What They Really Think

This evening I read a Facebook chain post that actually caught my attention.  It asked:

“WITHOUT ANY prompting, ask your child these questions and write down EXACTLY what they say. It is a great way to find out what they really think. When you re-post put your Child’s age.”

I decided to give it a try…


Baby D – Age 8

1. What is something mom always says to you?
Stop talking.

2. What makes mom happy?
Me helping around the house

3. What makes mom sad?
Feeling sick

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
Lots of things: when I said I like turtles and she said aint nobody got time for dat.

5. What was your mom like as a child?
I don’t know…kind?

6. How old is your mom?
31

7. How tall is your mom?
6’4”

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Cook, I think

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?
School stuff

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Research and the other stuff you do at school

11. What is your mom really good at?
Cooking and being a good mom

12. What is your mom not very good at?
Umm, messing up

13. What does your mom do for a job?
about to be a social worker

14.What is your mom’s favorite food?
pasta!

15.What makes you proud of your mom?
for being nice

16. If your mom were a character, who would she be?
wonder woman or cat woman

17. What do you and your mom do together?
we do stuff outside and in public

18. How are you and your mom the same?
we look the same

19. How are you and your mom different?
she’s a girl and i’m a boy; she has long hair and i don’t; my nose isn’t as big as hers

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
She says I love you

21. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?
Italy, but we don’t go there too often because it costs too much money.

22. How old was your Mom when you were born?
in her 20s?


Baby G – Age 11

1. What is something mom always says to you?
No!

2. What makes mom happy?
I don’t know, being quiet. You don’t smile much for some reason.

3. What makes mom sad?
I don’t know, you never tell me.

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
She doesn’t.

5. What was your mom like as a child?
Getting hurt a lot

6. How old is your mom?
31

7. How tall is your mom?
5’4”

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
I’m guessing reading.

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?
I don’t know! Maybe work on school stuff?

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Writing an article.

11. What is your mom really good at?
Being a mom

12. What is your mom not very good at?
hmmmmm

13. What does your mom do for a job?
doesn’t have a job. unemployed.

14.What is your mom’s favorite food?
Chocolate.

15.What makes you proud of your mom?
Everything.

16. If your mom were a character, who would she be?
Marge Simpson because she has to do a lot of work and she groans like her when shes frustrated.

17. What do you and your mom do together?
we sit in the same car, we live in the same house, eat the same food at the same table…

18. How are you and your mom the same?
Both smart and better yet, both good looking

19. How are you and your mom different?
She hates electronics

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
She says it.

21. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?
Golden Coral


But here is the real kicker: I am going to provide my own answers and see how well my kids really know me!

The Woman – Age 31 and strong

1. What is something you always say to the boys?
Stop it, basta, no, quit talking, get over it, dinner’s ready…

2. What makes you happy?
My boys agreeing and playing nice, puppies and kittens, back rubs, foot rubs, head rubs, neck rubs, hand rubs, leg rubs…catching the trend here?

3. What makes you sad?
The kids fighting, bills, ignorance, bills, poverty, hunger, bills…

4. How do you make your boys laugh?
I think I’m pretty funny, thank you very much.  I have some witty jokes. Knock knock…

5. What were you like as a child?
Shy when I was itty bitty, then probably bossy, a control freak, snappy…you know, like me today.

6. How old are you?
Show me yours and I’ll show you mine.

7. How tall are you?
5’3″ on a proud day 😦

8. What is your favorite thing to do?
Laying on the beach, reading, writing, taking long baths, swimming with the kids, hanging with the kids, eating (let’s be honest here), some R rated stuff…

9. What do you do when the boys are not around?
Probably that aforementioned R-rated stuff.  And clean, and read, and write (hence, now).

10. If you become famous, what will it be for?
I hope my kids nailed this one: for achieving something great in my chosen career path, or for writing something so memorable that it keeps being shared for ages!

11. What are you really good at?
Taking charge.  It’s my way or the highway, people.

12. What are you not very good at?
Following.  See question 11.

13. What do you do for a job?
According to the IRS, I am a student; but I am also a chef, chauffeur, cleaning lady, laundry person, babysitter, teacher, deviant R-rated partner (don’t be jelly).

14.What is your favorite food?
What isn’t?  I love most anything pasta, I love vegetables, and meats.Yum. And sushi.  And gyros.  And Italian pizza (the real stuff, not that DiGiorno crap). Oh and BBQ. I love me some good BBQ.  Yea. I love food.

15.What makes you proud of yourself?
My boys. I know, I know – sappy moment. But for real, I am so proud that I have never had to worry about them academically because they have always been at the top; I have never worried about them socially, because who doesn’t love my kids?  They are kind, sweet, beautiful – I mean, I did make them!

16. If you were a character, who would you be?
I am slightly disappointed my Batman-fanatic kids didn’t think of Poison Ivy because I would totally be her, just in a backwards sort of way.  I don’t actually poison anyone, but I do kill any plant that I touch (silent prayer for my big boy tomato plant growing in the backyard…)

17. What do you and your kids do together?
There isn’t much I do without them – they are always around.  A-L-W-A-Y-S. It’s ok, though – they are pretty cool cats.

18. How are you and your kids the same?
Baby G has my drive to be on top – he will always strive to be the best, because, well, that’s the gene I past on to him. He got 99% of his dad.  But that 1% is all me. 

Baby D has my kind heart.  No, no – don’t laugh at the thought of me being kind.  I might actually say the most cruel words you’ve ever heard, but I say them with the kindest intentions.  At the end of the day, though, I will flip backwards to help anyone!  Baby D once said that when he is rich, he will buy us a beautiful, huge house to live in and then he will buy another equally beautiful and large house for the homeless people to live in.  That, folks, is a kind heart. 

Baby W is a little too little to really gauge, but he seems to have my carefree spirit.  Act now, consequences later.  I feel that way about Burger King as he does about leaping off the back of the couch.  Tomat-ow Tomah-to.

19. How are you and your kids different?
Baby G is analytical and precise.  That isn’t genetic, it’s learned; learned from his detail-oriented, borderline panicky step-father. 

Baby D would spend hours glued to his video games if I let him.  It blows my mind because once I force him to disconnect, he is the most sociable and outdoorsy child I know! I do not like video games. I try to feign interest in Pokemon names, or how to run a play on Madden…

Baby W still hasn’t learned to pee in a toilet.  Thankfully, we are very different there!

20. How do you know you’re showing your boys that you love them?
I tell them, of course.  But greater than that, I do as much as I can for them.  Like, everything. 

21. Where is your favorite place to go?
Hawaii. I absolutely love it there. The smell of eternal summer.  Perfect.  But, that being said, I also love Italy, France, Germany (sometimes), the mountains – oh I love and miss the mountains! Lakes, rivers, the beach….

22. How old were you when your boys were born?
Baby G: 20

Baby D: 23

Baby W: 29


I am pretty sure that if I read this list to the boys, they would say, “Oh yeah! I knew that!”.  I wonder how well I could answer these same questions about my own kids.  Maybe it’s time to put the laptop and the books away, and play a game of “get to really know each other”!

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Potty Training Like a Pro?

Have you ever seen the Love’s diapers commercial where it shows how a mom treats her first baby with the uttermost concern, but then grabs scraps for her second baby?  A non parent might interpret this as a lesser degree of love or care for a second (or third, or fourth, etc) child; but they would be wrong.  As a parent of three boys, I can tell you that the degree of love and care does not change. [Pause for potty break] What does change, however, is your level of acceptance of what you can and cannot control.

I tried, for example, to keep Baby G (child #1) constantly sanitized.  I had a pack of wipes (generic? absolutely not) in every diaper bag (yes, there was need for multiple diaper bags), in every car, bedroom, and bathroom.  Oh, you spilled some juice on your shirt?  Goodness, no – let’s change you!  Let’s discuss the outcome: I changed his clothes too many times and wiped him too often – and he couldn’t care less.  Baby G enjoyed an all too regular meal of grass, crayons, and play-dough.  He preferred moments of nudity over cute outfits.

When it came time to potty train him, I bought the coolest looking potty chair and even a mini toilet seat for the grown up potty.  I used training pants and a timer set to 15 minutes to keep our potty training on track.  Outcome review: the potty chair became one of his favorite toys, after all, it was really cool looking.  It was never peed or pooed into.  Ever. [Pause for potty break] The mini toilet seat became nothing more than a hazardous donut for the grown ups and the training pants became a burden to my washer.  Worst yet, the timer became a dreaded tool – I wasn’t achieving anything in those 15 minute spurts between often dry potty beaks.  Baby G simply did not care about becoming a big boy when it came to the bathroom realm.  I’ll admit that eventually, I kind of gave up.  I figured I would still be changing diapers when he came home for spring break his sophomore year in college  Whatever, right?  There are worst fates in the world.  Then, one day I realized I was changing dry diapers.  I stopped putting diapers on him, and he started using the toilet.  No potty chair, no training pants, no mini toilet dangerous apparatus.  I didn’t actually do anything.

Since Baby D came so shortly after Baby G – and just seconds before the whole instant self-potty training occurred, I felt very at ease.  In fact, I do not remember using wipes, I kept a diaper bag in the car but never carried it around with us, and when I thought it was time to potty train, I just let it be.  I cannot tell you how old Baby D was when he stopped using diapers.  Maybe 2? Maybe 1?  No idea – he was such a piece of cake baby and I was such a laid back mamma.

So one would think that I would take my lessons learned and use them with Baby W.  He is almost 2, and about 4.5 million diapers later (or so it feels like), I am ready to potty train him.  Or rather,  I forgot what potty training a boy of mine means.  Let’s accredit this situation to the 7 year gap between having Baby D and Baby W.  While there were certain things I was smart enough to remember (a little bit of grass never hurt anyone, and play-dough makes for interesting poops later), other aspects of baby rearing clearly escaped me.  So I purchased a potty chair and a pack of training pants.  If you look in my bathroom now you will find that the potty chair has become the holder for [Pause for potty break] all of Baby W’s bath toys (two dinosaurs, three fish, 4 cars and some character from a Super Mario chess board game, FYI).  After going through the entire pack of training pants in less than one hour, I decided to let Baby W free roam [Pause for potty break].  This morning was an absolute success: he did not have any accidents (unless I find a hidden wet spot somewhere).  Then after lunch we took a dive in the pool.  It was so cold!  When Baby W’s lips took on a slight blue hue, I decided it was time to call it quits.  We came inside and I sat his bare butt in his high chair while I whipped us up a snack.  He was wrapped in a blanket, still warming himself from the too cold pool water.  Then, I thought I heard something: dripping water, a leaky faucet.  Only it wasn’t.  Baby W smiled as he was clearly feeling some warmth under that blanket.  So gross.  Frustrated I began wondering what I am doing wrong, what I need to do differently.

It required a bit of introspection to realize I am not doing anything wrong per say.  Neither is Baby W.  But some things I cannot control – and apparently – neither can he.  I will keep running him to the potty anytime he asks – hence the pause for potty breaks – and I will keep washing blankets, training pants, high chair seat cover, etc until Baby W is ready.  Then again, I might still be changing diapers when he’s home for spring break his sophomore year in college.  It could always be worse…[Pause for potty break]…

Recognizing My Furry Family

Two years of blogging – not as frequently as I should – and I have yet to make a formal post about the furrier members of my family. I have a ton of them too, so it is odd that I haven’t introduced you to them! But behind every post, there’s hidden meaning – and I will get to that shortly.

Starting chronologically, there’s the biggest of the fur-balls – Levi. He was born eight years ago exactly to a German Shepherd mom and a Bordie Collie dad. He was graced with his father’s soft locks, but his mom’s commanding shape. He acquired the discipline of a Buddhist monk – he is obedient, quiet and tame. Levi suffers from separation anxiety and has the worst case of abandonment issues around. Poor boy. The night I brought him home, he fit snugly in my lap for the entire hour long car ride. He was housebroken in less than a week, and besides the one incident where he collected all my dad’s shoes and piled them all together (weirdo), he has never had a destructive bone inside him. That being said, donuts and baby diapers are a delicacy in his mind, so those have to be well hidden (or better yet, trashed). I am proud to say that Levi loves me above all else in the universe. He follows me like a shadow and gives me a pained, saddened look any time I walk out the door, leaving him behind. I always, always, always promise to come back – and I have never let him down. After all he did save me from going insane one time…

Jump back 7 years. We were living in Germany. It was a Sunday evening mid fall/early winter and in the region we lived in, that equated to frigid weather. Levi and Baby D were barely over 1, Baby G was 3. I had gone grocery shopping with a baby and toddler in tow, so the word ‘exhausted’ doesn’t even come close to explaining how I felt. It was getting late and I was cold, tired, cranky, ready to throw my kids out of the car (I would never ever do that, by the way, promise…) I pulled up to my house, walked up to my front door, unlocked the door…only, I didn’t. The lock was jammed. So there I was, on a hilltop in the middle of no where Germany (in retrospect, the location of the house was not so smart) with the weak sun slowly sinking. My two little boys in the car started screaming – one had probably poked the other one – you know – everyday kind of stuff. My car was full of groceries, but no worries, nothing was going to thaw – not as cold as it was! I started to panic. I could call my landlord, but between the language barrier, the screaming kids, and the aggravated tone that would come out of my mouth – I knew that call would be a lost cause. I just sunk to the ground, my back to my front door, face in my hands exasperated. Then I heard something behind me: a sniffle, like someone rubbing their wet nose against the door. I might have even heard a faint bark. Levi! You have to understand, Levi is also an extremely intelligent dog – and I’m not just saying that because he is mine, but I truly mean it! (My dad might beg to differ after the shoe collection incident, but I still believe there was a genuine purpose for that odd event). I felt a glimmer of hope – Levi had been known to open doors. In fact, he got loose a couple times – we even found him and Mac, my dad’s dog, wandering the streets of our little German town causing quite a fuss. So I stood up and in the happiest voice I could muster, I called out his name. “Levi! Levi! Hey baby boy! Who’s going to let Mamma in?” And just like that, I heard it. It was really low, but I heard it: “click!” I slowly pushed at the front door and it creaked open. Staring back at me was the happiest and proudest puppy face I had ever seen. I had never been any happier to see Levi. I was no longer locked out of my own house: I wasn’t going to freeze to death in my own car, in my own driveway with my babies and a car full of groceries. Levi saved us – or at least my sanity.

So, yes – when I walk out the door every day and Levi gives me that “please don’t abandon me” look, I promise him, “I will be back – I won’t be gone long.” Maybe it makes him feel a little better, maybe not.

Levi

Levi today

As much as I have begged and pleaded with The Man, he will not agree to let me get a wife for Levi. He insists Levi is just fine, and in truth, he has plenty of company with the other fur-balls. Thing is, when The Man met me, I came with a lot of baggage – kids, dog, and cats… Enter Sandy and BJ.

Four years ago (June to be exact), Baby G and Baby D were vacationing with their daddy. I had all the time to focus on myself – no one to take care of (Levi was temporarily away also). It was fa-bu-lous! Then one day, my former teacher brought two little kittens to school. They were barely four weeks old. Their mother had been mauled by a coyote, and though she survived, she was unable to nurse them. They were the smallest kittens ever – the female fit in the palm of my hand, but the little boy, even my palm was too big for him. His weak little legs couldn’t hold him straight, and when he sneezed, his entire body flipped. It was the saddest – but cutest – thing ever. It took about 2.3 seconds for me to decide they were coming home with me. Obviously. Sandy got her name from the squirrel on Spongebob, but she is nothing like that squirrel. She is regal, proper, and loves sitting on people’s faces, particularly The Man’s. BJ, on the other hand, was named after Baby Jaguar from the cartoon Diego – a staple in our house at the time. Truth be told, however, I did not think BJ would survive. I set up a strict feeding schedule, and with the help of The Man and The Man’s Sister, we rotated around the clock to bottle feed them kitty formula. I bathed them, I helped them take baby kitten steps. The boys were still gone for another two weeks and all I hoped was that BJ would pull through. When the boys made it home, Sandy was so much healthier and bigger. She could run, but not quite jump. BJ, however, still barely walked. I cried so many nights worried that he would not make it. I cried even harder when Baby G claimed BJ as his. He took over all the feedings, the bath times, the strength building exercises. He was committed. And so was BJ. Slowly he put on weight, he grew little kitty muscles, he began eating on his own. And every night he slept right next to Baby G’s head. It didn’t take long after that: the two of them were destroying blinds, shredding toilet paper, knocking over flower vases – and even though it should have infuriated me – I was always simply happy to know that they were healthy and strong because of what we did!

Now, four years later, Sandy lounges on the shed roof during the day, catching warm sun rays. Then, when she is ready to turn in for the night, she peers at me through the glass door. She has her designated spot on the couch, molded to her shape. BJ, on the other hand, hasn’t changed much – you can still find him sleeping on Baby G’s bed, sometimes even under the sheets with his head poking out, laying on the pillow, like a proper little boy. He’s our miracle baby.

Sandy

Sandy

BJ

BJ

Our house is full of miracles, to be honest. Another gleam of hope comes with Bobbie. She is actually older than Levi (oops!), but in my defense, she didn’t become mine until a few years ago. The In-Laws lived in this house when Hurricane Katrina hit. Our neighborhood was destroyed – words cannot even begin to explain the conditions. They were bad enough that our street made the news – a quick glimpse of our roof can even be seen on a commemorative Katrina video. Lives were lost, property was gone, and pets were stranded. One such pet was a beautiful kitten with long, soft fur. The In-Laws discovered her wandering the neighborhood, obviously injured and afraid. Her long tail was severed, but no one could catch her to help her out. For weeks they tried. And finally one day, it was gone. Just the tail. The rest of the kitten was ok. The beautiful kitten now had a stump for a tail. She stopped running as fast when people tried petting her, and she started coming when called for supper. Who ever owned her before was long gone, and she was alone. The In-Laws took her in. Bobbie. When I met her, she hid in corners, wouldn’t stay in the closed garage, especially during storms. She never meowed, she never made a sound, in fact. But I persevered. I kept inching closer to her, and within a few months, she began trusting me. Now Bobbie will come into the house, spend the night even during the cold winter months. During the day she lays on our front porch and begs us to pet her, rubbing her still soft, long fur against our legs. She even braves enough to let Baby W pet her, real quickly though. Our Katrina cat.

bobbie

Bobbie

And then there was Sici. Sici was our latest addition. In a house full of animals, The Man said – No More! But one day almost two years ago, February 20th, he came home from work with a little black and white kitten. She was immediately the friendliest, sweetest kitten I had ever met. She knew no strangers. She purred so loudly she sounded like a freight train. She refused to sleep anywhere besides between me and The Man – and that freight train sounded really loud when it was only a couple inches from my head! She laid on my belly throughout my pregnancy, eventually rolling off when it grew too big. She grew big in that time too. She never left our house – stayed in our yard and watched her boys get on and off the school bus every day. When Baby W finally arrived, she watched him intently and decided then and there, that he was hers. She played with him so gently, batting at his little hands. When Baby W started crawling, she made him chase her around the living room. He laughed so hard seeing her dart up and down the furniture. Then Baby W started walking and she ran faster, played harder. She slept at the foot of his bed at night, and when he woke up crying, she would watch me as I soothed him back to sleep and I could hear that freight train of a purr. Sici was even one of the first words Baby W spoke. There was never a kitten as sweet as her.

This past Sunday, we lost our Sici in a terrible accident. We found her lying in the street and I cried. I cried for a very long time. I am crying as I write this. I am crying because I realize how precious our furry family truly is. Each and every one of them. My little Sici was abandoned as a kitten, but we gave her a home. In reality though, she made us hers. It’s amazing how in such a short time a pet can become so important in our daily routine. I keep looking at the window expecting to see her black and white face meow back at me, wanting to come in and check on her baby. I have noticed that Sandy, BJ, and Bobbie haven’t left the house much since Sici passed. I wonder if they know – if they understand. If they too mourn. If they too miss her as much as we do.

I don’t think Baby W will remember his Sici when he grows up – but I will always have the memories, the pictures. I will tell him the stories and create a memory for him.

So tonight, tuck your kids in bed, tell your spouse you love them too, but don’t forget your furry family. They contribute so much to our lives – an array of emotions – and when they are gone – it’s too late then to hear that freight train.

sici03

Sici loving Baby W

sici05

Sweet Sici

On the day Sici came home to us

On the day Sici came home to us

Never a dull moment

Never a dull moment

Imagining this world without you

Tonight I had the pleasure of watching the based-on-true-life movie, Philomena.  It was a sad story about one mother’s search for her lost son.  As an Irish teen mother in the ’50s, she was forced into a monastery where the nuns sold her toddler son to an American family.  Fifty years later, with the help of a journalist, she unravels the mystery of her son’s life, only to discover that she was 8 years too late – her son had already passed.  A tear jerk-er, for sure, Philomena was full of social injustices and cruelties, and bouts of religious questioning, particularly for those of the Catholic faith.

After the movie ended, I crawled into bed with The Man and Baby W (yes, at ten months he has yet to leave my bed) but sleep escaped me.  I felt a sudden sadness for this woman, Philomena.  I felt sadness for all mothers mentioned in the movie, in fact.  Imagine going through life without knowing your children – seeing them ripped from your arms and brought into those of a stranger for the keeping.  Think of the audacity of the nuns who allowed it – who profited from it!

So, as I lay holding Baby W in my arms, I tried to imagine what my life would be like without him or his brothers.  It was an almost impossible task, because after-all, they have been ever present in my life for 10 years!  But let’s work back.

Image

Without Baby W – just these past few days he has mastered the “dammi cinque” – Italian for “give me a high five”.  I hold my hand up, say, “dammi cinque” and he laughs as he raises his hand too.  Sometimes he gets too excited and he grabs my hand and brings it to his mouth to kiss it.  Mostly, that involves nuzzling his face in my hand and looking at me through my fingers.  I can see him smiling so big because he knows we are playing out little game.  He also knows, however, that if he follows through correctly and gives me a high five, that I will laugh and hug and kiss him because, to me, it is so amazing to see a little baby learn new tricks – even if it is a simple game of high five.  But, without him, I would have never experienced that…

Without Baby D – he is my sweetheart.  Everyone loves Baby D, and I mean, everyone.  Anywhere we go, we are bound to find a little girl who recognizes him, and with a shy turn of the cheek (girls, you all know what move I am talking about) they whisper a quiet “hello” to him.  I have two choices, therefore: 1)I can lock him in his room until he is an adequate age to bring home a girl (say, 35?) or 2) I can teach him right.  I don’t want him to end up being that weird guy that cannot find a girlfriend because his mom won’t let go of him, so I must opt for the latter option.  So, the other day we were in the car driving from baseball practice and we were talking about etiquette.  Conversations such as these actually occur more often than you might think because boys are nasty, sloppy and gross – and I will do everything in my power to turn them into slightly less inappropriate young men.  I was explaining to Baby D that when he is older and decides to start dating there are certain rules he must follow: he must always offer to pick his date up, he must open the door for his date – all doors, he must offer to pay, and when his date offers to split, he should insist on paying, he should bring flowers, he should call soon after because the waiting game is for those who are afraid of taking risks…I told him all these things, and his simple response was, “I have to do all those things?! It sounds so…committed!” He is seven, for goodness sake.  Committed was not the word I was expecting him to use! But he is a hilarious little boy, with a sense of humor as sharp as his little brain, which is why I am now considering going back to option 1…  But, without him, I would have never experienced that…

Without Baby G – oh, the list here is immense since he brought about so many – indeed most- of my baby firsts.  My fist pregnancy, my first childbirth (yowza, by the way), my first night as Santa, and Easter Bunny, and Tooth Fairy – so many firsts.  But this means, he is also the first to hit some of the sad milestones.  He will be turning 10 in exactly one week.  Every year I have thrown him a birthday party.  The theme changes yearly and every year I go a little further to make the party a bit more extravagant. Last year it was Godzilla and even the food was in theme from faux sushi rolls to nuclear limeade.  This, year, however, I have nothing to plan.  It was at Baby G’s request that we are not having a birthday party.  He said, “They are lame”.  I swear to you, a part of my heart withered away and died when I heard that.  He is too cool for school.  I don’t have my baby anymore – he has been replaced by a young boy who is itching to become a teen who is itching to become a man.  I am having to face this harsh reality that, as the years pass, he is becoming his own person – and, thankfully, I am helping to mold him.  But, without him, I would have never experienced that…

So why tell you this?  Any parent out there will come to realize this at some point or another:  our children impact our lives.  But it’s much deeper than that.  This just makes me realize what an impact each and every one of us has in this world.  My boys altered my life in a way that I cannot even begin to fathom.  But what about me? How much have I impacted their world – how much have I impacted yours?  My friends – even if I just spoke to you one single time, that one time is forever engraved in your memories.  Sure, you might not think about me all the time – you might never think of me again if we were to never cross paths – but for that one instant, even just that one – I meant something to you.

The same goes for you, too.  Think of the last time we spoke: did we exchange a laugh?  Or maybe, deep down we know that we don’t actually like each other but we both fake it so well (ah, yes, Facebook fans of mine – this shout out goes to you too!)  It is simply incredible to think about the impact we can have on people.

I urge you then, praise yourself – acknowledge your worth and bearing to me and to all others.  Acknowledge your children.  If you don’t have any, consider having some – they are kind of awesome.  If you haven’t seen Philomena, watch it.  The mother doesn’t have the chance to reunite with her son, but she learns that regardless of their distance, she impacted his life just the same and he was closer to home than she ever knew.  Life is just so mysteriously fantastic, but without you – well, I just couldn’t imagine it…

 

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Being the Queen Bee

When I was just a little girl, a weird lady from our community claimed that she could predict not only how many children you would have, but also their gender and the order in which you would have them.  I caved in and had her check in on my future offspring.  She used a ring tied to a string and if the ring swung in circles it indicated a girl, while a straight back and forth swing indicated a boy.  My ring never swung in circles – just back and forth: three times.  So when I went in for my first ultrasound many years later, I was not at all surprised when the doctor pointed at that extra male appendage.  At the second baby ultrasound, again, the doctor showed me you know what.  By the time I reached my third baby’s ultrasound I dreaded that devilish woman and her stupid prediction.  I wanted a girl so badly.  Someone that could be like me, someone that would wear pink tutus and play with dolls.  But I knew deep down that I was bound to have yet another boy.  This time the doctor didn’t even have to point it out to me: I became an expert at decoding ultrasound pictures of little wee-wees.  So there’s that: no more chances of pink for me (have you tried paying the grocery bill for 3 boys and the dad?? No more babies allowed!)  But then something happened.

Maybe when I had Baby G I was too young to notice it.  And maybe when I had Baby D I was too busy with a toddler and a newborn to notice it.  But this time around with Baby W, I am older, more mature, calmer, wiser, and I tend to notice more details than I did with his older brothers.  There is just something between a boy and his mom that is so special and so grand and I have it threefold!

We were out with family one day and Baby W was passed around like a hot potato: everyone wanting to hold him.  He fussed a bit as all babies do, but when he got back to me, he just looked at me.  And I mean LOOKED.  His eyes were deep in mine.  I talked to him and I smiled at him.  I saw that look he gave back at me: it was so full of love, pure pure pure love.  It might be due to the fact that I am his sole source of food, but it has to be more than that.  I mean, I don’t look at the oven like that, and I love food!  But his look reflected peace, comfort, happiness.  I didn’t see that look on his face when he was with other people.

My eyes were opened now to this new idea that I might actually be really special out there to someone, that I might be the Queen Bee in a house full of boys.  I tested my theory in two ways:  with my older boys, and with another baby.

I started watching Baby G and Baby D: they don’t want to be swaddled and held close, but they do listen to me and react differently to me than they do with anyone else.  When they came home from school last week, I left them each a note on the door.   Baby G’s note was detailed: it listed the chores, his responsibilities, and then thanked him for being a great big brother.  Signed, I love you, Mamma.  Baby D’s was more simple, easier for a new reader:  a picture of a big smiling sun and the words: I love you so much! Mamma.  The boys’ reactions to the notes were similar to Baby W’s reaction when reaching me during his hot potato toss.  Their eyes shined with happiness and ease, and all it took was a note!  What power do I have over these boys?  What power does any mother have over her boys?

My second test involved another baby.  I used Baby M as my guinea pig.  He is my Godson and just a month older than Baby W.  He is a sweet beautiful baby boy, but the key to the test is that I am not his mother.  I held Baby M and I cooed with him and kissed him and cuddled with him, I looked at his face.  He looked content, happy even, but it was not the same.  He gave the boys the same look when they came in close and made silly faces at him.  He likes us, that’s for sure, but he doesn’t love me as deeply.  But his mamma – oh I saw him with her – he was mesmerized by her face, so thrilled to see her with him again.  She has that power too!

So today I sit here with the realization that I have been given this honor to raise three boys, just as that lady had predicted years ago. I won’t be playing with dolls or dressing them in pink, but I will forever be the Queen Bee.  The Man has told me that he fears the day the boys bring home their first girlfriend because he knows how rough I will be on that young girl.  So long as she is fantastic, smart, beautiful, great, amazing and…maybe I will be OK passing on the privilege of my being with my boys.

A Queen's Love

A Queen’s Love

My little cell

It has been nearly two months since my last blog – the dust has collected thick on this keyboard, but the time has slipped by me for a good reason: I have finally welcomed into the world Baby W.  Baby W arrived a full day late, and quite unwillingly at that!  None the less, he arrived healthy, strong, and beautiful.  After a nearly 7 year gap, I felt like a first time mother again (just without the pure fright of a first timer).  Still – when the good doctor placed the little baby on my chest for the first time, I looked down and my jaw dropped.  I remember feeling the same way 7 years ago, and even more so 9 years ago (accompanied by that aforementioned fright): it’s a feeling of amazement of life.

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The idea of creating a life is what mesmerizes me the most.  Everything starts out really small.  And I mean cellularly small: Baby M, Baby D, Baby G and even you and I, started out as a smear: a small, invisible to the naked eye cell.  Then somehow with meiosis and mitosis and whatever-osis, that cell turns into a little tadpole that floats around in the mommy causing a morning and afternoon and night sickness that puts Taco Bell to shame.  Then that tadpole morphs into an alien resembling creature until finally reaching the distinct figure of a baby.  And that, my dear friend, is when the real magic begins: a baby is born.  Such a small cell can now let out a wail and kick his arms and legs.  Such a small cell now has big blue eyes and a full head of hair.  What an amazing start to a life!

Skip ahead just one month and you see changes to that baby already.  Now Baby W coos for my attention when I look away.  He smiles when I blow raspberries on his belly.  He struggles to keep his small head steady on his neck as he takes in all the sights of this new world he was born into.  I can see from his expression that he recognizes me both by my scent as by sight.  I see he recognizes his dad and his brothers.  He has even grown used to the dog’s daily lick on the head.  And all this stemmed from just a simple cell.

I have the benefit of having older children so I have a preview of what is to come for Baby W.  Baby D, who is now just shy of turning 7 shows me the independence of a little boy who’s struggling to be a big boy.  He can lug a heavy bag of trash to the dumpster, he can set the table, and he can carry his baby brother.  He wants to prove he is old enough to have sleepovers and to ride his bike alone down the street.  Sometimes I take for granted all that he is capable of – but when I see him holding his little brother, I realize how big he actually is.  His once toddler-pudgy body has been replaced by a leaner body with little muscles ready for sports.

Just when I think I have caught my mind up with reality: that my baby is now a big boy, I am rudely awakened by the sight of Baby G, who at 9 years is also struggling.  Baby G wishes to no longer be viewed as a big boy, but a little man.  So here I have my first born son, the one who taught me so many motherly lessons (always, always, always have a diaper ready to go when changing a soiled diaper because once that fresh air touches his skin, it’s shower time…) and he most certainly is no longer a small cell, or a baby, or a toddler, or a little boy.  He is wearing deodorant, styling his hair, and beyond picky about the clothes he wears.  His sleepovers involve camping out, building forts, climbing trees.  With his friends they scoff at girls, read magazines and books on aliens and try building robots out of kitchen utensils.  I can send him into the store to buy milk and cat food – and trust that he will not only pick the right milk, but also give me back the right change.  He is becoming a responsible little man.

So what’s next?  When they become teenagers and I have to deal with little girls coming around the house, what will that be like?  Will I still remember how it felt that moment when they were first placed on my chest?  Or will I eventually forget that their father and I created them?  They grow daily, but I think it’s vital to remember that at some point they were just a small little cell.  So if need be, I will let the dust collect on the keyboard, because the cooing of a newborn is not only priceless, but it passes quickly and I do not want to miss a thing this little cell does!

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And baby makes three (or four or five or…)

Earlier this year I sat on a bench munching away at cherry tomatoes – the only thing that Baby W seemed to allow into my system.  I was about 5 months pregnant, and yes, the dreaded nausea just would not leave.  I saw a girl staring at me with that, “What the heck is wrong with that girl eating tomatoes first thing in the morning!?” So I hoped she was a mom and while patting my belly, I said, “Gotta eat what the baby lets me eat!”  She pulled out a bottle of water and said, “And drink whatever the baby lets me drink!”, as she returned a pat on her own belly.  YES! Not only had I found a mom to commiserate with, but I found a PREGNANT mom! Score!

My new friend, OV, turned out to be a really sweet girl from Moldova who was 6 months into her very first pregnancy.  She is married and her in-laws live locally, but her family, just like mine, is far, far away (across the big pond, to be exact).  So we bonded.  We bonded over morning/day/evening/night sickness, we bonded over husbands that just don’t get it, and we bonded over people moving clear out of our way as we waddled down the street.  But mostly, we bonded over the fact that our families, particularly our moms, were very far away.

This is my third go around with pregnancies, so I have to admit I have not been very scared (don’t quote me on that when D-Day arrives!), but poor OV: she was nervous.  I tried my best over the next few months to help her prepare, both mentally and physically for what was to happen.  “It won’t be pretty or clean; it will hurt like hell!  BUT, the moment they place that baby on your chest, you won’t even realize the doctor is still down under fishing for more gunk!”

We shared in baby shower laughters and glared down together the cruel, heartless people who made “WOWZA! Looks like you’re about to blow!!” comments.  (FYI, NEVER EVER say that, it’s not cool).  (Even if it is possibly true).

And finally five days ago I received a text from her: “Girl, I think my waters just broke!”  Let me be honest here: I was very happy for her, VERY.  But I also wanted to very much punch her. VERY.  I mean, how did SHE get to go into labor and NOT ME?!  Sure, sure, she was a whole month ahead of me, but the injustice!  I wished her well, of course, and asked that she kept me up-to-date.

Baby Mayson was born May 23 at 1.10 pm weighing a whopping 8 pounds 3 ounces and is 21 inches long.  He has a beautiful head-full of dark hair and dark dark eyes.  Beautiful baby!

When my jealousy subsided, and I knew Mamma OV had finally regained some kind of senses from what turned out in fact to not being “pretty or clean”and did in fact “hurt like hell”, I finally spoke to OV and she gave me a full recount of the whole endeavor (most interesting fact to me was an article she read stating that rolling gently – on your bum – on a yoga/exercise ball will ease and open your cervix – and within hours of rolling, her waters broke!)  But when I asked her the most grueling question: How do you feel as a mom? she surprised me: “It feels so weird.  🙂 I still cannot believe he came out of me! 🙂 Every time he cries or burps or farts, I have a small heart attack.  I don’t know how you are willing to endure the pain a THIRD time, but I definitely want more babies too!”  And there you have it!  U, moms, we all cringed and screamed and cursed for hours on end, but then it’s over – you hold that little prize and you realize you would do it all over again and again just to see his face!  Mother Nature is cruel and mean and kind of gross, but she is also absolutely beautiful and magical!

Attention all dads:  my second question for OV had to do with her husband.  Now you see, Baby W will be The Man’s first son, so he is a nervous wreck.  I have been searching for ways to ease his nerves, but this is my third go around and only his first.  I remember how scared I was, but I surely do not know how it must feel to be the dad.  So I asked OV how her husband and first time daddy reacted.  She said, “He was so very excited!!  I will never forget the look on his face when he first saw the baby!”  Moms, do you remember the look she’s talking about?  There are only 3 times in your WHOLE life that your man will look that amazing:  when he is on his knees proposing, when he’s standing at the altar looking down the aisle at you walking toward him, and lastly, when he sees his first (and yes, second, third, fourth, etc) born.  It’s a look of pride, joy, love – it’s, once again, Mother Nature at her best!

I saw OV today, holding Baby Mayson.  She was still the girl I met a few months back, who also took on the habit of eating cherry tomatoes like they were candy.  But she was also different today.  She truly became a woman, a mother.  That little baby became the new focus of her life, he has taken center stage and she could not be any happier.  And I swear to you, I also could not be any happier for her too!  Mostly because I also have a yoga ball that is about to be sat on… cross your fingers and wish me and Baby W godspeed!

 

Baby Mayson

Baby Mayson

Mamma OV and Baby Mayson

Mamma OV and Baby Mayson