Monday, September 24, 2012

The Joys of Having a Boy

I remember hearing the sonogram technician tell me that I was having a girl. My husband sat next to me and smiled as we found out the sex of our first baby. I started crying. I had really wanted a boy. The poor tech started looking at me like I was crazy and I'm pretty sure my hubby was thinking the same thing. He asked me what was wrong and all I could get out between my sobs was, "She's going to grow up and hate me!" I don't hate my own Mom. Not in the least bit. But we've had words. And maybe that's what I was thinking at that moment... add the delightful pregnancy hormones to the mix and you've got my reaction.

I was pretty sure when we got pregnant for the second time that it was a boy. And low and behold, he was.

When we got pregnant with our third baby, I begged God for another boy. I wanted a playmate for my son and I wanted my first, my oldest daughter, to be my little princess for ever and ever. And I wanted her to have two boys to beat up all the other guys that will come calling one day. But I see now that God giving us another little girl was nothing short of mercy. There's no way I could handle more than one boy.

Nothing has prepared me for having a little boy. I didn't understand boys when I was little and it seems that I understand them even less as an adult.

My pregnancy with my son was pretty uncomfortable. I had pretty intense lower back pain... pretty close to my butt... and that should have been a warning. Then, right after birth, he got very sick. Not long after that, he developed a delightful rash that got infected. Then he couldn't (wouldn't we now know) eat solids. And he puked at every opportunity. I don't mean normal baby spit up. I'm talking full on barf up the entire bottle he'd just drank.

He is special to me specifically because of all that we went through together when he was sick. When you almost loose a child and they make a full recovery, knowing that you walked through the darkness together and made it to the other side creates a bond. One that he hasn't fully recognized yet.

He's our "problem child". I don't mean to be unkind in calling him that but if you knew how EASY of a baby and kid our first child has been you'd understand. And I just don't know what to do with him.

This kid could win a medal for most outrageous temper tantrums. His specialty: public places. We recently went to the county fair and he got so mad that the ride the kids were on was over that he screamed so much he couldn't eat and then when we put him in the stroller because we knew getting him to walk was out of the question, he thrashed and screamed so much that I thought he was going to physically hurt himself. He has climbed up to the top of the McDonald's play place and refused to come down for HOURS. This happened when our youngest was still a baby and I had to plead with him until a kind old lady offered to watch the baby for me while I climbed up into the play place to get him. He was pretty surprised to see my angry face come around the corner. He has stuck cares up into the tail pipes of my car. He has ripped the child safety gates off the wall. He has pushed his sisters down the stairs. He has hit my Dad while we were out to dinner. He has pulled hand fulls of hair out of his older sister's head. He gets angry at the baby when she doesn't want to play with him and more and will pull on her and push her.

He's high maintenance. He's actually really picky about what shoes he wears. He refuses to eat almost anything except lollipops. He won't go to the bathroom with out taking all of his clothes off except his shirt. He's at a height where if he pees, he's too short to get it all into the toilet and if he stands on the stool, he overshoots. The baseboards in our bathroom are constantly yellow. Recently, he's refused to flush the toilet when he poops because "Poop scares the bugs away, Mom." I don't know WHERE he got that one! He insisted the other night that my name was "Alice the Great". If your kids watch Little Bill, you know who I'm talking about. He doesn't play well with other kids and if you touch one of his cars, you better be skilled in martial arts or you're a goner.
He's all boy. He's into cars. He's not afraid to pick up bugs and lizards and frogs. He even likes going to the "boy store" with his Dad (Autozone). He likes it when we drive fast and hates sitting at stop lights. He can't sit still to save his life and gets angry if myself or one of his sisters enters the room while he and Daddy are having a boys night. He only wants the blue plate for his meals.

On the flip side, he can be a total sweet heart. I wasn't feeling well the other day and when I told him this, he stroked my leg and said, "It's ok, Mom. I'll take good care of you." He will tell me that I'm his best friend. Pretty sure he's said that about Sponge Bob too but still... it's nice to hear every once in a while. He'll thank me for making him pancakes. Or try to share his half eaten gumball with me. And he's honest. He doesn't lie to me if he did something wrong and I ask if he was the one that did it. I don't know what to do with him most of the time. Often, I end up crying after he goes to bed or begging my husband to deal with him as soon as he gets home or loosing it all together and flipping out. I'll be checking out a book that several women have suggested to me recently about "the strong willed child".

I don't feel prepared to be the parent of a little boy. At all. Most of the time, I'm at a total loss for how to deal with him or understand him. Something tells me that it wont get any easier either, even when he leaves the "terrible two" stage (he'll be three in two weeks and there's no end in sight). This Wannabe Supermom has met her match. And this battle is a toughie. At least he's cute, right? ;) My bundle of joy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Passing The Test

When my first child was about 2 months old, I knew I wanted another baby. Immediately. I think it took a little longer for the desire to kick in for my husband but still, we were pregnant with baby #2 by the time our daughter was 7 months old.

A week after our son was born, he had to return to the hospital and stayed in the ICU for around 10 days. Then, he ended up getting eczema (on his face) which got so bad that he developed a staph infection. The whole ordeal lasted until he was about 7 months old. After that, we realized that he couldn't swallow solids (which turned out to be psychological for him... a strange thing that's baffled my mind since we learned of it). When he finally settled into a normal life pattern, baby fever kicked back in and we got pregnant again shortly after he turned one.

Our baby turned one this past June. And I've been waiting for the insatiable baby fever to start back up, wondering when I will again be consumed with the desire to be pregnant and hold a brand new baby that I will love with an intensity bordering madness before it's even conceived. I mean, I'm no Octomom but anyone who's ever caught "the fever" knows what I'm talking about. There is something inside a woman that desperately yearns to have a baby. Not all women. But a lot of us. I've been waiting for this yearning to creep up and rock my world again.

I would like it to be noted though, that after our son, it was my husband that caught the fever. I knew I wanted another one but HE's the one that wanted one RIGHT AWAY. Yeah, blame him ;)

The first time I knew I was pregnant with our first daughter was during a movie. We were newly weds and one night had sat down to watch Knocked Up. During the movie, somewhere around the time that a discussion was going on about what the options were regarding keeping the baby, I started sobbing. Like, uncontrollable sobbing that continued throughout the entire movie. I couldn't understand why some one would even consider NOT keeping a precious little life that many of us would give our pinkie toes to have. After the movie was over, I went into the bathroom and cried some more. I mean, cried. Full on waterworks, hiccup inducing, salty, big 'ol alligator tears. And then I ran dry. When I did, I looked up into the mirror and was like, "Um... what the heck is wrong with me?!?" I laugh about it now, because I was so confused at that very moment. I'm a crier for sure. But not like that and I couldn't understand why I was SO devastated by such a stupid movie. Then it hit me. The next day, I went out and bought some pregnancy tests and sure enough, the waterworks were due to my out of control pregnancy hormones.

Last night, we watched What to Expect When You're Expecting. And I passed the test. For the record, so did my husband. Remembering the aching desire I used to get when watching movies about pregnant women and babies, I was worried that the fever would catch while we were watching it last night. Don't get me wrong, I will take as many babies as God gives me. But I'm not jumping in line. He's gonna hafta drag me kicking and screaming. During the movie, I found myself connecting most to the mom who had the uncomfortable awkward pregnancy... you know, the one with the heat flashes and the waddling, the cankles, uncontrollable bladder problems among other gross side effects of pregnancy. And it hit me... I enjoyed being pregnant but remembering all the pain and frustration that came with it... I'm just fine without ever having to go down that road again. The only time I cried during the movie was when the young girl had a miscarriage because I could relate to her pain, having been there myself. And that was it. I would look over at my husband from time to time, trying to read his face and thankfully, whether he was bored or just exhausted, there were no signs of the fever.

We both love our children fiercely. We would die for them. We sacrifice and will continue to do so for their sakes. We have poured our blood, sweat and tears into them for four years now and will for the rest of our lives. But that does not mean we feel the need to add another to the mix. Every one has their own threshold. I know some women with 6 kids. I know a woman who has 12... last I knew. She may have had more since then. I know plenty of women who only have one. And it's all they can handle. My threshold is three. I've lost my mind because of them but have just enough left to know that I don't need more. Now, if God sees fit to give us another one, so be it. But (thankfully), neither of us are going to try or plan for one. Our little family is a great size for us, the perfect size. And although lately I have been kicking myself for having them all so close in age, I know that a time will come when I'm thanking God that I did.

This Wannabe Supermom has passed yet another test, crossed over another hurdle, become immune to the fever... the baby fever...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Through My Mother's Eye

One of my earliest memories is of me as a very small child. I don't know if my sister was even born yet but I'm guessing she either was brand new or about to arrive. The memory is of my mom walking into my play room, taking one look around the chaos that I'd created and telling me sternly to clean up. Upon hearing her words and surveying the mess, I looked up at the window, wishing I could fly out of it to escape the task before me. I've considered this memory many times, thinking about how that my initial reaction was "flight" and not "fight". I've analyzed if this was the beginning to my "escape my problems" issue or my depression problems. But until tonight, I'd never really looked at it from my poor Mom's point of view.

For me, there are two parts of parenting that are harder than anything else, two parts that I mull over constantly. The first is seeing my children in pain. I think that part of why this is such a huge issue for me is because a) who in their right mind enjoys seeing their kids hurt? and b) I've almost lost a child before and it was by far, the most painful, frustrating experience of my life and not being able to comfort my baby who was, by many means, dying inside, was torture... for both of us. The other part of parenting that I find most difficult, that I deal with more and more each day as my kids get older, is disciplining them. Today for example, I snapped. Totally lost it to the point that my phone sobbing induced my husband to sneak out of work a bit earlier.

I can not express how tired I am of cleaning up my kids' toys. I spend so much time cleaning up their toys that I'm unable to get to many of my other household chores.I recognize that this is mostly my fault. For starters, I enjoy spoiling my kids. Which is wrong, really, but it's hard not to want to make your kids smile. On the other side, I end up getting impatient with their lack of drive in cleaning up their toys that the result is me picking up super quickly. Today though, I decided that I wasn't picking up another toy. I wasn't going to clean their tornado-wreck looking messes in their rooms or the 50 plus books they'd pulled off the shelves. I realize that a sudden "foot down" after 4 years of cleaning up FOR them came as a shock to all of us but still, I put my foot down. If they wanted a movie night, they had to clean their rooms. Then, when the hour to start the movie passed and the rooms still weren't clean, it turned in to disciplining. Thankfully, after hours of arguing and crying (on every one's part) Daddy came home and backed me up. But the crying and arguing continued and the rooms are still a mess. This kind of day wears me out quicker than hours of outdoor, manual labor in the middle of summer does.

When I was thinking about the kids' cleaning their rooms and how overwhelming the task of picking up their toys must feel to them, I thought about my Mom on that day long ago. I'm sure that with me (as I STILL have a hard time keeping my own room clean) she had her work cut out for her. I'm sure that she'd worked a long hard day at work and coming home and spending time cooking dinner, finding me in a destroyed disaster, she felt overwhelmed herself. She probably felt similar to me. And was tired of picking up my toys FOR me. Now, I feel bad. Now, that memory shifts for me and I see it differently. I find myself wondering where my Mom was emotionally, instead of my own weird "Dear God, make me a bird so I can fly far, far away" Forest Gump moment. I find myself in her shoes. And knowing exactly how she must have felt. It's not a great feeling.

This thinking has spurred me to want to change this painful process. I am in NO way judging my Mom for her methods of parenting. In fact, I think she was, and is, a great Mom. I know that without her, my life wouldn't have been as great as it was. I also know that the mistakes I ended up making are not her fault. My decisions in life where just that. My choices. But I don't feel like being the tired, frustrated Mom any more. I know that a lot of the chaotic dynamic between the kids and I, at this stage in our lives, is my own fault. I have to come up with another way to deal with this problem, this meltdown causing "CLEAN YOUR ROOM OR I THROW ALL YOUR TOYS AWAY" problem. I understand that my kids are still young but I honestly feel that if I don't nip this in the bud now, we will all end up paying for it.

To my Mom, I'd like to say, I'm sorry. Sorry for not keeping my room clean (for 27 years). Sorry for not understanding what you were going through as a mother and sorry for not trying. Thank you for not giving up on me and thank you for not settling with my messy behavior.

If any one has any suggestions on how to deal with the toy, crying, cleanup, tantrum thing... Please, be my appreciated guest and comment with your tips, advice or sympathy.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Be Still by Lisa Chan: A Review and Giveaway

Irony rarely makes me smile but right now it does. My last post was about needing a vacation. I was frazzled and tired and quite honestly a little burnt out. I was relying on my own strength, as I so often foolishly do. Later that day, I sat down and watched a video I was asked to view and was so humbled but at the same time was given comfort and peace. God always provides what we need but sometimes (more often than not) we have to be still in His presence. Just be still.

Like every other mother I've ever met, the concept of "being still" is so foreign that we laugh it off and move on. Who has time to just sit and be quiet? Really. I have three kids, ages 4 and under. No one sits still. And if I try to, my three adorable nut cases take advantage of it. There is always something to be cleaned. Laundry to be folded and put away. Dogs to clean up after. Gardens to tend, children to feed (and then the cleaning of the mess that follows that), a husband to attend to, emails to answer, bills to file, work to be done. Always. It never stops. In Proverbs 31, it says that the wife's candle does not go out at night. She is always taking care of the people that depend on her and the tasks at hand. Where does God come in? Church on Sundays or Wednesday night? Even the process of going to church is time consuming. I get up at 5:40 to make sure I can shower and get dressed before every one else wakes up. Then its time to take out the dogs, make breakfast, get every one up and moving and more often than not, I've broken a sweat by the time we get in the car and head off. I'm drained and this video prompted me to consider something that deep down inside, I already knew.

I'm the reason why I'm drained. I'm the reason why I'm stressed. It's not because of God. He's there. If only I will sit and be still. Nothing else. He wants to fill me with peace and wonder and comfort and love. Most of us have heard the first part of Psalm 46: 10, "Be still and know that I am God..." This one statement is so deeply profound in meaning. However, while it IS so deep, it's so simple at the same time. If we take the time to just be still, to know who God is, to let Him show us... If we get out of our own way long enough to JUST BE STILL, He will show us who He is. And bless us richly in the process. It is something that I'm working on myself. That I will always have to work on.

In this video, Lisa Chan (wife of Francis Chan, pastor, speaker and much more), reminds us women of how important it is to sit at the feet of God and just BE STILL. I think one of the reasons why I loved this video was because Lisa herself is a busy woman. She has children to take care of. A husband who is very busy ministering to a vast number of people in all kinds of venues. Her own ministries she leads. She understands and knew the need for time alone with God. I also loved that there is another woman, Susan, who had a very different experience dealing with a divorce and the pain that accompanies that and her own need to be still and listen to God and how she was so fully blessed by doing so. God will take care of us if we come to Him.

Please take the time to watch the trailer for Lisa Chan's video, Be Still. I think this video is great for just one woman to sit and watch by herself or even in a Bible Study setting. After watching, follow the steps to enter to win a copy of the video for yourself. You will be very blessed by Lisa's words and the godly wisdom she shares.

Lisa Chan's True Beauty BE STILL Video

Here's how to enter to win a free copy of the video:

1) Leave a comment below and share your own experience with learning how to BE STILL in the presence of God or how you know that it's something you need to really begin seeking to do in your own life.

2) Share my facebook link on your own facebook page. Make sure you tag the blog's facebook page, A Wannabe Supermom, in your post so that I know you share this review.

3) Share the link on Twitter. Make sure you tag me (@MaxAbby) and @TrueBeautyFilms when you do so I know you shared it.

The more places you share, the more entries you have to win this awesome video. The chance to enter ends Septemeber 9th a midnight EST.

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