doing it wrong”. For serious. Why do people feel that this is acceptable behavior? Why do people feel it’s completely ok to just strike up a conversation with a stranger and manage to find a way to work it that you feel, as someone who knows everything about them in the 5 mins you’ve known them, it’s ok to tell them how to “correct” their parenting. It’s not anyone’s job to “educate” anyone else. Now, if someone asks for your opinion, rant on, my friend. Rant the hell on.

YOU don’t know what’s best for MY child so please, for your safety and my freedom, please refrain from speaking your piece on my parenting. The happy, little 2 yr old with the blond curls and the polite manners says, to me, that something is obviously being done correctly and that I don’t need you to step in and tell me your opinions.

*Note: to add to this: if you don’t have kids, have never birthed a child, adopted a child, had custody of a child, please, for the love of all that is Holy, do not think it’s a-ok to state an opinion about child-rearing or childbirth. Trust me. I used to know everything about children until I had one.

I mean, I'm raising a Mini Ravens Fan. Obviously I'm doing it right

I mean, I’m raising a Mini Ravens Fan. Obviously I’m doing it right

25 Rules for Mothers of Daughters

When I was that blog post about social media and the impact it has on today’s youth, I got to thinking about values and morals that I hope Beanie can learn from me. And then I found this list. It’s been passed around for a little while but I’m just now seeing it. To whoever wrote it : You nailed it!

1. Paint her nails. Then let her scratch it off and dirty them up. Teach her to care about her appearance, and then quickly remind her that living and having fun is most important.

2. Let her put on your makeup, even if it means bright-red-smudged lips and streaked-blue eyes. Let her experiment in her attempts to be like you… then let her be herself.

3. Let her be wild. She may want to stay home and read books on the couch, or she may want to hop on the back of a motorcycle *GASP*. She might be a homebody or a traveler. She may fall in love with the wrong boy, or meet Mr. Right at age 5. Try to remember that you were her age once. Everyone makes mistakes, let her make her own.

4. Be present. Be there for her at her kindergarten performances, her dance recitals, her soccer games… her everyday-little-moments. When she looks through the crowds of people, she will be looking for your smile and pride. Show it to her as often as possible.

5. Encourage her to try on your shoes and play dress-up. If she would rather wear her brother’s superman cape with high heels, allow it. If she wants to wear a tutu or dinosaur to the grocery store, why stop her? She needs to decide who she is and be confident in her decision.

6. Teach her to be independent. Show her by example that women can be strong. Find and follow your own passions. Search for outlets of expression and enjoyment for yourself – not just your husband or children. Define yourself by your own attributes, not by what others expect you to be. Know who you are as a person, and help your daughter find out who she is.

7. Pick flowers with her. Put them in her hair. There is nothing more beautiful than a girl and a flower.

8. Let her get messy. Get messy with her, no matter how much it makes you cringe inside. Splash in the puddles, throw snowballs, make mud pies, finger paint the walls: just let it happen. The most wonderful of memories are often the messy ones.

9. Give her good role models – you being one of them. Introduce her to successful women – friends, co-workers, doctors, astronauts, or authors. Read to her about influential women – Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Marie Curie. Read her the words of inspirational women – Jane Austen, Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson. She should know that anything is possible.

10. Show her affection. Daughters will mimic the compassion of their mother. “I love yous” and Eskimo kisses go a long way.

11. Hold her hand. Whether she is 3 years old in the parking lot or 16 yrs old in the mall, hold onto her always – this will teach her to be confident in herself and proud of her family.

12. Believe in her. It is the moments that she does not believe in herself that she will need you to believe enough for both of you. Whether it is a spelling test in the first grade, a big game or recital, a first date, or the first date of college… remind her of the independent and capable woman you have taught her to be.

13. Tell her how beautiful she is. Whether it is her first day of kindergarten, immediately after a soccer game where she is grass-strained and sweaty, or her wedding day. She needs your reminders. She needs your pride. She needs your reassurance. She is only human.

14. Love her father. Teach her to love a good man, like him. One who lets her be herself… she is, after all, wonderful.

15. Makes forts with boxes and blankets. Help her to find magic in the ordinary, to imagine, to create and to believe in fairy tales. Someday she will make her 5 by 5 dorm room her home with magic touches and inspiration. And she will fall in love with a boy and believe him to be Prince Charming.

16. Read to her. Read her Dr. Seuss, and Eric Carle. But also remember the power of Sylvia Plath and Robert Frost. Show her the beauty of words on a page and let her see you enjoy them. Words can be simply written and simply spoken, yet can harvest so much meaning. Help her to find their meaning.

17. Teach her how to love – with passion and kisses. Love her passionately. Love her father passionately and her siblings passionately. Express your love. She her how to love with no restraint. Let her get her heart broken and try again. Let her cry, and gush, giggle and scream. She will love like you love or hate like you hate. So, choose love for both you and her.

18. Encourage her to dance and sing. Dance and sing with her – even if it sounds or looks horrible. Let her wiggle to nursery rhymes. Let her dance on her daddy’s feet and spin in your arms. Then later, let her blast noise and head bang in her bedroom with her door shut if she wants. Or karaoke to Tom Petty in the living room if she would rather. Introduce her to the classics – like The Beatles – and listen to her latest favorites – like Taylor Swift. Share the magic of music together, it will bring you closer together – or at least create a soundtrack of your life together.

19. Share secrets together. Communicate. Talk. Talk about anything. Let her tell you about boys, friends, school. Listen. Ask questions. Share dreams, hopes, concerns. She is not only your daughter, you are not only her mother. Be her friend too.

20. Teach her manners. Because sometimes you have to be her mother, not just her friend. The world is a happier place when made up of polite words and smiles.

21. Teach her when to stand up and when to walk away. Whether she has classmates who tease her because of her glasses, or a boyfriend who tells her she is too fat – let her know she doesn’t have to listen. Make sure she knows how to demand respect – she is worthy of it. It does not mean she has to fight back with fists or words, because sometimes you say more with silence. Also make sure she knows which battles are worth fighting. Remind her that some people can be mean and nasty because of jealousy, or other personal reasons. Help her to understand when to shut her mouth and walk away. Teach her to be the better person.

22. Let her choose who she loves. Even when you see through the charming boy she thinks he is, let her love him without your disapproving words; she will anyway. When he breaks her heart, be there for her with words of support rather than “I Told You So”. Let her mess up again and again until she finds the one. And when she finds the one, tell her.

23. Mother her. Being a mother – to her – is undoubtedly one of your greatest accomplishments. Share with her the joys of motherhood, so one day she will want to be a mother too. Remind her over and over again with words and kisses that no one will ever love her like you love her. No one can replace or replicate a mother’s love for their children.

24. Comfort her. Because sometimes you just need your mama. When she is sick, rub her back, make her soup, and cover her in blankets – no matter how old she is. Someday, if she is giving birth to her own child, push her hair out of her face, encourage her, and tell her how beautiful she is. These are the moments she will remember you for. And someday when her husband rubs her back in attempt to comfort her, she may just whisper “I need my mama”

25. Be home. When she is sick with a cold or broken heart, she will come to you; welcome her. When she is engaged or pregnant, she will run to you to share her news; embrace her. When she is lost or confused, she will search for you; find her. When she needs advice on boys, schools, friends, or an outfit; tell her. She is your daughter and will always need a safe harbor – where she can turn a key and see comforting eyes and a familiar smile; be home.

Big Girl by Danielle Steel

I finished the book I started a while ago. I couldn’t find the time to actually sit down and pay attention between Beanie, E, work, and studying for my class and tests for work. But I finally finished it.

I was infuriated by the very end.

I can’t say I relate with any part of this book other than having the classic “second child syndrome” and feeling like my sister was the favorite. There might be some truth to this seeing as I was an absolute hellion growing up. But in this case, it was the first born that was treated like shit because she was different. No, not because she was different, because she was fat. Plain and simple, because she was chunkier than the rest of her family, she had to endure teasing from her father, being ignored by her mother, having her sister become a model and marry an asshole just like her father, and, at her sister’s wedding in the end of the book, her mother says to her “don’t worry about catching the bouquet, you won’t be needing it”. This girl spent most of the book on some diet or going to the gym, stressing and obsessing about her next visit home because she knew her father would find fault with her appearance. No amount of weight loss was noticed. Instead the focus would be shifted. Nothing was ever good enough. Finally she found someone who loved her for her, for who she was and what she looked like. Someone who saw through the appearance to her soul and fell in love with her. Of course, her parents absolutely couldn’t believe that he could love someone of her size. This poor girl had no love for herself and she was just looking for love. She just wanted to be accepted for what and who she is.

Are you kidding me?

I know this is fiction. I get that it’s fake but what the hell kind of book is this? Danielle Steel is one of my most favorite writers. I fell in love with her for her romance novels because the characters in her book love so hard, it’s easy to get lost in the “smut” and it flows. Jewels is my all-time most favorite book. I have both the paper copy and e-copy and I still read it once or twice a year.

But this book? Why, Danielle? Why?

When I found out I was having a daughter, I was absolutely terrified. Growing up, I was always this skinny, nobby-kneed child that could eat anything she wanted and stay thin and tan. Then I legitimately prayed for boobs and an ass and, POOF! 10th grade hit and I got both. With vengeance. Then came the body image issues. Worrying if my boyfriend thought I was too fat. Wondering if he only wanted to be with me because I had big boobs. Worrying that the size 10 in my jeans would make people make fun of me.

These issues continued and when I left for Basic Training, I was thrilled to lose 23 lbs. I was toned and in shape. But then came the horrid shipboard food and I stopped working out and I gained weight back. A lot of weight. Then came the struggle of losing and gaining. My weight was used against me at one unit and I was put on the weight program. I fought my ass off (no pun intended) and I got down to the weight the CG thought I should be.

Then I got pregnant.

I said, Fuck it, I’m doing what I need to to grow a healthy baby. I gained 40 lbs and now I’m fighting to get the weight off.

A friend of mine presented me with this article

I work so hard, every single day, to tell my daughter how beautiful she is. To tell her that she is an amazing person and she can achieve anything she wants to. It kills me to know that she might, one day, ever question herself and think that she isn’t good enough. This is one thing dads often don’t understand. I was talking to E the other night and we were discussing this very topic. He said “we’ll just have to tell her and teach her”. I told him “think of the girls you’ve slept with. Why did you sleep with them?”

Now, this is a topic we’ve discussed before, we’re married. We know pretty much everything there is to know about one another so I was comfortable asking this question.

His reply “because I wanted to have sex” and then I asked “and why did they sleep with you?”

He didn’t quite understand that they quite possibly slept with him because they wanted to be loved.

High school aged girls, these days, often think they need to be sexual to be loved and accepted. The “sexting”, sending nude pics of themselves to boys, engaging in acts that they definitely shouldn’t be engaging in. They just want to be loved and they think this is the way to do it.

I will work my ass off to see that my daughter isn’t one of those girls.

I want my daughter to know that not only is she special to E and I, but that she deserves the world and if someone isn’t willing to give that to her without strings attached, then they aren’t good enough for her. I pray that I don’t pass my body image issues down to her and make her because conscious of how hard I work to keep the weight off. Obviously I won’t allow her to become a couch potato and eat cheetos all day long but I hope, when the time comes, I can find a happy medium and help her along the way so that she knows she is loved and she can love herself.

No Title Necessary

When your mother asks, “Do you want a piece of advice?” it is a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.
Erma Bombeck

This made my day.

It’s funny that I happened upon this link because I was having a conversation with a “soon-to-be-new mother” and this seemed to put it all in perspective for her.

She asked “Does childbirth hurt?”

Well — when I said it’s like pushing a St Bernard through the doggie door, I wasn’t lying. Your girl parts attempt to expand to a ridiculous measurement and then you basically act like you’re taking a massive shit in front of a room full of people (your husband included, which let me tell you, has never made me look more sexier to him…) You have contractions that feel like your innards are coming out through your belly button, you can’t eat or drink and you could very well shit yourself while pushing. Or you have a c-section, which you will be strapped down to a table with a curtain put around your chest and then they rearrange your innards (and take some out, depending on where things are laying) and they reenact a scene from Alien and pull this bloody creature from your abdomen. It’s a major surgery so yes, it hurts.

But 99.9% of the time, the end result is totally worth it.

I will say though, “they” are correct when they say you forget all about the pain and bullshit that you’ve just went through. As traumatic as my delivery was with Beanie, I don’t remember the contractions or the epidural screw ups or the pushing.

She then goes on about changing her entire life and plans for accommodate her child.

Umm, I can’t say that. I didn’t change a thing. Most people change their entire lives for their children. Their standing poker nights become a distant memory because OMG they have to be home all the time.

No. That’s so NOT the case here.

I made Beanie fit into my existing life. E and I still went out, we still talked to friends. We didn’t drop off the face of the earth simply because we had a baby. You’re preexisting life can still happen. Sure, you might have to carry a few extra items (diaper bag, wipes, diapers, baby, etc) but you don’t need to bring your life to All Stop simply because you have a baby. Let someone (you trust, obviously) watch them for 2 hours while you go out. Have date nights. Go to friends houses. Do things you did before you were pregnant. Life will start flying by and the last thing you want is to look back and remember all the friends and fun you used to have.

She said “how do I be a mom that does it all?”

You don’t.

You will feel like a failure at some point along the way. You were think that you are the biggest screw up ever because you will see other moms that are trying their best to be Martha Stewart. Let the laundry sit. Buy paper plates. Nothing beats getting down on the floor and playing with your child. Who cares if your house is messy? As long as you aren’t on an episode of Hoarders, it’s ok. Your kid won’t remember that you had spaghetti on paper plates? They’ll remember you being at their soccer games or their cheerleading competitions.

“How did you get Beanie to sleep?”

Well, this is an interesting one. Let me start by saying I absolutely, 110% believe that breast feeding is best. For most. For me, it was not. Beanie was a bigger baby at birth (8lb 4.6oz) and she was hungry. In the NICU, they were giving her 2oz of formula at a time. That wasn’t cutting it. When she cried the hungry cry, I fed her more. I started at 3 oz and then moved up from there. Yes, there was some wasted but I was willing to risk it. She would go to bed at 10p and sleep until 5:30a. That, to me, was sleeping through the night. By 7w old, she was sleeping from 9:30/10p until 6a and that thrilled me. Now, at 11.5m old, she will go to sleep betwen 6-8p and sleep until 6-9a.

I bring up the breast feeding comment because a lot of BF mamas don’t know exactly how much their babies are getting unless they pump. I can’t tell you how to make a BF baby sleep because I know they require more of the mothers. Hopefully you’re able to find a happy medium.

Bottom line: be your own person. Be the mother you want to be. Sure, you can draw on others experiences. Hell, I think I called my BFF K a million times when it came to feeding Beanie solids. I was lost. But now I’m more relaxed and I just roll with the punches. People want to tell me what I’m doing wrong or start a conversation with “When I was pregnant with my kid…” and they are met with a blank stare. Sure, you did your thing while you were pregnant but now it’s my turn to f*ck her up as I see fit. I choose not to put her in a bubble. Shit, just last night she bounced her face off the corner of a desk. She screamed and I picked her up, told her she was ok, gave her a toy, and she was happy again. No need for dramatics.

Don’t title yourself. Don’t put yourself in a category and put more stress on yourself. It’s not worth it and in the end, you will find that you aren’t helping your children any more or any less by trying to be SuperMom. And chances are, everyone else is looking at you and saying “That poor, pathetic woman.”

oh dear mother

I’ve posted before but having kids isn’t “hard”. Being a parent is hard.

Being a mom is hard.

You are thrust into this world of “I’m Supposed To Know Everything About Anything.”

I would call myself a novice planner. I like planning things and a lot of the time sometimes I hit bumps in the road that derail my plans subtly but I do plan. I didn’t have a birth plan, so to speak. Our plan was

  • get to hospital in time (read: E doesn’t want to deliver in the front seat of the vehicle)
  • try to go med free for as long as possible (as I am not Wonder Woman and I knew what I was about to attempt to accomplish)
  • and get the baby out in one piece

That’s it. I didn’t think I was asking too much. But after 39 hours of labor and 3 hours of pushing during said 39 hours of labor, I felt defeated. I couldn’t take anymore and I wanted her out. Her heart rate was dropping, my epidural wasn’t working, I wasn’t dilating past 9.5cm (and contrary to popular belief, you canNOT push a baby out at 9.5cm. It really does need to be a full 10cm), and I was exhausted. I asked for a c-section and I felt terrible. I immediately felt guilty that I was cutting myself short of that moment when I push the baby out and I get to hear “It’s A Girl!”

Instead, I was wheeling out of the L&D room with my husband left standing there, asking WTF was going on. I kept saying “Someone get my husband. Where is my husband?” I got into the OR and all I remember was bright ass lights and the staff almost dropping me. Twice. I started shaking and crying uncontrollably. I had so many drugs running through me, I couldn’ t control myself. They strapped my arms down, which freaked me out even more.

It was only after I felt them cutting my abdomen that I yelled out “WHERE IS MY HUSBAND” and I felt a hand on my shoulder and his voice, saying “I’m right here”. I still couldn’t stop shaking and I was feeling every cut, push, and tug but knowing he was there made me feel a little better.

After both E and I yelling at the anesthesiologist that I needed something for the pain, I didn’t hear anything. I never heard the gender, I didn’t hear her cry, I didn’t see her, no one held her around the curtain to show me her little face.

Just blackness.

I woke up sometime later and I looked around at the recovery area, not knowing what time or day it was. I looked to my left and I saw my husband, slumped over in a chair, sleeping in the most uncomfortable looking position. I called his name and as he woke up, his first words were “She’s here and I saw her.” I passed back out.

I woke up later and I didn’t see my husband. I was worried but I saw that the nurses had given him a bed in the next recovery stall so he could get some sleep. They wheeled me back up to my room but still, no one had said anything about my daughter.

This was not the way I imagine my daughter coming into the world! I wanted her, I wanted to see her and tell her that I love her and tell her that I was sorry.

E later told me that she was in the NICU and that I could see her later. 12 hours later, I finally got to see my daughter.

I wish I had seen this blog post floating around when I had just given birth.

The first week home was a nightmare. The screaming.

Oh, the screaming.

I remember having to walk into the bathroom and just sit and cry for a minute because I felt like such a huge failure. I couldn’t figure out what the hell was wrong with my baby and why she hated me. It was a nightmare.

I have some awesome friends that talked me down from the ledge, assured me that Beanie did not hate me and gave some awesome advice.

And then there were THOSE people.

The ones that said “oh, this too shall pass” or “It gets better, I promise!”

Thanks but thinking “it gets better” wasn’t at the forethought of my mind.

Then one Ninja Mom messages me and says: I know that it seems like you’re getting your ass kicked right now. Getting your ass by a tiny human who doesn’t yet know how to be a human. It’s our jobs how to teach them to be a human. It’s not easy and it’s not pretty. I won’t say it gets better but some days are worth it more than others. It’s ok to put her down in a safe place, walk away for a min, even cry. When you regroup, come back and start over.

Another Ninja mom said: letting go of other people’s bullshit is what makes you supermon – not trying to do it all and having a nervous breakdown.

After reading these, I realized that pile of laundry can sit. Those dishes are still going to be there tomorrow. I let me guilt overwhelm me so much, I honestly thought “maybe I do have a touch of PPD? It can’t be this bad, right?”

Motherhood is not a fairytale. It’s a sorority of The Elite. Within this sorority, you have some of your best friends. Not because they hug you and tell you “this too shall pass” but because they give it to you straight and they will shake the shit out of you when necessary.

The only mother that has every had it all is Martha Stewart and she had a team doing it for her.

rachelkern152

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