Wednesday, February 22, 2012

worst feeling in the world

Kevin and I are in a small group comprised of several friends from church.  We meet once a month and are currently studying the book, The Five Love Languages.   Saturday evening it was our turn to host the group in our home.  We have dinner first, and then go over a few chapters.

Well, as any woman knows, entertaining in your home means going on a cleaning blitz.  Because Kevin is a good man, and he knew I was doing all of the shopping and cooking for what we were contributing to dinner, he helped me clean Saturday afternoon.  At one point, he was vacuuming and I was cleaning the upstairs bathroom.  The girls had been in and out of the house all afternoon, playing in the back yard because it was a nice day.  The vacuum shut off, and I hear Taylor singing in her room.  Something inside of me told me Bailey wasn't with her, because currently the bane of Bailey's existence is listening to her sister sing.

I go to Tate's room and ask, "where's Bailey?"  Taylor said she didn't know.  I start calling for Bailey, to no answer.  Kevin starts calling.  Our cries for her become more loud and desperate once we realize she's not outside either.  Throughout the house we're screaming for her, yelling to come out RIGHT NOW.  I was so scared she had gone outside, even though she knows she's not allowed out by herself.  My mind immediately jumped to the whole "it only takes a second" and my heart felt like a million pounds in my chest.

Within a few minutes, we did find her - in the downstairs bathroom.  I had forgotten that I asked her to clean it!!  The fan in that tiny room is so loud that if the door is shut, you can't hear a thing.  It startled her so much when I threw the door open and squeezed her to me, and I was so thankful she was safe.

I know I sound like a nutjob, and I know I felt like one.  But that is one of my worst fears, if not my worst - that something evil will befall my daughters.  I don't know how I would live if something like that happened, someone evil taking my girl.

Thank you God, that You protect us each day.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday morning

As I write this, Taylor is coloring, Bailey is watching a movie and I am sipping coffee while I play on my laptop.  Kevin left already for church, he works in the nursery for the first service.  I used to do it, and he would pinch hit for me if I couldn't wake early, for instance.  He's so much better at waking earlier than I am.  Anyway, he bonded to a few of the kids after they bonded to him, and he now does it every Sunday.  I think it makes him feel so good to have those little ones scream, "Mr Kevin!" and run to him.  I love that feeling too, but not enough to wake earlier than I have to.

We go to church every single Sunday unless we're away.  We've been regular attenders for 6 years.  Before that, as a young married couple, we did go, but not every Sunday.  Then we had Bailey, and I was scared to death of taking her around anything as germ-filled as a church, so we didn't really go except for special occasions for like a year at least.  Then I got pregnant, and the thought of ever getting ready for ANYTHING unless I HAD to was out of the picture, I felt so ill the whole pregnancy.  Then Tate came, and please, that's self-explanatory.  But then after a few months, I knew we NEEDED some church!!

So we started "church shopping" which was terrible.  Every Sunday we'd try another one, and Bailey, who was 2 and had separation anxiety, would go nuts.  I would hate Sunday mornings, and I worried Bailey would hate church!  But then we found HOPE, in March of 2006, and we never left.  Bailey didn't cry, she had so much fun she never missed us!  And everyone was so loving, and friendly.  We liked how down-to-earth the pastor was, and the fact that he has a special needs son endeared me to him more, to tell you the truth.  In fact, HOPE has a "buddy" program for families with special needs kids that buddy up someone from the church with their child, so the parent can enjoy the service.  Anyway, we love it there.  There is so much going on that anyone could find an activity that they want to plug into - from mens basketball to womens yoga to MOPS to Bible studies - and the kids have a great program and lots of activities too.  I sound like a commercial but I really love this church!

Anyway, our Sunday mornings are always about heading to HOPE.  Once in awhile I feel like I would just like to stay home, but then I know how much my girls would miss Sunday school, and I go...and I'm always glad I did.

I think in this world of negative influences, negative people and tons of problems, it's nice to go to a place that's about building you up, and strengthening you, strengthening families.  If you're in South Jersey, give us a try - wear your jeans and you can have coffee during the service, we're casual!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

last word

Waiting outside this morning, Taylor was doing some kind of large bird impersonation.  "MakKAW, MakKAW!!"  is what it sounded like.  Normally she is a cat, so this was a huge change of pace.  If we were the only ones waiting for the bus, I'd just ask her to makKAW a little softer in case anyone was still sleeping.  But the little brat boy across the street and 2 other kids that are usually in before-care were outside and looking at her weird.

Taken on her first day of kindergarten this past September.  

Now, Tate doesn't give a flying rip if you look at her weird.  I'm kind of used to it, but it does make my heart go a little soft towards her.  Anyway, I said, "Taylor, use your words instead" and she makKAWed at me.  To which I said, "Taylor, listen and obey.  I said use words instead of animal noises.  Are you going to have fun in computers today?"  (She loves when they work with computers, which they do on Thursdays.  But girlfriend was on to my try-to-divert-attention trick and continued to makKAW.

The two dads waiting with the other kids (who were all quiet by the way, and standing there calmly waiting for the bus) were watching, and I felt their eyes.  One of the dads is really nice, and I remember when his daughter was younger they really had to work with her on her behavior, and I didn't feel the judgement.  The other dad, whose only child is "a genius" who is stifled by our public school system because he's too smart for, I don't know if he was judging or not.  He's nice enough, but we just don't click.  He doesn't really "get" my girls, and I don't really "get" his former-Montessori, karate kid who gets his way on everything.  Regardless, I felt what every mom in a situation like this feels...

When you are in public, and your kid is disobeying, you try to get him/her to stop and they DON'T, then you issue some kind of warning "If you continue to do x, when we get home you will lose your tv privilege" or something like that.  What ensues will be one of three options - kid starts screaming bloody hell, bringing even MORE unwanted attention, kid actually obeys or kid continues unwanted activity and you are either whispering more threats, trying to shoot daggers with your eyes that say, "Are you serious kid?  Do you realize that as soon as we get in the car I am going to lose it?" or trying to move the kid to another area (away from others eyes) asap.

I knelt down to Taylor as she continued to makKAW (which by the way, where on EARTH did this come from?!) and said, "Tate, I'm serious, that's enough.  Talk normally, and don't do this at school.  Do you understand?  I don't want you to have to get a time-out the second you get home from school!"

"FINE!!!!!  Ugh!!  Stop talking to me, your breath smells!"

And I really wanted her to talk?!

The bus came rolling down the street and I happily kissed them Taylor climbed the steps, she turned and did one last loud MAKKAW!!

Whatever, she's her teacher's problem now, for the next 7 hours.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

sick mommy

The last few days I haven't felt 100% myself.  I can always tell when something's not right when I don't drink my beloved cup of joe in the morning.  When I'm sick, just the thought of it makes my stomach churn.

Last night, I really hit a wall.  Thankfully, Kevin and I had celebrated Valentine's the evening before, because the only thing we had really planned together - watching Parenthood, our fave show - I fell asleep 10 minutes in.  I usually don't go to sleep until midnight-ish.  I woke in the middle of the night, stomach sick for a few hours.   Today I felt so flu-ish, and I slept on and off the entire day.

Several times, I wondered how I made it through all of the times I was home with 2 little ones to care for, while feeling like a bus ran me over.  Kevin is in sales, so time is money, and I only remember one day in the past 8 years that he took off a day from work to help me bc I was sick.  I remember that day, because it was the one time ever he packed the girls their snacks for pre-k and he switched their bags by accident and Tate STILL remembers it.  I'm not kidding.  Thankfully, a few other times my mom came over to help me - and she'd usually catch whatever I was sick with, which of course I usually caught from the kids.  You can wash your hands until they bleed, but when you have sick kids coughing and sneezing in your face or vomiting as you try to catch it in your will probably catch it.  Anyway, I loved having my mom take care of me...she would rub my back and sing me lullies, make me soup, even try to have the girls stay away from me and be quiet around my room (to which the girls would cry more, but she tried!)

So today, I remembered those days and I was so grateful that Kevin could help the girls get ready, do B's treatment and put them on the bus this morning (I hobbled out to pack their bookbags - the man can only take so much).  I took a hot bath and stayed in bed until 30 minutes before they got home.  They are out of the home for 7 hours - a length of time that some days makes me feel sad...but today I felt nothing but thankful.  I was supposed to work today but I was covered there too, so I could truly rest today, not worry that I was letting anyone down.

There's pluses and minuses I think, to my kids getting older.  Today was one big fat plus.

Friday, February 10, 2012

It's Friday Night...

Is there anything better than Friday night?

Ok, lots of things are better.  But right now, this feels pretty good.  Kids are playing Wii and have gone 6 minutes without fighting - yes, I looked at the clock.  Pulled pork in crockpot, Kevin will help me tuck in the girls and we are watching a movie later.   The rest of the weekend also appears to be promising.

There is something inside of me that says, 'enjoy it now, someday you will look back and realize these were the best days of your life..." and I hate that little voice.  I hate it because I don't want to feel that way, and I know that fear is there because I am petrified that one of my loved ones will die, or leave me, or this time with young children fills me, and when they grow I will be empty.  I want to always be grateful for what I have, but I don't like that little voice.

I am so grateful.  Grateful that my husband surprised me with flowers today, even when I told him not to.  He just really wanted me to have some, and show me he loves me.  I am grateful that my kids ran off the bus as fast as their little legs would carry them to me for hugs and kisses.  I am grateful for another day together as a family.

None of us know what the future holds...and whether it's because my dad died unexpectedly when I was 19, or because my child has a potentially fatal disease, I do fight fear sometimes.  I know that the divorce rate in this country is over 50% and it's 75% when you have special needs kids.

But those facts are not my truth, not today, and I pray not ever.  Thank you God for another day, and I pray for many, many more.

Thanking God for this Friday night!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Preschool graduation.  She was in this class for 2 years, with the same teacher and aides.  I still miss them.

This cuter-than-words kid in the tutu skirt and star sunglasses wants to be stronger than me.  Sometimes she is.  Taylor goes through pockets of time where her sole goal in life is to be the boss of this house, and we face off repeatedly.

We are currently in a pocket.

She will argue about everything.  She will fight me on everything.  She will scream things at me from behind her door, and cry buckets of tears.  She takes forever to calm down, and many times she can't even remember what started the episode, all she knows is she is hysterical, Mommy is to blame, and she wants Daddy.

These episodes drain me, and yet I am so proud of my endurance.  When she was a toddler, I was strictly in survival mode and my sole goal in life was to make Taylor happy.  Because most of the time she wasn't - now we know it's because of her sensory disorder and we had to learn how to meet her needs - and an unhappy Taylor would bring the house down.  It was so depleting to wake up to her crying first thing in the morning, which lasted sometimes for hours, and I didn't truly ever rest, even at bedtime, because I was waiting for her to wake and cry.  I would try to relax, and yet in the back of my mind would be, any minute she may wake, and the cycle will start again of trying with all I have to calm her, and feeling like the worst mother in the world.

Sometimes I wondered what was worse - feeling like I couldn't help her, or the feeling of being such a bad mom.

Anyway, that time in my life is over.  Our home has such joy in it.  Taylor can rip around and have fits, but they are a part of our life, not the soundtrack of it.  And I can stand up to my little girl, and remember that I am the mother, and she needs limits and boundaries.  As much as she may fight me on it, I make the rules, and I know what's good for her.

And God knew what was good for me, by giving me Taylor.  He knew I needed to learn some lessons, and He knew my life would be blessed beyond measure with the gift of her.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

one week

One week from today is Valentine's Day.  What are your plans?

I looked up "pictures of Valentine's Day" and found this, and I love it.  
I wonder how many men are going to get themselves in trouble next week.  
Kevin and I have no plans.  We haven't had V-day plans for years.  Probably 8 yrs to be exact, since that's how long we've been parents.  Kids are a total kill-joy as far as celebrating Valentine's Day is concerned.  

That sounds negative.  But true.

So ok, we're not going out to dinner...dinner out V-day stinks anyway, too expensive and a long wait.  No flowers (again, too expensive), no chocolate (the kids will come home with a bunch of junk from their class valentine exchange and just like Halloween, we take some of their loot), no wine (Kev doesn't drink anything, and it's no fun wine-ing by myself).  

But we'll have a nice evening all the same.  I'm making Kevin one of his favorite dinners, beef stroganoff, and I'm going to give him a well-deserved backrub.  I'm hoping he will clean the kitchen and maybe throw in a load of laundry for me.  Ok not just throw it in, that's the easy part, but to actually then fold and put away.  He knows by now that's the kind of thing that does it for me.  Also, since Valentine's Day is actually Bailey's favorite holiday (and if you know her at all, you are not surprised) I'm going to try to think of something fun to do with the girls too.

So all you parents, especially to those with very young children, if you're not doing anything "special" for V-day, take heart.  Someday, we will be able to do whatever we want for V-day, or any day.  Let's try to do those little things we know our spouse likes, so that when that day comes around and we can do whatever we want, we still have our special sweetheart to do it with.  Everybody needs to know they are loved, and not just on Valentines.  

Spread the love!  (and you can take that in more than one way if you like :)  It is Valentine's Day after all!)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

locker room lava

Once a week the girls go swimming at our local gym.  My girls LOVE to swim, and we are counting down the weeks (ok, until we can go to the pool all the time.  I should say pools plural - we hit up our community pool, my in-laws community pool, my mom's pool and any friend that is brave enough to have us.  Not to mention the beach.  Ahhh, the beach...

Anyway, pool time is usually uneventful, besides the occasional scraped toe or something.  But today, today there was an event.

Today during swim time, I took note of an older woman - 70/80ish I guess, who was there swimming with her husband.  She didn't smile at my girls, which is always a red flag to me that says, "I will not be impressed or think it is cute, if your children come into my laplane or splash anywhere near me.  I am here for business."  I understand that not everyone is a kid-person - I don't get it, but I understand.  We had no run-ins in the pool, and I was so content that it was a successful hour of swim.

The girls showered, and Bailey of course was done in half the time as Tate, and was drying her hair.  I was helping Taylor get dressed, when out walks the lady from the pool.  She had just showered and was only in a towel.  She was a bigger lady, but fat rolls and drooping bubbies isn't anything that Taylor hasn't already seen.  All the same, I was looking her deeply in the eyes while trying to shove her feet into her too-small boots, saying telepathically, "Taylor Elise, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT."  Taylor knows this look, and was looking back at me, telepathically saying, "Mom, you piss me off.  Get off my back."

I get this look often, as she is too scared to say it out loud.  She should be scared.

Anyway, over the years, I have had many-a-discussion with T. about how we can just think things, and not say them.  I tell her if she has a question about how someone looks, smells, sounds....ask Mommy in private.  She has really grown over the years, and really does understand this I think, and she tries to not hurt people's feelings.  Of course, she is still Taylor who not only has an opinion about EVERYTHING under the sun and has to TELL you her opinion, but has a sensory disorder and some things just tick different with her.

Let's get back to Taylor and I eye-communicating.  It was going well, she was remaining mute, even though I could tell out of the corner of my eye that the lady was now dropping trou, and Taylor, who had a full view, was about to get an eyeful.  I was nervous that any second Taylor would erupt, but we were almost done and I was trying to wisk her off to the hairdryers.  I could not anticipate what was about to happen.

The lady, bless-her-heart-even-though-she-didn't-smile-at-my-girls, WET-FARTED.  A big one.  And then said nothing.  Maybe she didn't feel or hear it?

Well, Taylor certainly did, and her eyes grew about 4 inches in diameter, and I knew I was done.  My eyes were blinking fast, telepathically saying, "Taylor, please for the love of God, just don't say anything...." and I was telling her to hurry up, we needed to get Daddy pretzels, wasn't she hungry?

She ignored my eye-blinking and my fast talk about pretzels and said -

"Mommy, did you do that big beanie?  Was that from your heiney?"

Friday, February 3, 2012

I'm not that mom.

Yesterday a friend called me, asking if I wanted her leftover Valentine materials to decoupage mailboxes for my girls for V-day.

Hold it.  Let me first say, said friend has a nursing 4 month old girl, and 2 boys, ages 7 and 6.  This friend had just created the mailboxes for her children, and was calmly, sweetly asking me if I wanted her leftover materials.  There was no panic in her voice, no fatigue, no indication that she was 10 seconds away from losing it.  Which is exactly how I would sound if I had a nursing 4 month old and just attempted a decoupage product with my 2 older, active boys.  She probably even had dinner on the stove already, and it was a healthy, well-rounded meal that her family would eat and appreciate.

I said, "hon, do you know me?  I don't decoupage."

(calm, sweet sounding laughter from friend) "Brynn, it's only glue and water!  Don't you do Valentine's crafts with the girls?  I thought of you right away, they would love it!"

"Of course they'd love it, they love anything that involves cutting things and glue.  Don't tell them about it, I'm serious, I don't want them to know about decoupaging."

(calm, sweet sounding laughter from friend)  "You're silly.  It's so simple.  You sure you don't want it?"

"Yes, give it to Sue, she loves this kind of stuff."

"Yeah, but she probably has lots of other projects planned, and all of her materials already."

"You're probably right.  But don't tell my kids about decoupaging."

I learned years ago that crafts are not my thing.  I wish they were, bc crafts are certainly my girls thing.  But every time I actually get all the stuff to make a "craft" (which means, anything that will make a huge mess that Mommy somehow ends up cleaning up bc by the end of the craft, all she wants is some peace and quiet so she offers to clean up just so the kids will leave the room), about 5 minutes in I start to perspire.  My left eye starts to twitch, and I try to speed along the coloring, cutting, glittering, glueing, painting, and arranging.  I try to squash about 8 million fights of, "I wanted that color pink!!  No I don't want this pink, it's not pink enough, I want THAT pink!!  I SAID PLEASE!  I said it already!!  Don't touch my craft!!  Don't look at my craft, it was a surprise and now it's ruined!  UGH!  Look what you made me do, now I spilled the whole economy-sized jar of glitter!!!"

They don't actually say stuff like "economy-sized jar."  I threw that in there to paint a picture.

Speaking of paint, that I will do.  I'm not the worst-mom-EVAH, just not the best.

Anyway, I am really fine with the fact that I'm not a craft mom.  I used to beat myself up a lot about all the ways I fell short as a mother.  Not a sports mom, not a make-my-kid-eat-all-healthy-organic mom, not a calm mom, not a cool mom and certainly not a well-dressed mom.

Well, a little bit of a sports mom.  The kind that cheers really loud for her adorable, toothless
 girl who isn't old enough yet to be embarrassed by her mom.  How CUTE is this kid?!

I love my girls with a fierce passion, and that's exactly the kind of mom I want to be.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

elephant ears

I am way too emotional.  Just how I am, and it appears it's how I will always be.  My girls were not spared this trait, and they have inherited my tendency to be dramatic.

I remember the first time I realized my emotions were perhaps extreme compared to other people.  I was watching Dumbo with my family, including my maternal grandmother, who only visited us a few times. I don't know how old I was, but I was young.  I was balling my eyes out - heaving - at the part where Dumbo's mommy is imprisoned (so unfair!!!  cruel!!!) and is rocking her precious baby in her large elephant ears, the song 'Baby Mine' is playing.  My grandmother was shocked at my reaction, and it is still a joke my mom tells to this day.  That lullaby became kind of "our song" between my mom and I - in fact, we considered dancing to it together at my wedding (dad was already gone when I got married, so mom and I danced instead) but I knew I'd break down - balling, heaving style - if we did.  So we picked the lame "I Hope You Dance" song.

This lullaby is also Taylor's favorite, and I sing it to her every night.  Once in awhile, it still chokes me up - but I get brought back to reality real quick when Tatie says, "Mommy, I don't like your voice shaking like that.  Sound nice.  Ok, start over, this didn't work."  Girlfriend has strict tuck-in guidelines, although the routine has gotten so much more enjoyable.  I used to have to sing her several lullies, but now only 1 or 2, with extra back scratching time at the end.  Bailey loves this song too, but she is smart and has realized that "Down to the River to Pray" has more verses, so she likes that one :)

I digress.  My point today is, this small home has three extremely emotional girls in it, and two haven't even experience PMS yet.  Kevin needs to either build himself a shed to hide in, buy a bigger house, or "be away on business" at least one week out of every month.  God help us all.