The Heartache of the Fourth Birthday

Liam Turning Four
Liam Turning Four

In three weeks Liam will be four years old. I am not sure why this upcoming birthday has been so difficult for me. But if I talk about it too much or let my mind wander to him being four I tear up. It isn’t that I want him to be a baby again either. I much rather have him be the age he is now. We can play, talk, and interact with each other and have some real bonding moments. However, next year will be his last year in preschool and then he goes off to Kindergarten. That blows my mind. Where did the time go?

When Liam was born everyone said it goes fast and it wasn’t that I denied it, it is just unimaginable to me how four years evaporated away so quickly. My husband and I were just reminiscing this morning about Liam’s third birthday and what we did to celebrate. It seems like that was just a couple of months ago. How did a whole year slip away?

I took the kids for haircuts yesterday and when Liam was finished it took everything in my power not to start blubbering. His golden curly locks lay on the floor and there he was with a little boy haircut.   The transformation unfolded before my eyes and I was blown away.  To me it felt like a huge milestone had been made, but in reality it was just another haircut. An undeniable reminder of how big he has gotten.

On Friday Liam called for me and when I got there he said, “Look mom I wrote my name.” There he had written “Lia”.  I said to him, “That’s great but you are missing one letter.” He said to me, “I know mom, but I did not know how to write an “m”.” My heart soared. My son knew how to spell his name, but at the same time a little piece of me was sad. I was so proud, happy and every other positive word you could think of, but I didn’t even know he knew how to do that. He is learning something new every day. It is so much fun to see him learn and explore these new things, but it is also hard as I know these are the small pieces that are needed for independence.

Of course, I want him to develop learn and become independent, I just was hoping it would happen at a slower rate. I then think maybe no rate would be easy as it always going to be hard to slowly let go. But that is part of the process of growing up. Liam learning new things and mommy learning to let go. It is a beautiful bittersweet process for mother and son to learn together. He will teach me how to slowly let go and I will always be there cheering him on as his grows and learns. However, if he ever falls in the process of trying something new and he needs someone to pick him up, my arms will always be open.

Yesterday I Lost My Patience

Yesterday morning started out like all other mornings.  I awoke to Ava calling for Mama from her crib which promptly woke Liam.  As I shuffled to Ava’s room I could here Liam stirring and knew soon the request for warm milk and brown sugar (oatmeal) would be coming.  Once my husband and I got through the morning rush of getting the kids what they needed and letting the dog out my husband had to run out for an appointment.

The kids and I went downstairs to watch Team Umizoomi and Ava got upset with me about letting Liam pick the first show and hit me.  I gave Ava a warning saying if she hit me again she would have to go into time out.  Ava hit me and I put her in time out.  This isn’t a recurring event still Ava has been put in time out before.  However, this specific incident sent her into a meltdown of epic proportions.

temperYou see Liam and Ava both have had their fair share of temper tantrums, but their ways of dealing with it are so very different.  Liam’s outbursts are not as often and due to his age much easier to reason with him. Even when we was younger, if you took the approach of ignoring the tantrum, he would quickly pull himself together and then explain what was upsetting him.  However, with Ava it is very different.  Sometimes her tantrums seem to come out of nowhere and once she begins there is no quelling it.  No words of comfort, cradling, and attention will soothe her.  In fact, the only way to calm her is to let her escalate herself to such a frantic hysterical state it eventually tires her out and then looks for soothing.  As a mother this is not only very upsetting to observe, but it is also very draining.  These episode can last up to 40 minutes long and I sit helplessly by as she demands for certain things (glass of milk) and then right away refuses it.  Liam sometimes comes in and tries to do his part as well.  He will try to hug Ava or even make her laugh.  There have been a few occasions where this actually has helped, but for the most part Liam usually leaves the room saying that Ava is being too loud.

I have talked to a couple of professionals regarding this and it seems that the general consensus is that this is very typical toddler tantrum behavior.  Even though that is reassuring to know in those moments of helplessness it is very hard to see past it.  This particular tantrum lasted 35 minutes.  When it ended I had Ava in my lap rocking her.  Once she was calm she crawled down and joined her brother in playing.  Most of the time during these tantrums I stay super calm, speaking in a soothing voice while trying to create a calming environment for her (soft music playing, dimmed lights, warm milk).

Unfortunately, yesterday I did not deal with it so well.  I lost my temper and as soon as I did I felt terrible.  In the midst of Ava’s tantrum I noticed that her pull up was leaking and was leaving wet marks on the wooden hallway floor.  I quickly cleaned up and knew I had to change Ava.  This riled her up even more.  Screaming and kicking Ava was not letting me remove the diaper or put a new one on.  Many may think just let her stay in the oversaturated diaper.  However, unless I was going to follow her around with a mop until the tantrum was over she was getting the floors wet.  So there I was with her on her changing table kicking and screaming and I was struggling to get the new pull up on when I just snapped and yelled, “Ava will you just please let me put this diaper on you!”  She paused for a moment stunned and then screamed and kicked even harder.  Now not only had I just lost my patience, but I just made the situation worse.  Shortly after that she began to unwind and I rocked her until my husband got home.

In typical mommy fashion I have replayed this scenario in my head multiple times.  I am constantly trying to think of new ways to calm her faster and now this time I have the added bonus of berating myself for snapping at her.  As I have heard from many people, “this too shall pass”, and although I know that that is true, right now it does not give me much comfort nor help.  I just hope I can come up with Mommy/Ava solution so I can help her through this easier and I will not lose my sanity.

 

My 16 Week Scare

With my pregnancy with Liam and Ava from implantation to the end I had never spotted or bled.  So to say I was alarmed when I woke up last week to find some spotting would be an understatement.  I quickly called my midwife and when no one answered I left a message in a very shaky voice.  While I anxiously awaited a phone call back I began my Google search in hopes to calm my nerves.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that many women have experienced the same thing. However, Google is just an internet resource, so when the midwife called back and said she would like me to come in to err on the safe side, I quickly obliged.

One ultrasound later it was determined that the baby was completely fine, however when the egg implanted it did so near the cervix which is what probably caused the mild bleeding.  The midwife instructed me that I needed to abstain from sex and no heavy lifting.

It has been quite difficult for me a week later.  My two year old daughter does not really understand why mommy can’t pick her up.  It breaks my heart when she lifts her arms up towards me and I have to say no.  She often cries and I feel terrible.  I think in six months when this will be all over, I hope she will still want me then.  I have been taking it easy and have not had any other issues.

The midwife had instructed me that as my uterus grows most likely the placenta will shift upwards.  I have another ultrasound in four weeks and I hope that this will be the case. I have read tons of forums and articles on the internet.  I know that although this does not happen in every pregnancy many women experience this and there is something comforting in knowing that you are not alone.  I am anxiously awaiting January 27th.  If everything looks well of course I should still be cautious but at least I will be able to pick up my Ava when she falls.

 

 

Tis the Reason for the Season

Although I do not get religious often in my blog entries, recently I had unsolicited advice given to me that I have been mulling over in my mind.

10511239_10205550299982838_804355285197842046_nTo say Liam is ecstatic about Christmas this year would be an understatement.  When we went to see Santa he had tears in his eyes and a big smile on his face.  Once he got on Santa’s lap he did not want to get off.  Ava doesn’t quite get it this year, but I am sure next year she will be the same way.  Watching the excitement I have to say has been very enjoyable.

However, a week ago when having a conversation with a woman I know she looked at my surprised when I told her about Liam and Santa.  She then said to me, “I thought you were Christian.  I am surprised you introduced Liam to Santa” I was taken back for a minute and I sputtered out, “Well why wouldn’t I?”

She then went on to explain how Santa and presents takes the focus off the real reason for the season.  I unfortunately was left a little speechless and didn’t say much back.

After a lot of careful thinking I approached her this week with my following thoughts.

Yes I introduced Liam and Ava to Santa, and although I had questioned myself I feel more confident now that I made the right choice.  Obviously part of the appeal of Santa are the presents and toys that he brings on Christmas Eve.  However, there is a much bigger role that Santa plays that we often overlook.  Santa teaches children to believe.  To believe in something intangible that they cannot touch or see.  For the exception of once a year where a child might get to sit on Santa’s lap, they never get to talk, play, or visit him, and yet children still believe.  I think we all overlook the importance of believing in something.  Whether it be Santa, or in Love, or in God, belief has the power to give us hope, faith, and strength so that we can get past hardships that we encounter.  I am in no way insinuating that without Santa people would have a hard time believing in God.   Nonetheless, I think Santa gives children an easier time in making that step to believing in a higher power when at a young age they practice in believing in Santa.  Like so many things in our life, belief comes from learning and practicing.  Whether we realize it or not every year that a child believes in Santa they are taking a leap of faith.  This foundation that is created I know helped me in believing and taking some leaps of faith in my own journey in life.

I understand to many Santa overshadows the true “Reason for the Season” and maybe he does.  Maybe I am guilty of letting that happen, but I can’t help but think that I am also opening my children’s minds and hearts to the possibility of something much larger than themselves, something that is beyond their understanding.  Even for adults there are times when our faith is shaken and our beliefs are questioned. So maybe if Santa does nothing else maybe he can bridge the path to believing in God a little easier.

This Is Your Last Chance Skylar

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I took our kids to a local place to go pumpkin picking and go on a hay ride.  The place was filled with families who had the same idea as we did.  On the grounds they had hay stack mazes, spider web climbs, and a petting zoo. Since Liam and Ava wanted to do different things Will and I decided we would each take a kid and follow them around.

It just so happen, that Ava was attracted to this one little girl who I quickly learned was named Skylar. Within the first few minutes of being in Skylar’s presence I heard her mother say, “If you don’t stop that right now we are leaving.”  “This is your last warning.” And my all time favorite, “If you don’t start behaving there will be no pumpkins for you.”

 Needless to say Skylar and her mother did not leave a minute before Skylar was ready to go, she had many warnings, and Skylar’s mother ended up buying two pumpkins.  Part of me felt really bad for this woman because things had spiraled so out of control I don’t think she knew how to get it back.  The other part of me was annoyed because Ava observes and mimics everyone. Due to this her own listening skills deteriorated.  However, unlike Skylar, Ava served a timeout in the middle of the hay stack maze and everything returned to normal. 

The truth is no parent wants a disobedient child.  Still if you never put your foot down, you never are going to have control. Don’t get me wrong, when I have had to draw the line in the sand for either Liam or Ava and the tears begin to flow there is a huge part of me that wants to crack, and say “Just Kidding.”  Then I have to remind myself if this was how I handled things I would not have the results that I do.  Many times now when Liam and Ava are not listening all I have to say is, “Do you want a timeout,” and they stop because they know I follow through. 

Liam and Ava are disobedient like any other children. However, at the end of the day, they know Mom and Dad say what they do and do what they say.  I think that it is not only an important message to send to our kids for consistency reasons, but in the future they will know  we are authentic.  There is no wondering how Mom and Dad are going to be because we have always been true.

 

My Wishes For My Princess

Ava Snow WhiteIn a little less than week from now my dear Ava, you will be two years old.  In a blink of an eye, you have gone from midnight feedings and colicky cries, to olive eating and belly laughs.  You keep me on my toes and have taught me so much, my precious little girl. Your adventurous and energetic spirit I admire and as you grow older I wish for you not to lose that.   I hope for you, my dear Ava, that you will be a dreamer.  Dreaming gives us all a chance to explore possibilities that we never thought were imaginable. Do not be afraid to take chances and Never let anyone tell you, you can’t do it. You will always be my little princess. But someday when you are old enough to read this it is imperative that you find a person who treats you like a princess too. To love is to live. Happy Birthday Ava. May all your dreams come true.