Special Moments. Or Boogers. 

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When we hang out and snuggle, she likes to rub my belly. Today she was doing it and I let myself entertain a little fantasy that maybe on some level she is already bonding with her baby sister. And how they’re going to be best buds and we won’t be able to imagine our lives without this new baby as soon as she is here. And how magical children are that they just “know” things even before they can really know them, you know?

And then I realized that, with her other hand, she is picking her nose. 

So there’s that. 

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No, Calendar. Just No.  

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We are to the point in the summer where today and the first day of school fit on the same calendar. 

I don’t like it. 

This summer hasn’t been the easiest one ever. Trying to juggle swimming lessons and camps and a very active six year old with a toddler nap schedule while pregnant in the heat is kind of a recipe for “muddling through” rather than “savoring the moments”. 

But the truth is, even though it hasn’t been easy it’s been pretty great. And we have gotten used to having each other around. The toddler wakes up every morning asking, “Sis? Sis?” until sister finally makes her appearance. I’m not the only one who will miss her when school starts. 

And it’s not just a matter of missing her. I can’t help but be a little nervous. There are some great things about school but there are also things I’m not convinced about. The focus on testing. The limitation on recess. Kids are resilient but school in this day and age isn’t exactly a place designed for wildly curious and energetic children like mine to thrive. 

I don’t want her to think that if she doesn’t succeed at standardized testing then she has failed. I don’t want her to think that because it is hard for her to sit still that life will be hard for her. I don’t want her to think that a report card is a measure of who she is as a person. 

I don’t want to see her spirit crushed. 

It’s a hard adjustment to go from the free spiritedness of summer to the structure of the classroom. Summer feels like childhood and school feels like growing up. As a mama I can’t help but feel the bittersweetness of it all. I can’t help but feel a tiny loss when another carefree summer draws to an end. 

So I’m nervous. I know it will all turn out ok and that she will learn so much and have a blast with her friends. I know she will be amazing and I can’t wait to see her grow a little more this year. 

But for just a moment today, when I pass by the refrigerator, I will flip off the calendar. For reminding me that these precious, lazy, sun-filled days won’t last forever. 

  

WHAT FRESH PREGNANCY HELL IS THIS??

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Did you know that carpal tunnel syndrome is an actual side effect of pregnancy? Apparently about 25% of people get it, says the Internet. Most likely it’s because of how swollen my hands/wrists have been. Sigh.

So now, in addition to being a blimp, being swollen, being sore, being tired, and having heartburn from hell, I wake up every morning with my wrists/hands on fire. 

I love my kids and I appreciate the miracle of pregnancy but

#%$&@:/@?!”@&)!

Third trimester is its own special brand of shit sandwich. 

I’m Not Sure My Heart Can Handle Another Child

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I’ve officially reached the third trimester of what is most likely my last pregnancy ever. Maybe knowing that this baby will be my baby of “lasts” makes me view everything through a bittersweet lens. Maybe because she came as a little bit of a surprise, I didn’t have time to prepare to enter the phase of “lasts”. Maybe it’s just this particular blend of hormone cocktail.

But for whatever reason, I’m not sure my heart can handle it all.

I’m not sure I can handle loving another human when I already love my first two so much.

I love my two daughters more than words can even say. I am in awe of these lives I get to witness.There are so many days where I feel like I’m balancing on the edge of insanity–that I can’t let the full weight of this love in or it would destroy me. It’s the kind of love that fills every corner of my being and threatens to pop my precious balloon of reality. How can that possibly stretch to hold another child?

I’m not sure I can handle the drain on my energy and sanity. 

Let’s be honest: raising two children isn’t exactly an easy job. Heck, raising one child isn’t exactly an easy job. Kids take energy. They slowly sap your sleep and your willpower and your sanity. Don’t get me wrong, they also feed your soul like nothing else on this earth. But parenting is not for the faint of heart. There are a lot of days where I don’t feel like cooking or doing laundry or playing barbies or loading up the crew for a day at the water park. There are a lot of mornings where I wish I could have just one more hour in bed.

But I suck it up anyway. Because these two little humans need me. But THREE? I used to joke that God only gave me two ears, two hands, two feet, and two eyes so why would he give me THREE humans to care for. But here we are. I feel blessed beyond belief. But I’m also terrified. How will I find the energy and the sanity to give all of them the love and attention they deserve?

I’m not sure I can handle the lack of time.

Let’s just say for a moment that I do find the energy and sanity to give them all of the love and attention they deserve. That doesn’t solve the ever-impossible dilemma of time. There are only so many hours in the day. There are dance classes and dentist appointments and laundry and cooking and baths. Not to mention in order to keep up with it all I need to set aside some time for self-care like exercise or writing. Or, heaven forbid, sleep. How on earth can I possibly have time to truly sit down and see each of them–to know them and cherish them and still do all the other basic tasks of keeping them alive and well?

I’m not sure I can handle the risk.

Raising kids isn’t just stressful because of the energy it requires. It also comes with the intense risk of having your heart broken. And I don’t mean heartbreak like losing your first love. I mean the kind of heartbreak that destroys every piece of you to the point where you can’t begin to recognize the pieces to put them back together. It breaks my heart when my oldest falls off her bike and begins to think she can’t ever learn to ride without training wheels. It breaks my heart when my toddler cries when I leave.

But those are small tragedies compared to what is possible. Nothing in this life is guaranteed. Families suffer through the loss of a child. Children suffer through the loss of a parent. It is a risk you take when you let yourself love this way.

I’m not sure I can handle the world they are growing up in.

Something about this pregnancy has made it impossible for me to watch the news. Even social media has become a minefield. It seems that almost every time I am mindlessly scrolling, I find something that makes my heart hurt. And I can’t take it. More than ever before in my life I find myself scrolling a little faster, trying to unsee all the heartbreaking tragedy, so much of which involves children in one way or another. How can I send my babies out into this world that is so full of hurt?

I’m not sure I’ll be able to let them go. 

At the risk of making this post even more depressing than it already is, I’m about to say the most morbid thing yet: when it comes to parenting, the worst case scenario is that we have to let them go, and the best case scenario is that we have to let them go.

It sucks and it’s true. Even if we make it through the adventures of raising children to be independent human beings, in the end, we still have to let them go. After all, that is the whole point. No matter how desperately my heart wants to keep them wrapped safely in my arms and protect them from everything that scares me, I can’t.

But I do know that with all of this fear and uncertainty comes the greatest wonder and deepest love that I never even imagined until I experienced it. It’s a love that makes me scared but it’s a love that also makes me strong.

Because even though this life can be hard and this world can be scary, even though hurt will inevitably be one of their teachers, and even though mom may not always be able to handle it all, at least we will have each other. I can’t protect them from fear and uncertainty, but  I can show them the kind of love that makes it all worth it.

 

 

Saying Yes

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 Today saying yes meant…

  
…fun at Prairie Loft…

 
…time outside…

   
…wagon rides…

 
…popsicles… 

   
…finally being brave enough to get in the kiddie pool on our own…

 
…and Mom finally saying yes to letting us sleep in the fort under our loft bed. 

“It was a lot of work, but it is worth it.” -says the six year old after pregnant mom finished crawling around in the fort to make up the bed. (It also applies to the other “yes’s” of the day, if you ask me.)

Shi_

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Dear BrainQuest Workbook writers,

I’m sure you didn’t intentionally do this just to sabotage parents who can’t help but laugh when their kids unintentionally say curse words, so I feel like I should let you know that when you put “s h i _” and the choices are either “t” or “p”, it doesn’t matter if there if there is a picture of ship or not. My kid is going to sound out all the options. And I will laugh. BECAUSE IM HUMAN. And then she will laugh. 

So thanks for the phonics lesson.
UPDATE:

So if you happen to accidently teach your child the word “shit” during a phonics lesson, and then you happen to laugh at it and then laugh when she laughs and maybe laugh so hard that your mascara starts burning your eyes, and your child is watching you have a hysterical reaction to this word, I would recommend against having him or her complete a free write journal entry immediately after that. Especially if your child is already predisposed to being a goon and is tired enough that she is being a straight up goofball anyway. 

I probably should have seen it coming. 

  
UPDATE #2

For the record, we did have a conversation about how she is old enough to know what some of those words that are “bad” words are because I will trust that she is old enough to know when not to use them. We explained that they are not intelligent words and that she should instead use beautiful words that show the kind of person she is in her heart. 

Also that if I ever hear that she has used those words with friends or in school, etc. that she will get her mouth washed out with soap. 

Ah, parenting.  

Stop Saying No to the Small Stuff

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I’m playing the pregnancy hormone/exhaustion card a lot lately. 

And I’m about to play it again. 

The oldest has been going to camp at the museum every morning this week, so we have been loading up in the car every morning and then killing just over an hour before we have to head back to get her. The toddler is fighting a cold and is confused about the nap/lunch schedule change up so that just adds a little more weight to task of hauling her around all morning. 

Hence, I feel like I’m maxed out a lot of mornings from the task of bucking car seats eight times before lunch alone. (Again with the pregnancy exhaustion card.) So I’m not often in the mood to say “yes” to more. 

And my oldest likes to ask for more. She’s not demanding or anything–she’s just adventurous. She sees an opportunity and she wants to take it. Some things are bigger things–trips to the water park, etc. So a “no” is often necessary. 

But some things are little things. All week long after camp she has wanted to throw coins in the fountain out front or have her picture taken. And all week I haven’t been carrying my phone or purse in and out. So it’s been “no”. 

Today it was sprinkling when we headed to the museum. She wanted to take her umbrella. She brought it in the car, but when we went to get out, I took it and set it on the floor. 

“It’s not raining that hard and we need to hurry. Plus you can’t keep it in camp.” I said dismissively. She didn’t complain. She rarely does. 

Maybe that’s why it struck me when I got back to the car after dropping her off. Why didn’t I just let her take the umbrella? I could have carried it right back out. It wouldn’t have been a big deal at all and it probably would have made her day just to use her umbrella for a little while. 

But I said no. When it would have been just as easy to say yes. 

Sigh. 

Parenting moments like this kind of suck, you guys. I can’t go back and change all the moments when I should have just said yes. It’s really easy to fall into the pattern of saying “no” to the little stuff. But I don’t want that to be our pattern. I don’t want that to be my pattern. 

Because those little yes moments add up to big memories. 

And because, in this situation, I don’t want her to become like me, patterned by “no’s”. I want to be more like her. I want to see the little opportunities in my day for magic. Like umbrellas in the rain. And tossing coins into fountains. 

So when we picked her up from camp I brought her umbrella and a handful of coins. I can’t change the no’s from this morning but I can let them be my reminders to keep looking for opportunities to say yes.