Kids


Mason is something else, I tell you.  I can’t believe the difference between 2 years and 2 1/2 years.  These last six months have been wild with lots of changes, primarily with the introduction of Owen who was born a short 3 weeeks after Mason’s second birthday. 

I remember the emotions I had when I found out I was pregnant with Owen were mixed ones.  I was thrilled to be having another child for Mason to grow up with, but I was also scared and sad that Mason would have to share me with something else.  From the first time I laid eyes on Mason he has been my sunshine; how in the world was I going to manage to keep up that love and devotion with another baby, and how in the world could I love another child as much as I do Mason?

Over the course of the 9 month pregnancy, I made the most of every minute, fearing he would feel rejected when the new one arrived.  I contemplated not nursing Owen just to be able to have more time with Mason.  For Mason, the transition to big brotherhood wasn’t easy.  I remember when he came to visit me and Owen in the hospital, he didn’t really want to get to close and Josh had to put him on the bed with me.  I was certain this was going to be our reality for the next 18 years.  I felt rejected and conflicted. 

As the first month of Owen’s life sped by, Mason would pull on me for attention or to play right when Owen would need to eat, it would seem.  Half of my postpartum tears were guilt from not giving Mason all the time I once had for him.  However, it slowly started improving.  Owen started to show his personality through his smiles and kicks of excitement.  Mason picked up on that right away.  What seemed like an eternity for me emotionally was a flip-of-the-switch for Mason.

Now Mason and Owen are in love with one another.  No one can make Owen smile like Mason and Mason is extremely protective of his Owen.  I explain the joy I feel from seeing them play together, even though it is limited with Owen only being 5 months old today.  These two boys are perfect!

Mason is still my silly, smart, and adorable boy.  He is spontaneous and surprises me with his wit.  His imagination in full operation and I love playing Thomas the Train with him as we scoot our trains to the imaginary Steamworks under our dining room table.  Every flower he sees, dandelions and all, he goes over to smell them and tells them they are “So beautiful”!  Every puddle must be splashed, every rock is his pirate treasure, and every worm tickles his hands.  He continues to be my sunshine, it just so happens he shines on us all and I don’t mind sharing.

I often find I need to write down so I will not forget them.  Today I want to ensure I capture some of Mason’s sayings and words he doesn’t quite get right. 

The first being Motorcycle or Bicycle, either word will work .  Mason sees them and excitedly screams “moKorcycle” or “biKacycle”.  So friggin’ cute!

Another cropped up when we were getting ready for Mason’s birthday.  Surprisingly it has stuck around from almost 6 months now.  Instead of saying “Happy Birthday!”  Mason exclaims, “Happy Daddy!”  We have no idea how he replaced birthday with Daddy, we are rolling with it right now.

Mason L-O-V-E-S Dr. Seuss.  We most recently pulled out the Lorax, which I had no idea was coming out in movie form until about 2 weeks ago, and yet again the love for Dr. Seuss remains.  When ever he sees anything with the Lorax he hollers, “Momma the T-REX! the T-REX!”  Cute, though the first few times I thought he was getting into his dinosaur phase early. 

Thomas the Train has added another stop on his route in our house.  Some nights before bed our living room looks like a huge earthquake has struck the Island of Sodor.  Poor Sir Topham Hatt.  He is relegated to being just Mr. Top-A-Hatt, Cranky the Crane is Creeky, and I dare not share with you how Percy is pronounced, (replace the E with an U, drop the R, C becomes two S) AHEM!  Scandalous. 

These are some of the best moments being a parent, revelling in your little one’s development.

Last weekend I was watching my favorite Sunday morning political news program and I was listening to a politician talking about his view on working mothers.  This caught my attention because I am interested in how the Washington elite view this diverse group of people, many of whom I can relate.  He professed working mothers minimize the accomplishments of stay-at-home mothers (SAHM) because working mothers believe success is made in the workplace, not in the home. 

At first I was completely offended by his assertion.  Working mother’s know how hard it is to be a mom, working in the home or not,  and celebrate the successes of first teeth, first step, first words, first potty use with the rest of the moms of the world.  At the same time, aren’t SAHM working mothers?  My three month maternity leave was hard work!  This politician’s comment uncovered what I have been struggling with for probably two years now.  Why is some guy on the TV telling me and SAHMs how we feel toward each other?  When I thought about it a little more, he wasn’t on the right track, but he was in the right neighborhood.

I have not read Mommy Wars by Leslie Morgan Steiner, but I believe it would capture much of what I feel, as well as those of my SAHM friends experience.  There is a silent battle between mothers of all types based on the choices they make regarding how they raise their children.  The amount of pressure we put on ourselves, because we buy-in to this silent criticism, can be daunting.  It can start from the first book you pick up and read about your pregnancy.  Have we not been in the conversation that went something like “Well, I really liked this book because it was more conversational and less clinical,” all with the undertone that you should read and love that same book.  Does it really matter when you look back on it?  Absolutely not!  If you are reading a book about your pregnancy, you are taking steps to make sure you are educating yourself on prenatal issues.  Now don’t get me wrong, I know there is a LOT of crazy information out there as well and  you need to be getting information from trusted sources.  My point is does it matter if you reading Dr. Sears book or the Mayo Clinic guide? 

How about breastfeeding ladies?  Welcome to the minefield.  I chose to breastfeed both of my boys.  It is free, I get to bond with my boys, it is nutritionally just what they need, and in the middle of the night I do not have to make bottles.  All understandable reasons right?  My best friend in the world chose to bottlefeed because she wanted the freedom that came with bottle, plus she confided she didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of it.  Would you believe that we are still just as close?  Surprise, we are and love each other regardless.  Dealing with the judgement of the public is not as easy.  With Mason I had back surgery 3 weeks into his life and the pain medicine I was put on lead me to have to feed him formula for that long.  Talk about guilt from websites and books about how breast was best.  The looks from some women out in public who saw me feeding him with a bottle were almost as if I was poisoning my son.  I just wanted to say “Look lady, can’t you see I am in sweat pants, my hair is a mess, oh and this wheelchair is probably not a give away that I am not your typical postpartum mother!”  I would go home and cry out in pain from my back and in shame that I wasn’t giving Mason the best.  After I had surgery I would be nursing Mason out in public, completely covered, and ladies would ask me if I could go to the restroom and do that!  Are you kidding me?  I was so upset when one woman said that to me, I asked her “Do you eat in the bathroom?”  She wasn’t too happy with that response.  If I was bottle feeding I was in the wrong with every wanna-be Earth Mother and when I was bottle feeding I was disturbing  every ninny out there.  It was a difficult place to be in during that part of my life. 

This leads me to the choice of  staying at home or going to work.  With Mason I did not have a typical maternity leave, I was cheated.  Thanks L4 – L5 disc, you bastard!  Either way, I loved every minute with Mason.  He quickly became my sunshine and each moment I fell in love even more.  With Owen, my maternity leave was so smooth, for a few seconds I thought about going back to work early.  Temporary insanity.  I cried when I dropped them off for the first time with our sitter.  She is the best by the way.  It was harder dropping them both off together because I knew we would never have that same kind of time together again.  My SAHM friends knew it was hard for me and I was envious of their time at home with their kids.  I could also see a yearning from some of those friends for a little more adult interaction during the day.  We never brought up our choices and which choice is the right choice because we know it goes both ways. 

I do not base my life’s success on my what I do for work, but I sure as hell want my kids to see me as a success in a world where I made the choice to be a working mother.  I am not going to waste my time in a job that I hate just so I may feel good about my performance outside the home.  I want to show my boys the example of how Momma works hard and is great at what she does all while loving them so deeply.  I truly enjoy my job, but I love my kids.  Are there days when I wish I could take my boys to story time instead of sitting in a meeting about another meeting?  Sure!  Guess what I do?  I’ll take some time off during the day or come home early just to squeeze in those special events together.  I wallow in the joy of my weekends and I do grumble on Sunday evenings when I am getting bottles together, but the feeling of hearing Mason yell “MY MOMMA!” and Owen’s cheeky grin when I pick them up in the afternoons makes it all worth it. 

Whether we read the right book, breastfeed, or work outside the home our kids love us.  The old saying “it takes a village” is not far off.  We as mothers need to give each other a break and really internalize the reality each mother, pregnancy, and child will be different.  Embrace each other with understanding and without competitiveness; there will be plenty of time for that when our kids are trying out for sports, applying for colleges, and getting jobs.  Back to basics, we can learn so much from one another’s successes and failures.

No not that club….

So yesterday I traveled to Germany…and you may remember I am still nursing Mason.  Well that was something to try to figure out.  I had a pretty good feeling that at some point I would be pumping in the bathroom either at the airport or in the plane.  Hit that one on the head.  I wasn’t too disturbed by it because I am not saving any of this milk *GAH*, so he wouldn’t be drinking potty milk, yuck!

While waiting for our flight to Germany, I checked out the bathroom at the airport and there were NO electric sockets, phooey.  I have a battery pack to use but I didn’t want to waste them.  I decided I nursed Mason in the airport back in February, so I should be able to pump.  I had my nursing cover so no one would see what was up underneath .  So I did!  I went to the back of a gate that wasn’t being used and got my pump on.  Of course after I set everything up and was pumping along, a freaking herd of people decided to come over and see all the art on the walls.  I sat there and kept going on.  That was that and I got the job done.

On the flight I was more nervous, what the hell am I going to do?  It was so dark at the time when I need to pump I almost just did it at my seat.  It wasn’t like they could kick me off the plane.  I asked my flight attendant and she said I had to go to the bathroom….so I did!

It wasn’t all that bad, other than having to sit on the toilet for 25 minutes.  I did put the lid down, could you image??  I planned it so I only needed to pump once on the plane.  I am happy about that. 

We arrived safely in Germany and I made it to our quarters and found they had 110 volt plugs in our rooms.  GLORY!!!!  So I pumped twice using the 110 and thought I was free and clear from using my battery pack.  WRONG!  After the second pumping session, the plug won’t work!!!!  Curses!  I don’t know if the pump plug burned out or what, all I know is it won’t work.  Luckily the pump works with the battery pack.  I would be in the hurt locker if I burned out the pump, Mastitis anyone?

Enough with the boob and pump talk, I survived the trip and first night.  If there is a will there is a way!  17 more days!

We have been SO BUSY the last couple of weeks.  With family weddings, graduations and a growing baby boy, the fun never stops.  This is the time I HATE going to work.  Not that I don’t love my job and enjoy the adult interaction, continued learning and paycheck, i MISS my Mason. 

I come home from working 12 hour shifts last week to find him skooting forward and reeaachhhing for the item he desperately wants.  His top two front teeth are soon to make their appearance and I honest hate the thought of it.  I love him right NOW! and I want him to stay like this for just a little while longer. 

At the same time, I feel guilty, or like I am doing something wrong, when I go get him at 5 am so he can nurse and we can cuddle.  I don’t want to “ruin” his sleep routine, I just want a few quiet moments that he and I can share. 

Everyday I leave work and tell the guys I am headed to go see “the best thing that has ever happened to me” and it is so true.  Despite all the fun stuff I miss during the day when he is with Mrs. R, we still find ourselves on the floor every night, playing, laughing, and crawling around the floor just being silly.  I love those moments!

I am leaving to go to Germany for 3 weeks in June, I don’t know how I am going to deal….I just hope work will keep me SO busy that it won’t be that difficult and he won’t have taken his first step without me.   I remember back in the day when this was all just a glimmer in my mind.  I am so glad I took that opportunity to be more involved and singled-out, but even more so, I am SO glad Mason is in my life.  All the schedule juggling, speeding home (hoping to not get a ticket) just to smell that sweet boy’s head is worth all the worry.  I know the busy schedule will come to an end and we will reach another calm in the tempo at work and all will be right in the world. 

For now, I will enjoy those early morning nursing sessions and speedy trips home and forget about “runing’ my baby and just enjoy those moments when we are together!

Mason has reached the age where he is sitting up by himself…most of the time.  I have to say, my favorite time seeing him like this is during bath time.

He has become so inquisitive and interested in the world around him, I see him learning everyday!  I LOVE IT!

His personality is starting to shine as well.  He is playful and sweet.  He cuddles with you and giggles when you play with him!  It just gets better everyday.

I used to think I would NEVER have children of my own.  I was happy with my job, marriage and life – I thought it was complete.  When I found out I was pregnant, a little over a year from this time, I was terrified I would not be able to balance any of my duties of a working woman – providing for her household – with my duties as a Mom.  Well I feel like I have a pretty good handle on all of it so far.  I find myself calm and content, even during those few mornings when I have to get up at 3:30 am to feed Mason’s little bulbous tummy.  Every day, I feel like I get closer to getting there first as a Momma and Wife and now second a working person.  Seeing all of us together shows me how incomplete we were without Mason.  We click and we, with the help of many, have got to that place I wanted to be for so long.  Who knew a little man name Mason could have got us there!

Let’s sum it up… 

Oct 7 – Mason Thomas was born – despite my desire for the wonders of natural childbirth, I didn’t progress at all and he HAD to come out…cesarean it was!  It was the most incredible feeling ever.  Take the emotion of falling in love and multiply that by the largest number you can think of and that sorta comes close to how awesome it was to see him for the first time.  He immediately took to nursing, of which I was thankful.  We established his schedule pretty well and we even went on our first trip to meet the extended family two weeks after he was born.  It was magic!! 

From Mason’s First Week

Then…. 

Nov 1 – KABOOOMMM My back explodes.  A disc ruptured in my L4-L5 and I was COMPLETELY debilitated.  I called my mom around 9pm that evening and said “Mom I can’t walk, I need your help”  My mom had to come down and take care of Mason and me so Josh could go to work…for six weeks!  I literally could not do anything until my back surgery on Nov 19.  I couldn’t nurse for 20 days, that was heartbreaking.  Mason and I were on the floor together for all that time. 

From Mason the Back-Breaker

  

He was really the only thing that kept me going.  I did not have the maternity leave I dreamed of.  I felt robbed.  I cried out of pain, and sometimes screamed but I also cried out of grief because I didn’t have that magic time with my baby.  My mom was the greatest through all of it.  We couldn’t have done it without her.  

From Mason the Back-Breaker

   

To add to it, my image of all the sweet sewing projects that I was going to do for Mason didn’t happen, I didn’t do all the holiday baking I wanted and I certainly didn’t decorate the house for the holidays, much to the chagrin of Kyle. 

From Mason’s 6th and 7th Weeks
From Mason meets Santa

Thank goodness for the Christmas Tree at Mom’s house.  It has been quite a road to recovery, but thanks to the help of family and friends life is getting better everyday.  

From Christmas and New Year 20092010

I have been extremely embarrassed for not updating my blog, and I realized the other day all of these great things are happening to Mason that I have start documenting….like daily…or close to it.   He is nearly 6 months old and I cannot believe how much has changed already.  He certainly is my sweet boy and he sighs the deep sigh and puts his head on my shoulder when I pick him up out of his crib in the mornings.  I love it….like really love it.  I sometimes can’t believe he is MY son.  I have this running list of things he does that I LOVE and mentally write down in my head such as…. 

– While in his bouncy chair he kicks both his legs simultaneously and makes the chair bounce so much, he laughs, we all laugh.  It is great. 

– The mmmm sound he makes when I put a spoonful of peas (that I made) in his mouth.  Then he opens quickly for more Mommy! 

– His coos, razzberries and little gabber talk. 

– The way he calls for us to come keep him company.  It is like a bird call, and it works! 

– His fat legs. 

– How he sucks his bottom lip when he is asleep. 

– His HUGE smile when I make that clicking noise (the one to call horses) he loves so much.  

And on and on and on…My list will get longer I am certain of that.  How else am I going to remember all of these things?  

I am going to put away my guilt and just start again….

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