Three’s a crowd

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As I sit here on a Monday morning cuddled up on the couch drinking coffee and watching my little guy chew on an old DVD case, I couldn’t be happier. My own home, surrounded by my familiar things, with all of the time I could want to focus all of my attention on my little man. I always appreciated this special time I have with him, but not to the extent that i do following last weeks events.

Last week I found myself babysitting Monday through Friday for 10 hours a day in a house that was not my own. The children were two girls ages 2 and 4, and I brought along my one year old. As I played out the week in my head beforehand, I told myself that it shouldn’t be too difficult because the children were all close enough in age that they would all play together happily. Anybody with 3 children is probably getting a good laugh at that one. Now I know.

About 3 minutes after arriving, it became very apparent how…interesting… The week would be. The two little girls were instantly aggravated by my son, who mistook their sippy cup for his own (to his defense, they did look almost identical). Having two annoyed little girls, I can handle. Having two annoyed, shrieking at the highest pitch possible little girls, I cannot handle.

The week went on in the same fashion. My son would do a normal innocent baby thing (such as sit on their beanbag chair), and they would scream and shriek and pretend to cry fat nonexistent alligator tears. As if the behavior wasn’t enough to handle, the unfamiliar home was not baby proofed in any way, shape, or form. Flights of stairs, expensive wine cases at floor level, and tiny craft beads were all the most amazing things my son had ever seen, and each posed a threat of their own. All in one day, my son fell down several stairs (luckily I was nearby to catch him), he broke a wine bottle (which spilled glass and red wine all over the tile hours after their cleaning crew left), and he almost choked on a small bead (he mostly just put it in his mouth and I freaked out more than necessary). The not so baby proofed house wouldn’t have been an issue had I had my undivided attention to dedicate to following my curious baby around, but I was also busy dealing with countertops painted with nail polish and little girls pretending to be hurt in order to acquire an ice pack. Stressful does not even begin to sum it up.

Headed home at the end of what was easily one of the hardest work weeks of my life, I had two thoughts:
1. I’m not sure I would ever be able to have three children of my own. I want a second without a doubt, But I think two babies might be all that this mama can handle! As I grow as a mother in both years and experience, my feelings towards having three could change, but at this moment in time I’m definitely feeling fonder towards the thought of completing our family at baby number two.
2. Mothers of multiple children are little angels sent down from the heavens.

Really though, I don’t know how you guys do it. I wish I could send all of you on week long vacations to the Bahamas because you all are so very deserving of it. You have the patience of saints.

After finally winding down at the end of the week with several oversized glasses of wine, and the stress of the week had finally worn off, I couldn’t help but to think about how lucky I am to normally spend every day in the comfort of my own baby proof home, paying all of my attention to my son, my housework, my husband, and my own well being. I may have done far too much complaining about last weeks circumstances (I’m sure my husband wished I would shut up on multiple occasions), but in a way I am thankful for the experience, because it reminded me of how blessed I am to be in my situation. I do miss getting out of the house and going to an office full of adults where I could have adult conversations and deal with adult situations, but I am so very lucky to be taken care of by a husband who wants nothing more than for me to experience the joys of being a stay at home mom and psychology degree seeking student.

Last week was long and last week was exhausting, but it was also rewarding and thought provoking. So now I will enjoy my day with my son, following him around the house as he makes messes for me to clean and diapers for me to change, and I will perform each of these activities feeling incredibly thankful for the life I have been given.

Cheers,

T.W.C.

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Being Happily Frustrated is a Thing

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Every single night Monday through Friday, I make dinner.. we go for a long walk.. we put my son to bed. Two minutes into hitting the bed, he passes out and remains passed out until the morning. Tonight was different. You see, tonight, we had a friend over. Overcome by the excitement of seeing a face  other than mom and dad’s, my son jumped from couch cushion to couch cushion showing off for our friend. Eventually his bed time arrived, so I prepared him milk and took him to bed as I always do. Seconds after tiptoing away, the screaming began. I knew he was tired. I knew he was ready for bed. I also knew that he was filled with excitement for the small change in routine. I went to his room and decided that tonight I would rock my baby to sleep as I did when he was just a little guy. As I held him in his rocking chair, listening to the sound of his sleepy sighs, I couldn’t help but to smile at the fact that my little boy was simply so happy that he could not bare the thought of sleep. I find myself doing this constantly through out each day.. smiling at something slightly frustrating that my son does. I mean, of course I wanted my son to go to sleep. I had had a long day with him and was tired myself, and wanted him to easily fall asleep just as he would any other night… But his little baby brain was filled with so much happiness at the fact that we had a visitor. Who was I to be upset about that?

Just yesterday, my husband and I watched as my son learned to climb the couch. And I don’t just mean climb on to the couch.. I mean climb up and walk around and climb over and crawl under the couch. He will go from one end of the sectional to the other, running as fast as his little baby legs will carry him, laughing the entire way as my husband and I hold our breaths in frightened anticipation of a fall. Initially, I had told my son no. No couch, no couch, I told him repeatedly for fear of having him fall off. But then I realized that he is a baby and the couch is new and walking is new and the world is new and he just wants to explore it all. And so I let the climbing begin. I obviously monitor him, however, I let him run free for the most part… and free he runs. I have never seen that boy happier than when he pounces around on those cushions. It is scary and it was originally somewhat frustrating… but it is also adorable and for that, it makes me happy.

We have recently found that my son seems to be really working his “problem solving skills” as well. He has had an obsession with the light switch for his closet since he could see what it was. For months I have watched him stand on the floor looking up at it with interest. The other day I was doing dishes in the kitchen, and decided that my son was far too quiet for my comfort levels. I went to his room and discovered that he had climbed on top of his play table and had managed to finally reach the light switch that he had longed for. My initial reaction was to lunge towards him in fear that he would fall off. My following reaction was to be absolutely amazed and proud at his newly found problem solving skills. I eventually took him down, but only after spending a few minutes standing next to him watching the pure joy on his face as he flipped the light on and off.

Then there was the diaper incident. Anything titled the diaper incident just cannot be good. Ever. My son has been struggling with a bad diaper rash recently, and my husband and I have tried our best to change each diaper within minutes of soiling. But sometimes you’re busy being a mom/housewife and you’re cooking dinner while simultaneously doing laundry and you just cannot change your babies diaper at that very second in time. So.. my son took matters into his own hands. He removed his diaper, and the discovery went a little something like…

husband: nooooooo… liam took his diaper off! Pooooooooop. Pooooooop! Hellllppppp!

You can fill in the details from there. We found ourselves so initially frustrated at the fact that he would remove his dirty diaper in the middle of the living room.. then, we realized.. it was really intelligent for him to recognize the problem and figure out what to do about it. I’m by no means saying that I find it appropriate for my son to take his dirty diaper off in the middle of the room, however, I can recognize how smart it was for him to recognize that his dirty diaper was causing his discomfort and that the solution would be to get rid of the dirty diaper. Again, slightly frustrating… but pretty freaking smart.

Since the beginning, we knew that our son would be a testy little one. He does not like boundaries, he laughs at the word no, and he enjoys doing things that he knows he shouldn’t. He has the energy of 5 babies and the charm of a puppy (along with the desire to eat out of a trashcan like a puppy). He is sometimes frustrating and nerve wracking and daring but he is also the most adorable thing I have ever seen and he fills me with so much joy that I find myself with goosebumps at the thought of how happy he makes me.

In my entire life, I would have never paired the words happy and frustrating… These were always two entirely different emotions to me. Then I became a mom. Children will test you. They will push you to your farthest limits. But they will also make you smile bigger than you ever thought possible. They will make you cry with happiness. They will make you live in the moment, and they will open your eyes to how quickly each day passes. You find yourself staring at the perfect little human that you created, and no matter how frustrated they may make you, at the end of the day, they are still your perfect little human.

Cheers,

T.W.C

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A Cali Baby is a Happy Baby

 

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     Our last family trip to California took place last year when our son was just two months old. We were new parents full of impractical and ambitious ideas as to how the vacation would go. Long story short, we spent almost the entire vacation stuck in our hotel room, completely overwhelmed by our cranky colicky newborn. This time around, we could not be more excited to fully experience southern california with our far more alert little man.
     Initially this trip had been planned as a family vacation over six months ago. As the time came closer however, my husband was asked to travel to the same area for business, so we figured we might as well extend the trip. An entire week away from home with a one year old whose favorite activity is testing the word no to the fullest extent. “Patience”, I told myself repeatedly as I mentally prepared for the trip. As I packed a weeks worth of baby diapers, toys, sippy cups, outfits, beach supplies and more, I prepared for every situation that could possibly occur. Back up outfits, backup blankies, backup wine, backup everrryyyything.
      First obstacle to be tackled: car ride. My son has hated his car seat since he was about 4 months old, so it was safe to assume beforehand that the 4 hour car ride would not be his favorite thing. I made sure to have snacks, juice, and toys within reaching distance. Between that and his nap, we made it to the halfway point without a problem. Luckily, we stopped off to visit my grandparents, which gave my son the perfect amount of time outside of the car to “reset” before heading out for another two hours on the road. This was the first time that my son ever met my dad’s parents, and I couldn’t be happier to have been able to share my son with them. We spent the entire visit playing on the same floor that I used to play on, with the same toys that I used to play with as a child. By the time we loaded our family back up into the car, we ALL needed a nap time.
     Finally arriving at our first hotel in Newport Beach, we couldn’t have been happier with our beach front room. The best part was that there was a balcony connected to the room that my son seemed to think was the best thing that ever happened. A major joy of hotel traveling is that there are so few items in hotel rooms that they are pretty much “baby proofed” before you ever get there. So between the baby proof room and the balcony, our son was one happy camper… and we all know that a happy baby makes for  two VERY happy parents. 
     Day number 2 in Newport, we decided to set up shade on the sand and have a relaxing beach morning. Relaxing.. not so much. About 15 minutes into our adventure, my son lashed out at my husbands soda can, cutting his finger on the edge. Blood.. was.. everywhere. As if that wasn’t bad enough, we came with no bandaids and there was no lifeguard on duty. As my husband ran back to the hotel, I sat on the beach trying to hold a cloth to my sons wound as he flailed around, unable to understand what I was trying to do. By the time we got the bandaid on, all of us were exhausted from the entire event and we decided to head back to the hotel and find a more baby friendly activity for the day. 
     The trip continued on, and we quickly discovered my sons newest development: screaming. Boy oh boy does that kid have a voice. I wouldn’t mind if the screams were taking place in private… I could handle private screams. But of course, his favorite place to scream is in the middle of restaurants exactly two minutes after our food arrives. He stuffs his face with as much food as he wants, then the second he’s done, he begins screaming and throwing his body around. There was not one.. not two.. not three.. but FOUR times on this trip that I had to leave the restaurant early with my son while my husband grabbed our tab and to go boxes. It was a little chaotic, but by the end of the trip I can proudly declare that we were masters at handling “the scream”.
     Our trip was full of visits with family members and friends that I haven’t had a chance to see in far too long, food that was so amazing that I was in shock when I hadn’t gained 10 pounds, and beach front hotels that made a girl feel spoiled. Driving around by myself with my son in LA while my husband was working was stressful and challenging, and by the end of the trip, I felt as though I should have won a trophy for conquering the California roads. The trip certainly had it’s ups and downs, but bumps are to be expected when traveling with a curious one year old. All things considered, it was a beautiful trip with my favorite two humans. And I mean… crawling into our own bed at the end of it was pretty great too.
     We have been going to SoCal annually since before our son was born, and I hope to make it a tradition that lives on… Three years down, many more to go.
Cheers,
T.W.C.