Swimmom’s Weblog

Diary of a Stay-at-home Mom, motherhood and beyond

2 and counting (hopefully) February 2, 2009

If it were up to my husband we would have a small litter, the starting line up of a basketball team or going head to head with The Duggers. He had said he wants 7 kids and I used to think he was exaggerating, just a bit, but I know he is completely serious. You won’t see me with 18 kids or even 7 (that is unless some freak accident happens and I have multiples).  I doubt my uterus could hold up to that many births and I doubt my sanity could hold up to that much chaos.

At times, though it has been a smoother transition than I imagined, I have trouble with just 2.  Although, I love my children and wouldnt change them for anything, I swear my youngest, Sophia, just a couple days shy of 2 (going on 6), would have kept me barren if she were my first. My son, George, almost 4, whom I thought was busy and energetic, seems a mellow, calm match to my curious, ever moving, wandering and exploring beautiful princess Sophia.

But what do you consider when adding to your clan?

Money, I’m not concerned about. We aren’t millionaires or even 100 thousandaires but we are responsible hard working adults ready to tackly any financial strong hold.

If it were up to my overly opinionated sister-in-law, who proclamined to me during our family Christmas party that, “I know how she feels” about our quest for a third, we would stop at two.

I hear great advice from my husband’s friend, father of 5, that once you think you are done, have one more. And a wonderful comment from a long lost friend I’ve reconnected with through Facebook (my new addiction), “Why not add to the chaos?”

I see it two ways, on one had, I love my children and love being a mother and a wife, but that is not all I am. I have put my dreams on hold to care for my children and don’t want those dreams lost in the chaos of life. On the other hand, the stronger hand, we have so much love to give, so much to teach and so many dreams to nurture.

Why not add one more?

I’d never dreamed of being a mother, but upon meeting my husband, new dreams were realized. My desire to grow old with my husband, and my children and be surrounded by grandchildren and laughter, family. Our hearts are big enough for 2.

Why not add another miracle? God willing.

Why not add  2 more legs to run around the house, 2 more feet to pitter-patter about, 2 more hands to reach everything they shouldn’t, 2 more arms to give those great hugs and one more heart to add to the love and the laughter.

Besides, as my college friend, Michelle Valles, Austin News Anchor, put it to me so poignantly, she once heard a great person say, “I wanted jobs and kids, I wanted it all. I realized I can have it all, just not at the same time.”

I will have it all, some day I’ll get there. But for now, join me on my journey to make out family of 4, a clan of 5.

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Reality Check August 26, 2008

This morning, while my kids where watching their usual PBS shows, I announced that I needed to take a shower. My son startled me at what he said next.

“I need to take a shower. I’m all dirty and stinky.” I said. (I had just done my usual morning workout)

My son looked at me and explained, “You do need to take a shower. I like my color, not yours,” as he pointed to his cheek.

I hesitated, not knowing what to say next.

“What do you mean?”, I asked. ” You don’t like my skin color?”

“I like Sophia’s white shirt.” He explained. That should have been key enough that he didn’t mean what he said, or what I thought he meant.

Probing. “You don’t like me skin color?” I asked again, trying to get into the head of my 3 1/2 year old son, an impossible task itself.

“No, I like your skin color.” he said.

I don’t know why, but I was close to tears.

I called my dad.

“George is 3. He has no idea what he is saying. If he was 10, then you discuss it, but he is 3. You told him you were dirty and stinky. He probably relates it to when he is in the dirt and you tell him he is dirty and stinky and needs to take a shower.”

I know this is probably true.

But still.

I don’t know if I am ready to talk about race stuff or if I am ready to handle it. I know it’s not now, but it will be some day. What if your child, who now looks at you with such unconditional love, all of a sudden has questions to why mommy is “different”?

My dad, who is part Caucasian and part African-American, insists that even though your kids probably will ask questions, they will always love you because you are there parents.

And I guess that’s true. I remember being called an Oreo Cookie (kids can be mean) at school but it never made me not like my parents for being one race or the other, it made me not like the kids calling me names.

So I guess all I can do is tell my kids that there are many different types of people in the world and being one way or another doesn’t make you better, it just makes you different. And differences are what make our world what it is today. People are different sizes, shapes, races, religions, and so much more.

Besides without all these different people we wouldn’t have Sesame Street, Spongebob (a sponge) wouldn’t live in the Ocean with a squirrel and a star fish and Bob the Builder wouldn’t be good friends with Scoop, Muck or Dizzy.

Now that, my 3 year old should understand.

 

Grocery Store Monsters August 8, 2008

I felt my temperature rise and my blood pressure sky rocket as I walked through the grocery store.

I swore I was this close to breaking out into a sweat as my son’s scream echoed through Wegman’s, my daughter’s closely followed. If I didn’t need to be at the grocery store at this moment, I would seriously just leave my cart in the middle of the aisle, grab my kids and quickly exit the store.

This amazing display of toddler behavior, that shouted to my fellow shoppers, was bought on by a treat I purchased at the cookie counter. Once my son realized he wasn’t going to get it NOW, and he had to wait until after dinner, he lost his cool and I lost mine, while I picked the perfect place to assert my myself and hold my own.

I leaned down to the “car” shopping cart my kids shared and spoke, what I thought, was very calmly, “No George, you cannot have a cookie now, you must wait until after dinner.”

As I repeated myself, I stabbed myself with the temper tantrum knife right in the middle of the back. I felt it pierce my skin as my determination to hold my word, in a public place, set the stage for disaster.

My sweet, curly headed, beautiful 3 year old son morphed into an ugly monster and took his innocent 17 month old sister along for the ride.

Sure, it sounds a little dramatic but if you have been there, which I am sure plenty of you have, there is no pretty way to paint this picture.

My son screamed and then cried. When I leaned down and told him it would be okay, I understood how he felt but he needed to stop crying in the store, he repeated, while screaming, “I can’t stop crying, I can’t stop.” And then hearing, what must have been a sibling signal of distress, my daughter followed suite. Although her crys were high pitched.

People stared and my nervousness caused me to look at them and giggle.

One women who I had encountered at the deli counter before the “blow-up” whom had commented that my children were so happy and beautiful, had met me again at the register with my cart of terror and gave me this look of horror.

I smiled.

But felt like saying come on lady, like you’ve never seen crying kids before.

Anyway, so I learned my lesson…..

1. Never go to the store when your 3 year old hasn’t napped.

2. No matter how bad you want to, the grocery store is not the place to assert yourself when dealing with your 3 year old and your very impressionable 18 month old.

And number 3….

Sometimes things don’t go the way you planned, kids scream, blood pressures rise and people stare but things could always be worse, trust me.

Besides, store tempter tantrums don’t last forever, they usually ( I said usually) abruptly subside the minute you pass the threshold and exit onto the outside sidewalk, no more bright lights, on-lookers and nothing for your toddlers to want you to immediately buy.

This wasn’t the first time and unfortunately, I’m sure it won’t be the last.

 

School Days August 7, 2008

With the preschool season quickly approaching and paperwork for sign-up hitting it’s quick August 15th deadline, I have a couple things to consider: do I send him 2 short days ( two and a half hours) like last year or do I increase to 2 longer days (he would stay and eat lunch) or 3 short days?

The dilemma.

And honestly, most of the issue is probably on my part , not my son’s. He would probably love staying a little longer and eating lunch with all of the other kids. But all I do when he is gone is keep a close watch on the clock and a close watch on my anxiety. The anxiety of the unknown. You’d think it would helpn that the place I send him to is great and the teachers are caring, helpful and I completely adore and trust them with my son, and that he has been going there for a year and loves it….but still.

My dad tells me to get over it, my mom tells me George probably loves being around the other kids (and I know he does) and my husband says it’s good for him (which I know it is).

But does it really get any easier?

Aren’t those just the normal anxieties when you send your kids to school or am I completely neurotic?

Deep down, I wish I could keep my kids in a protective little bubble. A bubble that wards off fear, insecurities, bullies, and evertyhing else that is harmful, destructive and may cause tears.

But in reality, I know all that stuff builds strength and character for him….and me.

Besides, that parenting manual the gave me when they sent me home from the hospital with my babies addressed and prepared me for all these issues.

No…. really. Maybe not.

So today I dropped him off at camp (the same place he goes to school, and same teachers) with his lunch and new Thomas the train backpack in tow, so he could “try it out” a longer day, before we committed to going longer days (not that you can’t change your mind, but still).

So here we are just after 10:00 and I still have about 2 hours to go until I pick him up.

I am sure I could get some things done, but that would be way too productive, right?

On a lighter note, one morning this past weekend after I got up to workout my husband remained in bed and my son climbed into bed to join him. Upon getting up my husband,forgetting he wasn’t wearing any underwear, got out of bed, stood up and was met with my son’s stares.

“Oh, that’s the longer one, right?”, he asked.

I am unsure exactly, what happened next but I am sure my husband, in all of his embarrassment and humiliation, proudly proclaimed, “Yes”.

 

Thomas trumps the Potty….any day of the week! August 6, 2008

How many accidents are too many? And is there such a thing?

What do you do when your son is dry for 3 hours and then starts playing with his favorite toy and refuses and fights to get up to go to the potty? Do you drag him to the potty with every little bit of your potty training desperation ? Or do you let him wait it out and “wet” it out,over and over again?

Is this all just part of the training process for him….and for me?

Maybe my desire for him to potty train is not as strong as his desire to be “trained”?

Or maybe that’s the problem.

What do you do when the potty becomes you and your child’s worst nightmare?

Look for answers on your blog ? Or maybe a sign from the Porcelain King?

My son maybe a potty training late bloomer.

He is completely resistant to all attempts at potty training so now my plan is to let him be and let him go when he wants to go. I don’t know what else to do.

I thought he was ready, he stayed dry for long periods of time, asked to go on the potty, etc, etc, and then it all stopped. I thought maybe it was the whole pull-up action. Because it is really like just wearing a diaper. It allows you to get wet and for as long as you want to, stay wet. You can go in a pull-up and I think, or at least I thought that was the problem. So, I tried just letting him run around bare naked, but that didn’t work, George peed and pooped on the floor, and then played in it.

Then I tried underwear but and he stayed dry and was successful that is until he got busy playing. I even set a timer and told him to try and go every hour, but once he began playing with his trains, there was no stopping him. I would literally have to drag him in kicking and screaming.

Thomas, Percy and the gang ruled over peeing in the potty any day.

So I am at a loss, I have no idea what to do. Maybe it is just the fact that he is not ready yet. My sister-in-law, whose 3 1/2 year old son just became potty trained about a week or 2 ago, agrees that George isn’t ready and insists that I wait until he is 3 1/2 and something will just click and he’ll want to go on the potty.

I hope it, no let me rephrase, I wish would be that easy.

Well, so that gives me 5 weeks and counting. I know every kid is different and they all develop at different rates, but quite frankly I’m not buying it.

What if my son happens to be lazy at potty training and his smarts have outwitted my attempts when it comes to the P-O-T-T-Y?

It’s not that fact that George doesn’t want to go on the potty. When there is nothing else to do, like at night when he doesn’t want to go to bed, or in public when he wants to see the new potty, or well…just because, he’ll stay completely dry, number one and 2. But for the most part during the day, nothing. I tried rewards and he was great. But when he didn’t want the rewards anymore he stopped going on the potty. I hope someone has some great advice, all you potty training experts out there.

My husband always reminds me that I should expect my son to be a little late jumping on the potty training bandwagon because he was also a stubborn one. When my husband was 4 years-old my mother-in-law wondered why she hadn’t seen him go number one or number 2 for a good amount of time and then she realized he was going behind that garage with the dog.

See what I have to work with!

 

And she’s up…. January 30, 2008

…..and she’s walking!

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My daugther, Sophia, who turns one next week is now a walker and a pretty good one I might add (it’s just the proud mommy in me).She started taking a couple steps at a time just about 2 weeks ago and now she walks across the room, or from one room to the other. She’s not running yet, but I know once they walk, there is no stopping them.

Now that my household contains 2 walkers, I have been promoted to head referee in charge! Instead of yelling calls, I have moved to immediate separations.

No time to negotiate!

Sophia breaks all the rules.

She’ll climb on anything and use her brother as a ladder in the process. I once saw her step up on his leg to climb onto the couch in the play room.

She is relentless and persistent.

I couldn’t be more proud!

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A kid with a dream January 17, 2008

If you think about it,Martin Luther King Jr. was once a kid with a dream, who grew into an adult with a vision to make that dream come true.

You could have a young activist, president, or leader in your home, a kid with a dream.

Help your child make their dreams come true, however big or small they may be, by teaching them historical figures who not only made their own dream come true, but facilitated the making of dreams for children and adults across the country.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.

If you live in the southern New Jersey/Philadelphia area and are looking for a way to honor Dr.King with the kids, here are a couple places to help introduce your kids to his courage, strength,honor and his dream.

This weekend:

January 19th and 20th join the Franklin Institute in a number of activities celebrating Martin Luther King Jr and black identity. Support the Institute for the Preservation of African-American Music with an inspiring gospel performance featuring Dr. Verolga Nix and the Intermezzo Choir Ministry and learn about the important contributions that black scientists have made. The weekend is highlighted by a preview of Dr. Molefi Asanteís upcoming photo-essay book, Black Identity in Philadelphia.

On Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, there are various events happening around the area. Following the events this weekend, The Franklin Institute is holding a Scavenger Hunt that focuses on African American Scientists (you can receive 1/2 price admission if you bring in canned goods for donations).

The Crayola Factory is honoring Dr. King by having families write an about him or contribute to a mural honoring diversity.

You can also join the National Constitution Center in performances by the musical duo Two of a Kind in storytelling session with notable Philadelphians, performing readings from Dr. King’s I have a Dream speech.

You don’t have to leave your home to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.

Kaboose has some great Freedom crafts you can create with your children to celebrate the man who fought for freedom and equal rights for everyone.

Create Freedom Friends and Martin Luther King Jr. Rainbow Pins (click for instructions and check out Kaboose for more ideas).

Not into crafts, read together.

There are great books out there geared toward children to teach them about Martin Luther King Jr.

I Have a Dream, geared towards age 5-8. Teach your child the words of that historical speech that inspired and changed our nation, with beautiful illustrations by award winning artists. $6.99 at Barnes and Noble.

Martin Luther King Jr. (History Bio Series), geared towards age 7-10. Just $5.95 at Barnes and Noble.

Whatever place you go, craft you do or book you read, just talk with your children about the dreams and visions of Dr. King. Show them that no matter their race, gender, or background, whether you come from the left side of the tracks or the right, you have the ability to make you dreams come true, if you fight for you dreams and if you believe.