When I have kids…

“When I have kids, they will never throw fits in public”.

“When I have kids they won’t be picky eaters”.

“When I have kids they will be off the pacifier before they turn one”

“When I have kids I’m going to breast feed for at least 9 months”.

When I have kids… When I have kids… When I have kids. We have all said it or thought it AT LEAST a few times prior to poppin em out. But when they’re actually standing there in front of you screaming and throwing their body all around in public because you gave them a yellow tortilla chip instead of a blue one, anything you thought about “when you have kids” just flies out the window. Because the truth is, sometimes your kid is going to throw a fit in public for absolutely no obvious reason, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Sometimes your kid is going to refuse to eat the healthy freshly cooked breakfast you set in front of him, but will happily eat the sweet potato cereal puffs that have been sitting in his snack container for a week. Sometimes giving your kid their pacifier when it’s the only thing that will get them to sleep is the best option you’ve got, and sometimes your milk production slows down far before you’d planned it to.

Nothing about parenthood is predictable, but that’s the beauty in it. “When I have this kid, I will love him more than anything in the entire world”… I thought to myself often as I watched my son somersault around in my tummy. But it is impossible to understand or predict how overwhelmingly true that is until your little one is snuggled up next to you in bed saying “mama” as he nestles his head into your neck. Every fit, every tantrum, every ‘hand in the toilet for the third time today’ incident is instantly forgotten with one sweet little smile.

Last week while on vacation in Newport, my husband and I took our son to breakfast. The establishment was full of business folk looking for a little peace and quiet before starting their busy work days. And what a surprise… Our son spent the entire 30 minute meal screaming because he didn’t want the strawberries and potatoes that we got him. We both left in somewhat of a bad mood, only to take him back to the hotel room in which he threw another giant fit because he couldn’t play in the bathroom. Right as I hit my limit, my son started crawling around on the floor uttering the sweetest “meow” sounds I’ve ever heard, pretending to be a kitten. And just like that, I’d forgotten about all of the chaos and all of the times that I had ever been ridiculous enough to think “when I have kids, they will never misbehave in a restaurant”.

The next day, my husband had to tend to business in the area, so I decided to have a day date with my son. I found a Barnes and Nobel near the hotel, got my ice coffee, and took him to the kids section of the store. It all was going great for the five whole minutes leading up to the moment in which my son found a toy that he wanted. I told him “no”, to which he responded “BYE!!!” and took off running towards the elevator with said toy. As I went to chase him, the weight of my purse on the back of the stroller caused it to tip backwards, sending my coffee flying and giving my son just enough time to reach the elevator. I jumped into the elevator and swooped him up just before the doors closed. And yet somehow after all of that, we left the store that day with a stuffed animal in hand, despite the many times in which pre baby me thought “my kids will never get rewarded for bad behavior”. But you know what? After the elevator incident, he cuddled up in my lap for a few sweet moments of book reading…found a stuffed animal he liked… imitated the sound that he thought it made….and then nodded his head yes so very enthusiastically when I asked him if he was going to be a good boy. So yes, I bought my baby that souvenir polar bear stuffed animal (that he thinks is a cat). And what do you know… He was a perfect angel baby for the rest of our day date and that stuffed animal has been his favorite possession ever since.

My point in all of this is that in the parenting world, things don’t always go to plan. Even if you are an over the top organized planning freak like me, shit happens (literally… sometimes your kid is going to poop in their diaper just as you’re walking into dinner). Going against all of the “when I have kids…” that pre parent you ever uttered does not make you a bad parent, it makes you a completely normal parent… A completely normal parent who is learning and evolving…A completely normal parent who is doing your best… A completely normal parent who probably deserves a really long bath, an early bed time, and a pat on the back (or a rub on the back if your significant other is feeling generous).

Cheers,

T.W.C.

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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.