Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Do I Hafta Share Too??

Today, Isabella's daddy put her down for a nap without my help (I was out running errands) for the first time since she was, oh, probably 1 month old. yes! I know that seems ridiculous or even sad to some, but it was a huge milestone for our little family.

When I first became pregnant, I had set ideas on parenting and I wasn't going to sway from them. NO WAY would our child sleep in our bed. NO WAY would our child nurse past one year. NO WAY would our child rely on mommy for practically her every need.

So, now that Isabella is over 14 months old, just beginning to sleep in her own bed, nursing less but no end in sight, she is finally beginning to realize she can count on Daddy for important things in life too...like naps.

I was shocked at my own self-pity reaction at my sister's baby shower when my mom was able to put Bella down for a nap with nary a moment of need from me. Amanda Sue even had to ask if I was okay because I apparently couldn't hide my sadness and amazement at being completely left out. I felt silly shortly afterwards and have ever since.

Being a stay-at-home mom is definitely much more difficult and yet more rewarding than I ever imagined. But what I didn't imagine were the intense feelings that accompany being a mom who's with her child 24-7. Those emotions have ranged from fear, frustration and being overwhelmed to contentment, patience and pure joy.

We have so much pressure as new mothers to do what everyone else deems the correct way to be a parent. Working moms are often made to feel guilty for putting their child in daycare or with another caregiver. Stay-at-home moms are often made to feel they are holding back their children from the world. Pressure to nurse or to not nurse. How long to nurse. Pacifier or no pacifier. Co-sleep or in their own crib in their own room. Slip some cereal into the milk at six weeks, wait until 6 months for any food at all. It is maddening!

Finally, my husband and I decided we had to do what was right for not only our daughter but for us. We let nature take its course as much as possible. When Isabella is ready to change something in her routine, I am now able to sense it and follow accordingly.

I'm blessed to have a healthy, outgoing, loving and laughing child. Isn't that really what's most important?? I can give up a few of my own heartstrings to see my daughter continue to grow and flourish. If that means allowing Daddy, Grandma or anyone else she loves to care for her, then I'm a happy momma and willing to share :)

Monday, August 22, 2005

All We Need Is Love

We've all heard the phrase "I've been blessed" and that can apply to many aspects of life. Whether it is material, emotional, or simply a special memory, being blessed often carries a lesson.

I say that because this weekend we went to the country (yes, again) and I was blessed.

Isabella has a 2-year old cousin named Gracie. She's a sweet, adorable girl who's already had quite a bit of turmoil in her life. Her parents are young and now divorced, fighting over her constantly. She just lost her "Aunt B" as she called Rebecca, who died of Cystic Fibrosis in April. She still talks to Aunt B whenever she's outside. She'll babble on and on, looking lovingly up to the heavens as she crosses the fields to her Granny's house during morning walks. Is there anything sweeter than that?!

Saturday when we arrived, Gracie came over to visit. As soon as she saw me, she wanted in my lap. Isabella would have NONE of that. She's now at the age of being possessive of what she deems is hers. Well, Gracie suddenly went from happy to a kind of desperation I've never seen in a child. She clung to me, she cried, and she looked so heartbroken that I was torn between comforting my own daughter or loving on this tiny little person who obviously needed attention.

The battle for my affection wasn't as heartwarming as you'd think. It nearly made me cry. Isabella was pushing Gracie away and Gracie was frantically trying to love on me. Heath finally just took screaming Isabella outside for a change of scenery and I held Gracie close. Her little hands clung to me and she wanted nothing to do with anyone else. She kept calling me "momma" and everyone corrected her that I was Bella's momma. So then she called me Bellamomma.

The next day, the SAME THING happened! As soon as she saw me, she reached up and cried for me to hold her, calling out "Bellamomma! Bellamomma!"

Needless to say, it was exhausting and weighed on my heart that a child would be in such desperate need of affection. Turns out her mother is too busy being young and carefree to spend much time with her daughter, much less to love on her.

So how am I blessed?

I am blessed because my mother has always shown her love for me. I'm blessed because my daughter has both parents who put her first and always will. I'm blessed because another child who needed love saw that I would give it to her.

I pray that God will reach Gracie's mother and relay to her that Gracie needs her. Love and hugs from family, friends and strangers is no match for a mother's love. But I will make it a point to give Gracie an extra special hug every time I see her.

If you see a child who needs that extra hug, I encourage you to give it. You never know just how much that may mean at that moment in their life.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Don't Bug Me!

We just got back from the country, visiting my husband's grandparents. They live in a log house on a lot of land with cows, chickens, a drunk-sounding rooster and about 30 stray cats that keep breeding.

I love going to their house, I really do! However, this weekend I must've been far too detail oriented.

The log house has an extra bedroom built on the back. So when you are sleeping in there, it is a log wall on one side and wood paneling on the other. There's an air conditioner unit in the window with the little window filler thingies to keep out air and critters. Problem? Critters are crafty and find their way in. Between logs. In corners. Under lamp shades. Places they shouldn't be.

So I'm laying in bed taking a nap with my daughter when I notice a mud-dobber flying around. I know they won't hurt me or baby girl, but it is still a creature flying about my head with dangling legs and menacing eyes. Okay, I couldn't see its eyes, but I'm sure they were menacing.

I leap up and get my husband to kill it. He's a man, that's what they do. Jes has explained that to us. He kills it, I think, but can't find it. So I try to lay back down, but now I'm paranoid because there's possibly a half-dead leg dangler seeking revenge.

I finally fall asleep with Isabella curled up next to me. My hand is under the pillow and I feel something kinda gritty, like dirt. Gross, I think. I wipe it off and snooze some more. When I awaken, Isabella is next to me holding a dried up bug head! I yank up my pillow and there's more dried up bug parts! *gag*

Thankfully, we went home that day so no other sleeping was required in the bug romper room. I will, however, be requesting we stay in the bedroom built INSIDE the house next time. How I'll do that without offending anyone has yet to be determined.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Disappearing Act

TaDa! here I am! Did you miss me? All...one of you? haha.

Not sure where I've been, guess life has just been a blank page for me lately. But is life really ever blank? Just like, is life really ever THAT good or even THAT bad? Due to what I call my "previous life" (aka. first marriage), I've learned to look at each day as separate and its own mini-adventure.

You'd like an example?

Today is a good one. Isabella slept fitfully all night because she ran a fever. At 2am , her fever was 102.3. Being a new mom, I panicked. Being a new mom with a mother-in-law who's a nurse, I was able to overcome the panic and remember that babies get high fevers and there are simple ways to aid them in bringing it down to normal.

She woke up her usual self, poking my eye and talking up a storm. Then it dawned on her that she still felt like crap, so she began to cling to me and whine. Any other day, the whining would just about make me scratch out my own eyeballs, but keeping it in check that she felt like warmed over doo-doo, I just held her close and called the nurse.

*Note to all new moms. CALL THE NURSE. They are there to help, no matter how stupid you may feel asking the question!*

She hated the nurse, as expected....screaming, writhing and clinging. But then I learned valuable information. If you have a fever, don't take a cool bath, take a warm one. It will help draw out the fever. HELLO. Hasn't everyone's mother always made you take a cool bath?? See? Things DO change over 30(something) years!

Anywho...long story short, what could have been wrapped up as just being a Drama Day (D-Day) with many tears and worries turned out to be a day of lessons.

Don't cool a fever. Do take the "core" temp when baby is on tummy and not on her back (less ability to push or fart out the thermometer). Do be happy your baby turns to you when she hurts and know that you can comfort her. Don't give a 13-month old medicine with a measuring spoon unless you don't want her to actually get any. Do give her lots of kisses and let her know you will always try to help her feel better. And finally, don't forget that every moment of every day is a journey. Sometimes a reminder. Sometimes a new lesson. Always valuable. Always worthy of living.