Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dark nights lead to bright mornings.... right??

Even in the worst of places, there has to be hope... otherwise, what's the point?

When I was a small child, I remember waking up to a bad storm... and I ran with my brothers into my dads room and we found sleep in the safety of being close to him.
 - In the morning he would show us that the sun had come up, the rain and the storm had passed and we could make the day good if we would live in the present of today and not let the worries of yesterday or last night linger.

Lately there have been lots of dark clouds around here... we are waiting for the storms to come, because as you grow up, you learn to look for the signs and try to get out of the path, or make yourself comfortable for the night until they pass.

I feel I have been stuck in the sunset... waiting for the night of storms that are starting.
Trying to find ways to prepare the kids for the ones that affect them and shelter them from the ones they don't need to know...
Not sure how long the storms will take, or if we will ever get them all to end and pass, but I am holding to that belief that someday the sun will shine again on our whole family, and someday we will have a bright morning with no more storm clouds.... someday....
 : )

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sleeping habits...

Let me start by saying I know that my daughters are 2 different people, but I still wait for certain things to happen with my baby girl the way they did with my big girl. They are similar in some ways, and different in others, but it amazes me how different they are when it comes to sleeping.

My big girl would only sleep on her own when completely surrounded by
rolled blankets and a sleep positioner to hold her on her side, she would scream and refuse to go back to sleep if she was on her back or belly until she was over a year old, so she slept with me until she was over 2... She was a cat napper, but knew her days and night quickly, so night time she would go back to sleep easily... She was almost 2 yrs old before she slept through the night and she was 3 1/2 before she started taking only one long nap a day if she took one at all.
She now sleeps on her back all flailed out, it makes me laugh when I go to check on her at night.

My baby girl is often put down for a nap, or bedtime on her belly or back or
side, she has to be on her side if she's fussy, but mostly doesn't matter. She's fine to sleep on her own, almost anywhere but her favorite place is on her side snuggled up to daddy's back... she's getting moved to a crib tonight because daddy has been pushed off the bed by her too many times. Overall she's an easier baby when it comes to sleeping. She started taking long naps before she was 3 months old. When she's close to what I need to do it's great, otherwise I spend more time running back and forth to check on her than I do getting anything done.

So I started letting them nap together in my bed after one morning I let my
big girl lay down with her baby sister who was sleeping so I could take a shower... you know the whole "big sister is a built in 5 min baby sitter..." right?
Well, big sister fell asleep, and I walked in to the baby smacking and grabbing at her big sister and smiling whenever the big girl moved  :D
possibly a peek into the future, when they are older??
mornings when baby will wake up early and wake up her sister for morning play time...

and in time show us more similarities... and differences!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Daddy's home and she's still missing him...

Confusing I know... but then, that's life with a preschooler going on pre-teenager. Our daughter is getting very confused by many things in her life right now and I feel constantly at a loss as to how to help her. She's turning 4, becoming a real Big Girl! She is at a very vulnerable place in her life though.

Her father, my ex-husband, recently decided to enter the picture and try to integrate himself into her life. We had to slowly walk her through how special she is to have a Daddy and a Father, not just one like most of her friends. Right now she has one visit with him every other week and I'm not in a hurry to change that. He's been late a few times and she has had a total meltdown being worried that he wouldn't come and she'd never see him again :( Sadly she hasn't developed a trusting relationship with him yet and isn't sure that he will be there the next time he says he will be.

While I was pregnant, we were planning on a homebirth and talked to her often about what could happen to try to prepare her. She was really looking forward to seeing her baby sister come out and even wanted to help wipe off the baby and investigate the placenta. Sadly many things contributed to us not being able to have the birth at home safely and then we had to stay in the hospital for a few days afterward and she still talks about how much she missed us all when we were in the hospital.

We have frequent trouble getting our son on our weekends with him. She misses him terribly when he isn't here and wants him to be involved in many things that happen when he's gone. She doesn't understand why 3, 4 or more weeks pass and "it's been forever since I saw my brother..." The adult issues involved are too much for us to want to explain to her. Things come up and he's busy is about all we can tell her. I mean we explain what it is most of the time: baseball, school, his "extra" family... but she still misses him and wishes she could see him everyday.

So to have Daddy go to work all day is hard on her, but to have him travel and not be home for dinner and to tuck her into bed is horrible! He was gone for a week, home for a day and a half to leave for another day, home for dinner and then took 2 days off to stay home with us.
Her desire to snuggle with him, help him, sit next to him, and just know exactly where he was made it difficult for him to get much done while he was home. So we had family time! We just hung out and had a couple of those relaxing days where you don't do anything. The days where you stay in your pajamas all day and no one cares :)
It was worth it, to catch up on what we feel like we've missed out on in the past couple months with him travelling, uninterrupted time with Daddy!
So today he headed off to "little work" and had to promise her that he would be back for dinner and he would put her to bed again tonight. He left and she had to run outside to wave to him, and walked back in sniffling that he was gone. A few more reassurances that he will be back for dinner and bedtime before breakfast, some more while eating, and even more after breakfast.
She needs to know that her Daddy is coming back, she needs to know that she will see Big Brother soon, she needs to know that I won't leave her again, she needs to know that we can keep Baby Sister, she even needs to know that she will see each member of her extended family again someday.... and then she needs to be reassured, again, that Daddy will be home today.
As I write this, she's snuggling with me and still asking about him... and everyone else... and again Daddy, "is Daddy coming back tonight? I miss him soo much"

So how do I comfort her and reassure her as much as she needs me to? without spending all day snuggling on the couch again? How can I be enough for her to get through the day until Daddy gets home?
What can I do to help her through this time where all she seems to see is the time she misses with those that she loves? How to I help our daughter to stop missing out on life because she misses the people who aren't with her today?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Home is where the heart is...

So we moved about 6 months ago. We found a house and from the moment we saw it, my husband and I wanted to make it our home. We have barely begun to put our personal touches on it.
It was a fixer house, but still fairly new. So we spent a lot of time with our personal plumber :) and painted some walls and changed some flooring. There's a huge list of things we still want to do to make it "our house" but it has our name on it and it holds our things, with room to grow.
Sometimes it still feels like a dream... a wonderful dream, but just doesn't seem real that I have my own house. It's my dream house... just missing a fireplace and a bay window, but if I never get those I have more than I imagined off my list of dreams I wanted in a house.
So I sit here in my house, and wait... enjoying the peaceful night again as the girls are sleeping, only one on me tonight. - It's been a week of the house feeling like something is missing, feeling very... empty. Hubby is on a trip out west for work. Just our 2 little girls and I are home and somehow without him, the house feels almost, too big. Sadly the house only feels full when all of us are here, so most of the time it feels like something is missing since our son doesn't live with us full time. But this week the empty feeling is bigger. I feel like something bigger is missing. My heart. Or part of it... it travels with him when he's gone. Hopefully it keeps him company, but a part of me, a part of our family, a part of our home is missing when he's soo far away.
At night is when I notice it the most. Our house is at the end of the cul-de-sac with nothing behind us. It gets very dark outside and we love to keep the windows clear so we can see the dark night out the back. Tonight it again feels like everything is disappearing into that darkness. Especially my ability to sleep well, or some nights like tonight.. 
Thankfully it won't feel like that for long, Hubby comes home tonight!!
He may have to leave again soon for a short trip, but he's coming home tonight!!
The girls and I will wake up to see him and hug him instead of holding a phone.  The coffee pot will make a full pot instead of a small partial one so the house will fill with the smell of coffee in the morning.
The house will feel safe and warm and back to normal again, and my heart won't feel like I'm missing a part of it :)
The first change I will notice though? Sleep, I will sleep deeply when he gets home. Instead of sleeping lightly so that I hear if anything happens, I will put all my trust and faith in him and sleep comfortably for the first time all week.
Our house is our home... but nights when he's gone, sometimes it just feels like a really big house.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Missing Daddy

I have the most wonderful husband. He works really hard and travels with his job, dealing with missing us and missing out, so that he can support us and I can stay home with the kids. This isn't easy for him, or us, but we deal with it. He loves his job and we all like his company so the travelling, while not ideal, is worth it.

Sadly, sometimes his travel schedule leaves us missing out on time with our son, which is hard for all of us but until we can change that... We accept it, wishing things could be different, but trusting God will give us only what we are ready for and can handle.

From the moment that my husband and my first daughter met, they have been inseperable. So now there are 2 little daddies girls that are very attached to daddy and just aren't themselves when he's gone.
Which brings me to my dilemma today. We are halfway through a weeklong trip and I'm at a loss as to how to ease the pain.
With the baby, she nurses when she's upset about anything. Hungry, tired, hot, cold, you name it and nursing can usually fix it for her. It doesn't fix missing daddy... she pushes away from me and looks around talking, almost "calling" for him, then buries her head in my chest and cries, and repeats this until she is tired or hungry or both and then will let me fix her problems.
What about the big girl? How do I help her? Well this week has been easier and harder because she's been sick. She wants to snuggle and be held all the time. She wants to be told what day it is and how much longer until her daddy comes home. She wants to ask what daddy is doing and is fascinated that it's a different time where he is than it is here. So it's easier that I don't have to be one step ahead of her trying to find new ways to distract her.
Overall, this week is harder than usual. Our baby is "pre-teething" which means that she is sensitive to her teeth growing and moving under her gums, but they aren't ready to break through yet. So she's fussy and clingy. Our big girl doesn't feel well so she's crabby and clingy. Which means I have yet to have more than a bathroom break without atleast one of them wanting me to hold them.
Part of me is actually enjoying the chance to snuggle with both of them and take things super slow this week. The other part of me is upset that I can't find a way to get things done around the house since he isn't here to give me a small break in the evenings.
So I sit here, with one on either side of me, and thank God that I have a husband that wants to come home as much as we want him to. While praying that someday I can learn to balance snuggles and cleaning!
We will still miss him everytime he has to go, but hopefully we will find a way to make it easier on all of us.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mothers Day

A day to celebrate motherhood!
Today I woke up to my baby's smiling face, my husband giving me a small but wonderful present, and my older daughter trying to be good.
It was a great morning, and not a bad day! My husband had to leave for a buisness trip early in the afternoon, so now I have plenty of time for my mind to wander... and so I wonder about mothers today. I wonder about my own. Part of me feels bad that we aren't spending time with her today, but I am happy snuggling with my daughters and just hanging out today.

This is her first year with no kids at home as my two brothers moved in together out of state, the youngest just this past summer.
Isn't that a Mother's job? To help her children get to the point where they don't need her anymore? Years from now my husband will remind me of this when our children don't need us and are doing well on their own, I'm sure.
As I sit here snuggling with the baby, and listening to the sounds from the toy room... I wonder - am I being fair? If today is supposed to be about mom, is it ok to spend it as a mom with my kids, or should I make a way to spend it with my mom as well?
My mom and I have had our share of issues and I don't want to add something else for her to be upset about... but that's no longer a reason for me to change my plans, even if my plans are to have none.

My mom came into our lives when I was 16... married my dad right before I started my senior year in H.S and turned 17. Yes, I have put her through a lot, and she has put me through a lot too. We both had troubled childhoods and don't speak to our biological mothers for the safety and well being of our children, and now we both have changed each other's lives more than I think we expected to over the last 10 years. We have times when we are best friends and times when we can't get along... but isn't that the way it is with all mothers and daughters? I shudder to think that someday I will be on the other side with my own daughters.

My mom and I don't see many things the same way. We have drastically different ways of running a household, and totally different views on parenting. Her experiences are mostly with older children as my brothers were 10 and 15 when she entered our lives. As a "stepmom" I value her opinion when it comes to our 10 yr old son... but unfortunatly more often than not, I feel I have no one to turn to when I want advice for my daughters.
She is a mother solely by choice and love, she chose to marry my dad and become the only mom in the lives of us 3 children. I am a mother by choice and love to our son who still has his own mother as well, by surprise and choice to my first daughter and by desire and God's blessing to our baby girl.

The choices and decisions that we have each made have brought us to totally different points in our lives and sometimes I wonder if she could walk a mile in my shoes, knowing that I would not enjoy walking a mile in hers.
So what does one do when your mother is more of a friend than an authority or a person to look up to?
Do you put your feelings or hers aside when it comes to times when each person wants drastically different things?
I have finally started putting hers aside at times. Part of me wonders if by doing so I am setting myself up for heartbreak in the future with my daughters.
I am trying to have a completly different type of relationship with them than she was able to have with me... and I hope that years down the road, today will be the first of many and not the only Mothers Day that I spend as more of a mother than as a daughter.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Nursing takes time

Nursing is a way of feeding, usually when breastfeeding, but holding baby and bottle and snuggling could be considered nursing too, or I think so :)
My thoughts today are about the time spent and if the older children are jipped of time. Here we breastfeed, because I love my sleep and I'm too lazy to get up in the middle of the night when baby is hungry and go downstairs to make a bottle, come back up and stay awake while baby is eating, then get us both back to sleep. Say what you will, I nurse in my sleep so I feel like I get more, and everyone will agree, a happy mommy that slept is MUCH better than a crabby mommy that didn't sleep!
So my point: When I had my first daughter, I overcame many obstacles to nurse her. It was just me and her. It was rough, but there were no distractions and no one that needed me to take time from nursing her.
This time around it's soo different. My oldest daughter usually wants something as soon as we sit down, so I have learned to walk/stand and nurse. Our son is old enough that I use a cover when he's here just like I when out in public or when other guys are here. (If I had nursed him, I would not cover up as it really is an extra step that feels like too much when baby is screaming hungry.) I pay attention to the big kids more than the baby when I'm nursing as much as I can so that they don't feel like the baby is taking that time from them. I'm slowly learning to have things accessible to do them one-handed and to have snacks and drinks ready at all times for when a marathon nursing session happens. The problem is that I am still trying to stop the feelings of guilt when I can't snuggle with both my little girls. When our son is here, I wonder how much it affects him. I find myself trying to do more and more while nursing so that it's still "productive time spent" especially when he's here, but even when he isn't.

"Breastfeeding takes commitment" I read on the mail last night with a formula coupon... I won't go there today. Commitment..., so now I feel guilty that maybe I don't give this baby as much committed time as I gave my 1st daughter to nurse. Do all moms deal with this? I can't be the only one that feels like the balls of time with the children that I am juggling have to be more and more connected.
I need superglue so I can juggle more balls of time together, but maybe I need to learn to separate the nursing one more often, she won't be a snuggly little baby forever!