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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

 

Dear Esther,

 

You turn the big 04 on the 27th! This birthday is hard for me. Why? Where do I start? Because my own permanent memories began at four years old and I’m assuming yours will too. I can vividly remember walking down the block I grew up on holding my mother’s hand. We walked to the bus stop every Saturday morning to ride it downtown Minneapolis – 912 Nicollet Mall. That was where the beauty salon she owned stood. I would spend all day at the shop listening to the ladies chat and watch my mom transform women from the inside out. A lot of my most favorite times happened at that beauty shop…as well as my education about life, love and hardships. Also, I remember my patent leather church shoes…my most prized possession. Grandpa Dewey would pretend to shine them every Sunday before church. I’d hop up on his bed and hang my legs down from the edge and let him make them look shiny and new again before rushing off to Sunday School. I could go on and on. My point is, is that I’m very worried. I feel like NOW you too will have LASTING memories of me and your father. Not that the previous years haven’t counted, but I feel like now I’ve really got to dig in and make it count. I want you to someday tell your children (if you decide to go that route) all about how your daddy used to wrestle with you and your sister on the living room floor. Or how mommy took you to dance class on Saturday mornings and then the two of you would sneak off to Target afterwards for treats. Don’t forget about how daddy falls asleep in your bed snuggling or mommy paints your nails just how you like them- black or dark red with sparkles on top.

 

As your mom I question if I’m doing it right on a daily basis. I’m guessing I’m not alone in this. I’m sure most mothers feel this way- if they’re being honest with themselves. I wonder whether I was a little too harsh with you, or if I wasn’t stern enough. Am I making sure I’m giving you the tools to go out into the world with confidence, self esteem and a little bit of kick ass- ness?. Did I make you sad today? Did I say the right thing or the wrong thing? Were those berries I just fed you covered in pesticides? Are you getting enough calcium….see the questions are endless. This year counts- just as the previous ones did too- but again- for some reason there has been a shift inside me. I want you to have good memories.

 

I’m old enough now to be a realist and my pessimist meter has always leaned a bit towards the half empty side. I wish it didn’t, but most days it does. I know that when it comes to parenting, I will fail…probably more than I’d like to. I will struggle, I will fall down. I expect to. It means I care and it means I AM TRYING with everything I’ve got. And truly- really…if I am honest with myself…isn’t that at the core of what really matters? If you remember nothing else…remember that I tried every.single.day to be the best mom to you, because that’s what you deserve. On days when I wanted to pull the covers over my head and ignore the day, the knowledge that you needed me got me outta my head and off my ass to get up and participate in life. You help me realize that my actions, matter. Not only that, you motivate and encourage me to continuously learn and grow because if I am to teach you “all of the things” then I better learn “all of the things.”

 

I’m not sure where to take this post from here. This was supposed to be about you- but a lot of it has been about me. I guess too, 4 is when I finally realized that my own mother was a person too. She wasn’t just my mom. She had a name and friends and likes and dislikes. She was perfect and imperfect and sometimes got impatient with me. I saw her fail and cry and sometimes she got scared. It’s a little startling for a child when you first start to notice these things. I image you have already noticed some of these things in me too. Even so, your love for me never waivers. Sometimes you tell me you don’t like me anymore when I make you go to bed, but I know it’s just the anger talking . I want you to  know/notice that I am not perfect and I hope that gives you permission to not be perfect either and to know that IT IS OK. Fall, fail, stumble, cry, yell, be scared. It means you’re living and not just existing. But, also- smile, scream with joy, leap, jump, be passionate, cheer, ask questions…all of the questions. Be limitless. It is your right.

 

Esther, you are perfect in my eyes . You could never do anything- seriously- anything that would change my adoration and love for you. It’s by design. Before bed a few weeks ago I asked you how you were going to change the world and you responded, “I’m going to give hugs when people are sad. I’m going to share happiness and love.” How can a response be any more perfect than that? Especially in the world in which we are existing in today.

 

Here’s to making lasting memories that will build upon a foundation that was stated 4 years ago when we first saw each other that Friday morning in that hospital room the day of your birth. You looked at me with those big brown eyes knowingly. I melted. We fell in love. That is one of my most favorite memories of all. The moment I became a mother- you did that. We’ve got so much more to do. I’m so excited.

 

Happy 4th birthday little monkey! You are my happy thought.

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Before I became a Mom, I slept all night. The type of sleep I’d imagine bears experience while hibernating all winter long. I could place my head on a pillow and leave all my worries on the nightstand to (maybe) be dealt with the next day.

 

Before I became a Mom, I had an expendable income. I could spend it on whatever I wanted and didn’t need- shoes, Happy Hours, concerts and pedicures.

 

Before I became a Mom, I had weekends. The days you could sleep in, see movies, meet up with friend on a whim.

 

Now that I’m a Mom, I don’t sleep all night. I enjoy the kind of nights when my baby is restless and needs me.  We sometimes snuggle while having sleepovers on the floor in her room, her little body pressed up against mine- my face in her curls. It’s not the “dead to the world” kind of sleep, it’s the “envelope yourself in this moment” blissful sleep.

 

Now that I’m a Mom, most of our money goes to daycare. I don’t always get to buy a new wardrobe every season, but I get to go shopping with my girl and pick out clothes for her and hold them up and hear her say, “ooohhh priddy”.  It’s my favorite song.

 

Now that I’m a Mom, my weekends are days I get to be with my little family. Cherished time away from the grind to slow down and drink it in. I don’t sleep in because there’s fun to be had eating imaginary things my daughter hands to me or reading her favorite book for the 2,047th time.

 

Now that I’m a Mom I have a broken heart. The one I had was not big enough to hold the love I have for my child. It is raw with the realization that I’m forever exposed to the unknown and knowledge that I won’t always be able to protect her from the falls, the skinned knees, the sting of rejection and the bruises failure leaves behind. I won’t be able to shield her from the sorrows from loss and missed opportunities or the pain of her own broken heart if she becomes a mother someday.

 

Before I was a Mom I wondered about God- or whatever you conceive God to be.

Now that I’m a Mom, I’m sure of it, “…a gift so great is only one God could create.”

 

Thank you, Esther, for choosing me. I am proud to be your momma.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms.Image

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Dear Esther,

It has been an amazing year. I cannot adequately describe to you how honored I feel to be your momma. You bring joy to my soul every day.  It’s a treat to see your smiling face in the morning and it feels like a stolen moment when rocking you to sleep at night. Each time I do I try to savor every minute as I know one day you’ll be too busy, or squirmy to let me even attempt to.

This past year has not always been  rainbows and sunshine. There were the days when you were crabby, or I was tired. There have been days where we both struggled through teething episodes and moments of frustration(s). There have been times when I longed for my single life. A time when I could take random naps and 2 hour baths while reading my favorite magazines. There were moments when I considered trading in my left pinky to just be able to use the bathroom without your little hands banging on the door or hearing your little knees hit the hardwood floors racing me to our bedroom as I attempted to sneak away for just a few minutes alone. I have had a rough time figuring out how to balance being your momma and carving out time for me; the part of me that is just me.  Then, the other night I was looking at one of the many (ok, let’s be honest, probably thousands of) photos of you I keep on my phone and I had what auntie Oprah refers to as an “ahh haa” moment.  I am no longer just me. I am forever linked to you. I am defined by being your mother and wife to your father. We are a family. Our fates are sealed. And you know what; I wouldn’t wish to have it any other way. You and your dad have added color to my life. You give my life a purpose and a meaning. You found me when I was broken and needed a reason to jump into life full force.

I hope that you always will know how much we love you, adore you, and cherish you. You are our Zen, our happy place. I’m so grateful you chose us and I hope we won’t ever let you down (I’m positive there will be time when we will). I’m sure we’ll make tons of mistakes along the way- just forgive us ok? We really will always have your best interest at heart. Also, when mommy and daddy embarrass you for X reason just know that it’s payback for the time you pooped on mommy, or the time when you coughed directly into daddy’s mouth and he got sick for 3 days. Tit for tat. This is how families work. But know no matter what, we ALWAYS have your back.

Esther Irene this year has been magical. I hope that the many years to come will continue to bless us and teach us new lessons. You have taken us to school my girl! On the day you were born, we- a mommy and a daddy- were also born. We have enjoyed getting to know those 3 people this year.

Image

Esther day 1, mins old.

Happy first birthday bear cub! Here’s to a millionbajillion more together.

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“I am 4 months old! I know! I’ve discovered my hands. I can’t get enough of them. I like to look at them, touch them together and put them all up in my mouth..YUM! I love my morning time with daddy, and my snuggle time with mommy at bedtime. I love to laugh and smile and sing songs. Oh, and I love to give speeches to my toys. I hang out at daycare all day with my friends. I like that too.”

 
 
 
Esther’s 4 month appointment went well.  She is 60% percentile for weight, 50% for head circumference and 40% for height. What does all of that mean? Pretty much that she’s perfect and the smartest baby in the world, which we knew already, right?? (;  She took the shots again like a champ. Just screamed for a little, then daddy picked her up- mommy fed her and she was fine for the rest of the evening.
 
Another exciting development this month is that  Lady E can roll from her back to her belly now. I was so excited for her to learn that.  The first time she did it she looked around and was so proud of herself. It was very cute. Then I proceeded to watch her face plant and move her head back to back on the ground as if she were stuck. You see my (the) problem here, right? So I rushed to flip her over again and scared the crap out of her! That made both of us! I wanted so  badly for her to learn how to roll over and then immediately wished she couldn’t ever do that again (especially at night, which is, of course, exactly what she did later on that night). Thus begun “the great rolling over no sleep torture”. Three nights in a row I got no sleep because I’d keep staring at her to make sure she was still on her back and or side. Then I’d watch her roll over and get stuck. I’d flip her on to her back and she’d immediately roll over again. She’s a determined one. When I brought it up to the doctor he understood ( as last time my intense worry was “the choking). He said that the most important was that I was sleeping. A child needs rested and alert parents, so if that meant she’d have to sleep in her car seat for me to feel secure, then by all means she could. I tried that for 1/2  the night on Wednesday and just felt so sorry for her. She looked comfortable enough, but I know I wouldn’t  be so comfy sleeping sitting up. I took her out of the car seat and put her into the pack n play next to our bed after her 3 am feeding. Then she began to roll again and I almost threw myself to the floor and rolled around causing a temper tantrum of my own. SOMETHING had to be done. So, I took my struggle(s) to Facebook. Oh the beauty of social networking! Another Momma came up with a GREAT  idea! I altered her “invention” a little to work for us and it worked!! Esther can’t roll and momma can sleep!!
 
So here was the other momma’s solution to our problem:

Photo credit to Carla Peraza
 
Here is mine. I used a soft scarf to tie it all the way around the mattress (since she isn’t in a crib yet).
 
Also new this month was Esther’s first car trip. She went to visit her grandparents who live a little over 3 hours southwest of the Twin Cities. She did “ok”. We have to make sure to target her nap time and she’s fine to nap 1/2 the way. She slept a long stretch of time. Then we’d stop to stretch and to feed and change her, then back into the car for the second part of the drive. That was the more difficult stretch because she was awake then, rested and wanted to play but instead was strapped in. She didn’t cry the entire time, but she made it clear that she had had it! We were proud of her though for being such a good little trooper and it was great bonding time for her and the grandparents.We are looking forward to a summer of fun. She loves bath time so we will have to take her swimming so she can splash until she’s worn out!Thanks again for reading!

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Our baby girl is 4 months old and I cannot believe it. It has been such a treat to watch her little personality develop. She has preferences, different moods and it quite the talker. I will post photos sometime this week after her 4 month photo shoot with mom.

She has her 4 month check up tomorrow as well as round 2 of shots. I hope it goes as smoothly as the last ones did. She cried only for a bit last time and then enjoyed a bottle before going home and sleeping most of the evening.

Her new “thing” is rolling from her back to her belly. This is great, HOWEVER, she doesn’t know how to roll back or keep her head up. She can lift her head up, but then she gets tired. Also, instead of turning her head to the side, she face plants and tries to lick the ground. You see our issue here, right? This has led to many sleepless night because I fear she’ll roll over (which she insists on doing) and get stuck and not be able to “save herself”. So it leads to me hearing any kind of stirring from her crib, and then I have to use the light of my cell phone to shine it on her to make sure she’s in a safe sleeping position *sigh*. So, we’ve been upping our tummy time sessions with her in hopes she learns to roll the other way soon- or at least learn to turn her head to the side. Oh the joys! What will I do when she’s 16 and out past curfew. Knowing me I’ll probably alert the police and organize a search crew. Oh the joys of motherhood. What do chill moms do? Drink lots of wine? I need a chill pill!

Esther continues to love daycare and has made some friends there. I feel like on the weekends she happy to be home with mommy and daddy, but sometimes it seems she’d like more playing with little people. It’s hard during the week because I want to be there to witness her making friends. I’ve seen some of this when picking her up in the afternoons. There is a little boy there around 3 years old that has taken her under his wing! He likes to play with her, show her toys and talk to her. It warms my heart to see her look over and smile at him.

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll check back in tomorrow (or the next day) to let you know how her 4 month appt. went.

Thanks for peeking in on us!

The Andrews Fam

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I’m at the end of my first week back at work. It has been so great to catch up with co-workers and to rejoin the workforce downtown. That being said, I miss my girl like crazy during the day. I’m lucky/glad that she has enjoyed daycare. She comes home exhausted from playing, but is still her happy, smiley self. It gives me peace of mind to know she’s having fun all day. It still doesn’t make me miss her any less.

I guess I didn’t expect to feel so strongly pulled in both directions. On one hand, I feel compelled to be with her more. I feel like I’m missing HUGE chunks of her day. These babies change so fast and I want to experience each part/ stage with her. I know I get to see her in the evening and on weekends, but that somehow still feels less than ideal. Then, on the other hand, I do enjoy working and feeling like I’m using my brain for other things besides deciding if I should do a load of laundry before or after washing the bottles.

I guess what I’m trying to convey is that this is so hard and I don’t know if there is an easy answer right now.  Maybe working part-time some day? I don’t know if that’s the solution either. All I (we) can do is take it one day at a time. I’m thinking extra hard about this today because Esther went to daycare not feeling the best today. She’s experiencing her first cold. Again, she  seems fine and it’s probably been harder on me than it is for her. She’s congested and very “snotty” but still smiling through it. What a trooper! If this is any indication of how she’s gonna handle sickness than I am so not worried. She’s been a champ. I ❤ her so.

Maybe I can just hire her as my assistant and she can hang out in my office all day!!?? No? Child labor laws? Shoot.

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I filled out our registration paperwork for the hospital. I just wanted it checked off the list. Some things I let go until the last possible second, but other things I need to get done ASAP or else they haunt me until I make them go away. I wanted to get those forms filled out so they would be all set to go when it came time to   hurry off to the hospital to become a family of 3 (4 if you count Sparky).  On one of the forms it asks the race of Jim and I. For me I listed “Black” and for him I listed “White”.  I HATE forms like this! What does it matter? I’m not Pollyanna-ish and I know that in this country, unfortunately,  race still matters.  On this form I wondered what they will list for our daughter. Does any one know? Will they list her as “Other”, “Bi-Racial” or “Mixed Race”. I don’t even know nowadays what’s PC. What I do know is that “Mulatto” is out. It’s offensive to call a human Mulatto. My wish is that we will get to a point where we won’t have to label ourselves when it comes to race. I have always believed that race was cultural and not biological. 99.9% of our DNA across racial lines is the same. We are more alike, biologically, than we are different.

Look at these children. Do you know what they all have in common?

                                     

Besides being cutie patooties, all of these kids come families where one parent is black and the other, white. Reality is that our daughter could look more like Jim or have a complexion more like mine or a special blend of both. We really don’t care. We just want her to be healthy and happy. My hope is that while she’s growing up, others won’t care either. I hope that one day we won’t be able to look at people and put them into a box (of stereotypes). We will look around and we won’t visually be able to distinguish what race we all are. I can’t wait for that. We will be forced to judge people just as Martin wanted us to; by the content of character and not color of skin.

My hope is that we are able to raise our daughter to be proud of her individual achievements and less about things she had no hand in controlling. I’m not saying that we won’t teach her about her heritage. I very much want her to know about her ancestors and family history. I think it’s special for each person to know this information if it’s available  to them. I want her to have confidence and pride in herself and know that if she works hard she can achieve anything she wants to. For me (us) that’s what’s MOST important.

Some day when someone looks at my (our) daughter and asks, “what are you?” I hope she smiles and replies, “awesome” and walks away.

That would make me a very proud momma!

Our next doctor’s appointment is Tuesday. I’ll be back to check in then. Also, we’re quickly approaching our first goal of 30 weeks!! I’m so so so so so happy to make it to that point! 4 weeks ago I was unsure if we’d make it here. I’m so happy we’re pretty much there already and I’m almost sure I can make it to 32. If not, oh well. I’m trying each day to let go of expectations and timelines. I need to let go and know that she’ll come whenever she does and we will deal with it them. I can no longer worry and stress about all of this and try to cook a baby at the same time. I’m taking it one day at a time.

Thanks for checking in!

Until next time.

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