Archive for the ‘ Must Read ’ Category

I Choose Not to Watch the News

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Like many, I am reeling from the tragic news out of Connecticut this weekend. It is hard to comprehend that families are living with the reality of what so many of us consider incomprehensible.

I can’t help but think of the horrifying truth that when those babies were born a few short years ago, their parents welcomed and breathed relief at the robust and healthy cries of their newborn. Now, I am haunted by the idea that as those children left this world, their cries went unheard and were replaced by the heart-wrenching sobs of their newly childless parents. It is a horrible juxtaposition. The tears of a tiny, new, healthy baby turned into the tears of the devastated, disbelieving, crushed parent. It haunts me.

I’ve been trying to sort out my feelings about this tragedy all weekend.

I thought I’d read the latest reports to clarify my thoughts before writing but I cannot. To be honest, since the news broke, I haven’t read much. I’ve kept the television off. I cannot bring myself to hear what happened. Every detail I hear makes my heart ache more.

The news does nothing for me. It makes my heart break. It reminds me that I am a helpless to other people’s choices. It reminds me that there is ugliness, brokenness, and evil in this world. It makes me question my choice to bring another child into this world.  It reminds me that no matter how fierce my desire to protect my children, I don’t have the power to protect or save them.

The thing that really sickens me about the news is that long after the they quit reporting this story, the families suffering, the town grieving, and all the people hurting will continue to do so. The news will do nothing for them then. It is not just today’s story, it is their lives. It is a national tragedy now, but it will be an everyday tragedy for these families.

I have been on my knees in prayer for the families facing the reality of such a permanent heartbreak. And in those moments of prayer, I remembered that I don’t have the power to save. I don’t have the power to heal, but Christ does. I believe it is my job as a parent to teach my daughters, the one I’m hugging tighter each night and the one growing beneath my heart, to lead Christlike lives.

I am keeping the news off because more important than following the story to me is what I can do to help, as little as it may be. I want to use my time teaching my daughter how to be kind and thoughtful. I want to use my time teaching my daughter that people hurt and it is our job to try and lessen that hurt. I want to use my time to teach my daughter to befriend all, to love all, and to have compassion for all.

It is all too palpable this weekend how short this life can be. This life is all we get. I want to spend it not watching the news of the heartbroken, but helping, and teaching my children to help, the heartbroken.

For more on dealing with the tragedy, visit the following on Parents.com:

Image: Broken heart via isak55/Shutterstock.com

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The Pendulum of Pregnancy and Parenthood

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Oh the blogosphere. Some recent feedback about the blog has left me feeling like I want to explain myself further. Most of the time, I don’t take myself too seriously. I keep things on the lighter side. I try to be open and honest without crossing the line too far. But sometimes, I also feel nostalgic, or like waxing poetic, or being downright rosy. I am by no means a completely rose-colored glasses kind of gal, but there are plenty of days when I feel as the wonderful Anne Shirley explains, “it’s delightful when your imaginations come true.” Sometimes life really is good. And sometimes, it’s poopy. I try to keep a good balance of all emotions. Lest you get the wrong impression of me, let me explain my philosophy on pregnancy and well, parenthood in general.

Pregnancy and parenthood are on a pendulum. One side represents the delightful imaginations; the little hugs, the “I love yous,” the soft and surprising first kicks of a baby in your belly. The other side represents the crapper. It’s the horror stories; the 9 months of barfing, the baby vomit directly in your mouth, the poop smeared on the wall, the 100 pounds of rice spilled in every nook and cranny of your floor, the fun outing ruined by incessant whining and tantrums.

On any given day, in any given hour, parents experience a range of emotions. We swing from grateful, to miserable, to happy, to exhausted, to locking ourselves in the bathroom for a moment of sanity. It’s life. There are inevitable ups and downs. Occasionally, the pendulum feels broken, refusing to swing from one side. And honestly, this usually means it’s stuck in the crapper for longer than should be reasonable.

I have those days. One minute I’m writing love letters to my unborn daughter because I can’t tell her in person yet how much I adore her, and the next minute I’m crying because the pregnant body can be so awkward and uncomfortable and I’m just done being pregnant. Sometimes it just isn’t funny to be the pregnant stereotype that pees 37 times a day.

Just because I write love letters to my daughter doesn’t mean I am immune from reality. There are days where if I have to answer the thousandth inquiry of “why?” or listen to one more whiny “I don’t want to!” I might just implode from annoyance. I too feel that moment of sweet freedom and jubilation when I leave my daughter with my husband and have a few glorious hours to myself.

I experience plenty of parenting fails too. My daughter has hit me in the face, pooped her pants inconveniently in public, and spit her dinner out all over me in protest. She’s refused to go to sleep, she’s peed her bed, she’s done all the stuff that makes parenting grueling and often monotonous.

I live daily on both sides of the pendulum and I believe we all do for the most part. We’re all just regular people doing this crazy difficult, unforgiving, yet wonderful thing called parenthood.

The funny thing about parenthood though is how quickly the pendulum can swing. One minute you’re going ape crazy over the messes and chaos and the next, your kid says something totally hilarious that eases the tension. During a smoothie clean up that covered every inch of the wall, my daughter voluntarily said, “I’m sorry I made a mistake mom.” Melt me. Then, she proceeded to tell me, “My bum says it’s time to go pee-pee.” What else can I do but laugh? That’s sort of the idea Harper. No, it doesn’t make the smoothie clean up any faster, but it does remind me of how quickly the pendulum swings.

This is my pregnancy and these are my memories and I try to keep them as real and me as possible. That reality includes some sweetness, some dreaming. I’ve said it before, complaining makes me uncomfortable, but I’m also guilty as charged.

I try to laugh at myself, this pregnancy, and my daughter as much as possible to stay on the delightful imaginations side of the pendulum. For that, I will not apologize. I try hard to choose to enjoy it. I don’t pretend. I don’t think pregnancy or motherhood is easy, but I do think it’s worth it. And mostly, a pretty awesome gig.

I’m trying to chronicle it all and that means you’ll probably see a few more hormonally driven letters, a few more rants, and hopefully, a few more things that will make you laugh.

Update: I found out about the horrifying tragedy in Connecticut after this blog post was published. It makes any complaints on the pendulum of parenthood negligible. My heart breaks for the families who experienced losses today.  I know those parents would give anything to hug their children today. I hugged my daughter tighter today and I am praying fervently for the families suffering because they cannot.

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I Forgot…

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

31 weeks/7 months

I forgot that being THIS pregnant means…

I suffer from a very active pregnant brain. I wish I was making it up that I put liquid dish soap in the dishwasher and lathered my hair with body wash. It sounds straight out of some cheesy sitcom, but alas, it’s my pregnant brain reality. Nothing makes a girl feel like an idiot as trying to bail out 10,000 bubbles from the bottom of her dishwasher. Bubbles are all fun and games until you find them all over your kitchen floor.

I have a bad case of the grumpies. As my husband politely asked me to stop being grumpy the other evening, I felt exposed. What? I mean I knew I was a grumpasaurus, but I thought I was keeping all my grump to myself. Busted. It made me grumpy. Surprise, surprise.

I feel too much. See grumpies above but also, everything is a hot mess of feelings right now. I am a total loony as I swing from laughter, to annoyed, to happy in the space of thirty minutes. I can cry at any given moment. Don’t test me because that juice is da truth. Would the crazy lady now possessing my body please leave post haste?

I am uncomfortable. Somehow I erased the part where it gets downright Olympic sport hard to carry around a tiny human all day. Sure, sure Olympians are all sorts of heroic by setting world record paces for the 100-meter dash, but has anyone asked them to do it while chasing after a lightning fast toddler and a belly full of baby? I rest my case.

I no longer move gracefully. There’s a lot of moaning and groaning as I roll around in bed. That came out wrong. You know what I mean. Basically, I’ve turned into the tennis player who can only serve the ball if they let out a intimidating grunt. I can only move now if accompanied by a serious groan.

I no longer enjoy getting dressed. I channel my inner Santa Claus as I lock and load the belly into its expando waistband each morning. I live the movie Mean Girls every time I tell people, “These sweatpants are all that fits me right now.” My memory now recalls how I wanted to burn the two shirts that still fit by the time I was done being pregnant. I hated the sight of those clothes. If anyone asks, they met their demise gracefully.

I now notice people look at my belly first, my face second. To all the girls who get their boobs checked out first, face second, I feel ya. I’m a person too by dangit. Look me in the eyes.

I am officially subject to people’s commentary. To the man who couldn’t believe I was 7 months pregnant and told me “your womb must go down to my leg,” I could kiss you on your awkwardly spouting compliments mouth. To the 40-year-old man who openly leered at me at the airport and said aloud “I loooove a pregnant belly,” please keep your fetishes to yourself. I know you apologized and said you didn’t mean to say it out loud, but somehow it made it worse, not better. To all the people be gawking when I walk into a room now or using the terminology “huge, big, bigger,” can we please not? Just talk about my giant belly behind my back like respectable folks do. Also, it would really help my grumpies.

Somehow I forgot all of these factoids from my first pregnancy. While the tapes most definitely have not erased from labor, the third trimester is catching me by surprise. I’m remembering now though you sneaky little devil. You’re the trimester where everyday I’m doublin’ and literally, the baby triples in size. I love you third trimester, not because you’re easy, but because you’re over soon.

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Gift Guide: Your Pregnant Friend Who Always Has Crumbs on her Belly and a Little Plumber’s Crack Action Because Her Shirts are Too Short and Her Pants Refuse to Stay Up

Monday, December 10th, 2012

‘Tis the season for gift guides. I solicited a few ideas from my nearest and dearest preggos and received two retaining water thumbs up at the list below. To ensure gift giving success and cause the pregnant in your life to give a jolly heel kick (if she were in any condition to do so) read on.

1. Pants that stay up and don’t show yo booty. I’m not sure who decided maternity pants rely on a thin layer of spandex to contain a watermelon sized gut, but I shake in my boots for the day when my belly shows the spandex who’s boss by ripping clean through it after one indulgent meal. If you find these mythical maternity pants let me know. Everyone in my life would thank you for it.

Don’t even get me started on “the never stays in place” belly band that requires constant tugging and pulling to stop the public from the imminent danger of a full moon.

2. An endless supply of cozy, cute, slip-on shoes. There’s a point when seeing how far you can bend over isn’t a funny party trick anymore, it’s just not plausible. For this purpose alone the slip-on has been invented. Get those swollen feet into some TOMS or better yet, some sex-ay cheetah print house slippers.

3. Accessories (totally separate from shoes people). If you peruse maternity wear, 1% is actual clothing, the rest accessories. Apparently, when you’ve reached Bulgy the Whale stage, all one can do is accessorize the crap out of that bump. A pregnant lady deserves to feel did up by rocking the rhinestones with her food stains.

4. A house cleaner. Whether you take on the noble task yourself or hire out, let the pregnant lounge around the house while someone else conquers the dust bunnies. I’d save this invaluable gift for the third trimester when again, bending over is not an option and your pregnant completely understands the sentiment when Disney’s Gaston belts out, “I’m roughly the size of a barge!”

5. Gift cards for clothes. The maternity wardrobe constantly needs updating due to the ever-changing bod. Sadly, there’s no one-size-fits-all for the food baby stage, the beer belly stage, the basketball under the shirt stage, the slowly shrinking uterus stage, and nursing boobs the size of your face stage. Help your preggo feel beautiful through each stage with gift cards as she still loves clothes, they just may not love her back yet.

6. An intravenous line of food. Maybe it’s a pregnant pipe dream, but sometimes getting off the couch to scrounge for food is just too much. Let the craving of choice flow freely by cutting out the middle man (i.e. movement of any kind).

7. A napper. Put your pregnant to bed. This is the best advice I can give. It thwarts hormones and makes the world seem rosy again. If she’s got kids already, this gift is of supreme importance. Come over and take her littles to the park and refuse to bring them back until she’s slept for at least 2 hours. Kidnapping for the sake of bestowing a pregnant with a nap is a-okay in my book.

8. A massage. I’ve never had one while pregnant but my pregnant people swear by them. As one friend put it, it was worth every handsome penny she paid the sweet soul who worked her zebra-esque stomach and expanding J-Lo booty.

9. Tummy time. The luxury of belly sleep is kissed goodbye during pregnancy. I’d sell many a body part on the black market for one night of some sweet tummy sleep lovin’. The mattress to make this dream come true exists. I think it’s still in the early stages of production, but I believe in science. Maybe next Christmas it will be as popular as that dang Elf on the Shelf.

10. Mechanical claw or grappling hook. This may not seem thoughtful at first but the inability to bend over and pick things up can be a real downer. I frighten small children everywhere with my hog in heat grunts as I attempt not to burst from bending over. Now this idea would be a real winner if the hook could support the weight of my 2 1/2 year-old. It would solve all sorts of predicaments. It would be like gifting world peace.

Image: Plumber’s Crack via Lisa F. Young/Shutterstock.com

Image: Cleaning Supplies via Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com

Image: Prenatal Massage via Leah-Anne Thompson/Shutterstock.com

Image: Mechanical Claw via PHOTO FUN/Shutterstock.com

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A Royal Congratulations

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

My #1 Christmas wish has been granted by Santa: Pregnant with a royal. As a celebrity news enthusiast, I consider this a Christmas miracle. My theory is it makes my baby royal by association, or at least increases her gestational cred (kind of like street cred) by being born in the same year as a royal.

I may have peed my pants with excitement (and in the spirit of pregnant lady solidarity) when I heard news of the royal baby. I figure this brings me one step closer to being Kate’s girl for life. There is nothing so unifying as the crazy miracle of growing a babe.

The happy stories, the horror stories, it brings ladies together. Kate, why can’t we be friends? Let’s share maternity clothes and rub each other’s feet, no? Restraining order, yes.

Really, I give a sincere congratulations to mah girl (I’m taking liberties here) Kate and his handsomeness, Will, on the baby heard round the world, his or her future royal highness.

The royal Palace officially confirmed her pregnancy yesterday, after Kate checked into the hospital for acute morning sickness. Please, it’s not severe morning sickness, it’s royal Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Everything sounds classier through an official Palace statement. And by me adding the word royal.

I knock on wood that it doesn’t happen to her, but when the Palace confirms her royal lack of bladder control and releases her royal dilation, it will all just sound a bit dreamier.

This Christmas, I’ve got visions of royal maternity fashion, royal baby names and royal onesies dancing in my head.

Some may think all the fanfare silly, but I think it grand. While I’m sure there will be plenty of nosiness surrounding the baby, I believe most of it is out of sheer joy. There is something about babies that just makes people ridiculously happy.

Regardless of blood, all babies harbor a bit of royalty in their angelic little innocence and chubbiness. The royal baby, along with all babies, deserve some speculating, dreaming, and congratulating.

I don’t live in a palace but my official homestead report to the couple declares, “My deepest regrets on the royal morning sickness, but my sincerest cheers on this amazing experience. Parenthood is the absolute best.”

Image: Her pregnant foxiness, Princess Catherine, and Prince William, via Featureflash/Shutterstock.com

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