Saturday, April 25, 2015

The 8

This time next week, my oldest child will be making her First Holy Communion. The day after that, she'll turn eight years old. I'll have an eight year old. I'm still trying to let that sink in.

There's something about that first kid, isn't there? I look at her and I see the event that changed my life in the most miraculous and mundane ways. Having a baby is far from a rarity; most people do it. But within this most commonplace of things is the bringing forth of a new human person; unique and unrepeatable.

This firstborn showed me my imperfections and selfishness. She gave me so many opportunities to begin learning how to joyfully serve others. This one little person caused me to learn American Sign Language and moved us to a new city which we now love.

Gianna is up to my shoulders now, she's thoughtful and talkative and a night owl. She's always worried about missing out on something.

She is having some trouble seeing at night. She is excited to get her service dog, "February!!" She tells anyone who asks. She is so patient with her siblings; generally tolerant of reading them stories over and over. How can it be that this tiny baby is now so big? How can it be that she has overcome so many challenges? How can it be that she will have many more?

How can it be, that she is mine? There are times she makes me lose my patience, times when she exhausts me, times when I cannot sleep for worrying. But there are still so many times that I look at her and am amazed. There are so many thoughts and dreams in the head of an eight year old. It seems that, year after year, Gianna is being slowly revealed to me. I am beginning to see the complexities of her person. How incredible that this person who grew within me is so different; so her own. I love learning more about her every year.

She's the one who made me a mother and who has brought me tears and laughter. She's the one who has challenged my faith and strengthened it. She's the one who has brought me through adventures I never even knew to dream of. Here's to being eight!
8 months old
perilously close to 8 years old

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Improve Your Self-Esteem Today

 I'm trying to divest myself from comparisons to other mothers and what they do or don't do unless it's to assuage my own guilt or inspire me to try something different.

So I offer this little itty bit post to all the moms out there, momming away and trying to do it right. I'm about to make you feel so much better about yourself.

Would you like to know when I last bathed my children? Of course you do. You're feeling bad because you skipped their daily-mandated bath last night. Get this: I can't remember. I am fairly certain I supervised Gianna while she showered within the last two weeks, I'm fairly certain that during a snow day within the same time period the younger two took a little bath/swim in the tub and got passably clean. Additionally, I have a hard to time finding combs and brushes with which to brush their hair, so rarely does this occur.

I like to use articles like this one to justify the long stretches my kids will go without a bath but in reality, I'm just lazy and they seem to be okay, so....I let it go. In some bizarre twist of fate (maybe even more bizarre than marrying a man who had a DIFFERENT MUTATION OF THE SAME MUTATED GENE AS ME) I married a man who hates giving children baths. This is unfortunate because I hate it, too. All the pregnancy books suggested bath time as dad time, because I would have the job of nursing the baby and dads bond by bathing their progeny. Lies. Anyways. I'm relying on the honesty of my friends to tell me if my kids begin to smell and I need to up my efforts in this area.

Bathing them is a lot of work. I am slowly teaching Gianna how to shower on her own but my efforts are complicated by neuroticism on my part (vestibular impairment+standing up in slippery bath tub=dangerous) and inability to hear instructions on her part when her devices are off. Of the other two, Dominic shuns the shower and Pia is very splashy and there's water everywhere and I'm sweating and it's awful.

So there. If you're laboring under the assumption that you were a bad mom for bathing your kids less than once a day, you've been liberated. You are excellent at keeping your children clean.

You're feeling good now but I'm about to step it up. I begin by saying that I cloth diapered my three kids and that sounds a bit pretentious but just wait. Oh, just wait.

By the time Pia was 20 months old I was so done with the diapers that all my kids had worn. So. done. Most of them smelled and no amount of stripping and sunning and soap nuts and whatever else was changing the fact that when they were wet, they smelled. At that point, we were out at therapy appointments multiple times a week and I no longer wanted every load of diaper laundry to be a science experiment. I switched to disposables (what up Target brand?) and then, a couple months later, began potty training with Pia because I very much dislike changing toddler diapers.

Anyways, the point is not that I dropped the cloth diapers like a bad habit, but that I left them in the diaper pail. I intended to wash them and put them away one last time but somehow I didn't get around to it. Guess what?

They're still there. In the pail. For a year. Actually, a bit more at this point. My car keys got lost a couple weeks ago (not pointing fingers but it WASN'T ME) and while I was ransacking my bedroom during the search I thought, "It's crazy but I'll just peek in the diaper pail, just in case somehow the keys fell in there." I really thought that I'd left a handful of unwashed diapers in there for a year, but actually the pail is full to the top. Not that the amount of dirty diapers left makes it any less insane but in my mind, a smaller amount would be less offensive. It doesn't even smell in there anymore, it's been so long.

Don't you feel better about that load of pee pee laundry you left in front of your washer last week? It's not so bad! You could be like me, and leave it there for a year or more. You're doing just fine at this mom thing. Juuuuust fine.