Category Archives: Parenting
I often wonder what traits Eriana will get from Jim and me. Not just physically, though I wonder about that, too. I think about what Jim and I got from our parents and think about who I am because of who they are, the whole nature versus nurture thing. There are definitely some things I see in myself that are because I’ve driven myself to be that way, but I also see a lot of my parents in me, and wonder about Eriana’s future in those terms.
Speaking of physical traits, though: here’s Jim at 3, Eriana at almost 2, and me at 2.
From my mom I got:
-my friendliness: I may be somewhat shy and socially awkward, but I think I’m fairly friendly, and my mom is the friendliest person in the world
-my imagination: I’m a dreamer, I love to read and watch tv, and I often get lost in my imagination, and so does she
-my cleanliness and my messiness: you know that episode of Friends where Chandler finds Monica’s messy closet? My mom and I are both like that, although I try REALLY hard to not keep a bunch of stuff and she is a bit of a packrat. We both give the illusion of cleanliness while we also have stuff packed away in closets, under furniture, in cabinets and drawers, etc.
-my indignation: this sounds weird, probably, unless you know my mom and/or me; I don’t like for anyone to break the rules or mess with me or my family and close friends, and I often get indignant about things that are none of my business
-my nosiness: Oh, man. My mom and I are both nosy, talkative, gossipy, and over-curious. We are good at keeping secrets, consequently.
From my dad I got:
-my temper: my dad has been known to have a sharp tongue at times, and I got that too, but without the filter he has that makes him diplomatic and often leaves me sounding tactless
-my sense of humor: I’m really funny, y’all, and so is my dad. Case in point: the other day he called me from his car and on his route he passed Stoops’s new mansion (a landmark in my town now), and said, “Apparently Stoops is having a big party at his house.” Then at the same time we both said, “Well, I wasn’t invited.” Ha! It was awesome. Promise. (Whatever. You probably just rolled your eyes like my husband did. WE’RE FUNNY!)
-my drive: there are very few things my dad has set out to so and not accomplished, and I rarely give up either
-love language of giving: my dad is the kind of guy that will randomly pick up a giant bag of your favorite coffee or a huge container of your favorite detergent at Sam’s, just because. He doesn’t care if you have the means to give on holidays, but he always gives generously, even if you ask him not to. He will send a cleaning person to my grandma’s house, and give a low-level employee or family member furniture he’s not using instead of selling it. A few weeks after Eriana was born he came down (about a 30-min drive) after a 10-hour day at work and paid for Jim and I to go out to dinner so we could get out for the first time without her. I don’t want to toot my own horn by any means, but I love love love to give gifts to people, small or large, especially when it’s unexpected.
I’m sure there are more characteristics, but these are the ones that stand out to me.
I wonder what Eriana will get? My drive, Jim’s curiosity, my imagination, Jim’s intelligence and mind for STEM, my love of reading, my cleanliness, Jim’s propensity to purge stuff, Jim’s musical talent, my sense of humor (kidding; Jim’s sense of humor), my love of giving, Jim’s ability to do so much in a single day that there’s disbelief in how he found the hours, Jim’s argumentativeness, Jim’s ability to say no when people ask too much, Jim’s brevity, my long-windedness (in bits), my ability to read people, Jim’s ability to trust. Who will she be? What will she love? How will she behave in social situations? What will her world be like? Oh, I can’t wait to find out.
The last (only?) picture I have with both of my parents, on my wedding day 9.5 years ago. They’ve been divorced since I was three years old but have had an amicable relationship for most of my life. (Also, I don’t know why my eyes look weird in that picture. I promise I don’t have weird eyes.) (Oh, and my dad shaved off his mustache when he turned 50, so if any single ladies are looking for a mid-50s, conservative, healthy, successful man I can send you some info and an updated photo.)
Do you wonder what traits your children will get from you and your partner? What traits did you get from your parents?
Want to hear something RIDICULOUS? Eriana will be two at Christmas. I have all but one of her gifts (but it’s at my grandpa’s house), and all (but one, maybe) of her stocking stuffers. Nothing is wrapped, of course, but, eh, minor detail.
Eriana is getting, as presents:
-a table and chairs that were mine as a child (I will repaint them),
-an (old, inexpensive) iPhone to play games and listen to music so I don’t have to sacrifice mine (or worry about it getting broken/dropped),
-a kid case for said iPhone,
-several sets of ears and tails I got on clearance at a craft store,
-bathtub foam letters and numbers I bought at a consignment sale,
-Mickey puzzle I bought at a consignment sale,
-Princess Tiana Barbie that we got at the fair for free.
-hairbrush and mirror set we got free at the fair,
-some fuzzy socks if I can find some for a good price,
-an outfit, a bottle, and a cup for her biggest baby doll.
I’m really excited about celebrating with my girl. She’s crazy, but at a fun age for being excited about stuff. She is going to go nuts on Christmas morning!
(This is, technically, my post for NaBloPoMo 26, but I’m not feeling very along-with-the-rest today.)
Three years tomorrow. Three years since my first daughter was born and died. Three years since I never got to meet the wiggly little girl I carried for 39 weeks. Three years since my world changed forever.
It’s hard to understand how our life would be now. My pregnancy was HARD. I got sick almost every day. I had a lot of pain. I had major depression. We planned for that pregnancy to be my only one. So what about Eriana? Since I can’t imagine my life without her now, I pretend that in our ideal life we would have both of them. We would have two little girls that were 13 months apart. I see Angel as Annalisa, since that was my favorite name going in, and that’s who she looked like to me. (Our other finalist name was Natalia.) She was born with dark hair. Would her eyes have darkened, too? Would she have looked like me, but with Jim’s olive skin, Jim’s brown eyes, and Jim’s dark hair (as Eriana has my eyes, hair, and skin tone while looking more like him)? Or would she and Eriana be so similar that I would have trouble telling apart their baby pictures? Would my blue eyes have pulled through on her, too?
I picture my girls playing together. I envision a lot of crying and fighting and “MINE!” coming from the playroom. The playroom? We probably wouldn’t be in this house. We had a year left in Japan. Would Eriana have been born there, too? Where would be now? Still in Oklahoma, finding our way, or would we have moved right to the Pacific Northwest, being able to go anywhere? What about our pets? Sakana was already with us, but our dogs and Zaya? How would our girls love our pets, whoever they were? I picture two beautiful girls growing up together, being both the best of friends and the worst of enemies, being one year apart in school, but excelling at very different things so there’s little competition.
What kind of mother would I have been if I had started parenting in 2009 instead of 2010? Would I have been a helicopter instead of laid back like I am now? Would cloth diapering have stuck with Angel like it did with Eriana? I had no idea what being a parent was about until we lost Angel. Would I have cherished my two girls as much as I cherish Eriana, since she’s our miracle child? What about the changes Jim and I have gone through, with our philosophies of life, our religious beliefs, our personal ambitions? Would those be different now, as parents of two?
What would my marriage be like? Jim and I are who we are now, in part, because of our loss. We are so much stronger now than then. But is it because of the loss? Would we have been stronger as a couple if we had been parenting together? I picture my sweet husband with both of our girls and I just melt.
All of the terrible toddler stuff we’re going through with Eriana would be cake because we would have already gone through it. Or would we? Would Angel have been a completely different kid than the crazy, spirited girl we’re raising now?
What would our relationships with our families be like? If we weren’t in Oklahoma, who would our girls know?
What about my miscarriage earlier this year? Would that have still happened? Three pregnancies in three years? Would I still be pregnant, about to deliver number three and overwhelmed with that reality? Excited about that reality? Did our loss of Angel cause the loss of that baby? Is 1 in 3 the best odds I get?
Would I still want to adopt, or would I feel more complete if the two babies I thought I always wanted were already in my arms, in my heart, in my life?
What would our present be if our past was different? What would our future be? Everything changes everything. I get that. I still ask why. I still wonder why. I still have trouble understanding what happened, even knowing the science of it. I still have trouble not blaming myself when I think of all that happened, even though there’s no way I could have known something was wrong, even though all of the medical professionals assured me there was nothing that I could have done. I am a dreamer, and my imagination is wild; it’s difficult for me to think about Angel without thinking about what things would be like now if she was still here.
The future that could have been… the future we should be living.
Today Eriana started asking to sit on the potty when she needs a new diaper. Not, mind you, asking to sit on the potty BEFORE she needs a new diaper, but when. (It’s progress, people!)
At one point she asked to go to the potty because she said she needed to poop. I checked her diaper and didn’t see anything, so we went into the bathroom so she could sit on the potty. Except when I took off her diaper there WAS poop and it fell on the floor. And Jim couldn’t hear me asking for help. And then Eriana started freaking out. And then she touched it and gagged (thankfully NOT vomiting). And then I finally got everything cleaned up and she was still freaking out and she needed snuggles and a cup of warm milk before she’d calm down (which Jim did; I was cleaning up poop). It was, obviously, highly traumatic.
But she rallied.
And I opened a CDP.
You guys. I am so thankful today. SO thankful. We went to my dad’s house and Eriana was the only kid (my sister and her family were with her in-laws) and she relished in that. I got to spend time with my family, got plenty of research done for my paper*, and got to come home to a good night with my loves.
Eriana, though, was in full, rare form tonight. She slept about 20 minutes in the car on the way to lunch and then nothing after that. So by 5pm she was melting down. I’m a little unsteady right now anyway, so I had some issues with her very toddler attitude. By 6:30 I told Jim I needed 5 minutes and went to cry in our bed for a bit. (Just reporting, not asking for sympathy.) Then I poured some wine, opened a CDP, and tried to relax. I did, and I was able to read to Eriana and sing to her before bed and was just fine to fulfill my bedtime regimen.
The CDP I opened today (well, the second I opened today) was great. Rachel sent me Meditations for Mothers of Toddlers by Beth Wilson Saavedra. The one I read that eased my calm (because I read a few) was about when you have a Spirited Child (I think I need to reread Raising Your Spirited Child, since I perused it when Eriana was much younger and it wasn’t really yet applicable). Here’s the quote on the page:
“To respect that fury or those giddy high spirits or a body that seems perpetually mobile is respecting nature, much as one respects the strength of a hurricane, the rush of a waterfall.” – Sara Ruddick
The following paragraph goes on to explain that, in a nutshell, we must embrace the energy the child exhibits and lovingly direct it to a productive ends. Oh, man, did I need to hear that. I don’t really know how to do that, but I need to learn. Eriana was standing on a stepstool THROWING things as far as she could in the kitchen. Her bath time ended early because she was filling up things (baby bathtub, bucket, cup) with water and throwing them out of the tub. She was whining about everything, and disobeying, and timeouts (ins, since we do them on our laps) were only going so far. She refused to listen and when asked to look at me (sometimes the only thing that makes her understand is to make eye contact), she would ROLL HER EYES (starting early) and deliberately look away instead of listening. So redirection will be key in the case of my monster. I just need to figure out where to direct her energy!
On another note, I have a bottle of champagne and a chilled bottle of creme de cassis and am happy to drink Kir Royales to my heart’s content. And also we have red wine and we have beer. We’re good on alcohol and beers** for the rest of the weekend, and I’m happy to drink and hang out with my family and watch Harry Potter and whatever else helps distract me from the frustration and sadness that keeps trying to overtake me.
Also, Eriana dressed herself today and it was awesome.
Halloween shirt, flowered skirt, yellow hair flower. She also wore red flowered socks and her sneakers. I love this girl.
*I was told I didn’t grasp the concept of Information Grounds (SECOND TIME THIS SEMESTER I HAVE HAD TO REWRITE SOMETHING BECAUSE OF LACK OF CONCEPT OMFG PLEASE LET THIS SEMESTER END) and had to rewrite my paper. I asked if a family gathering over the holiday would work and was told that it would be perfect. So I took notes during the conversations at lunch today that included: homosexuality, Obamacare and other “entitlements”, family frustrations, Eriana’s growth and development, my brother’s new car, steroids and nutritional supplements, long lines at polling places, my dad’s dog’s eye infection, the dog show, and on and on. It was good research.
**Friends, of course.
After I picked Eriana up from school today we went to Target and then she asked to go to the park. I’m thinking I’m going to wind up taking her there every school day after school. She seems to have my number in thinking this is the normal turn of events. This will be exhausting soon, I’m sure. She was whiny before school and crabby during (according to her teacher), so I was really surprised when she was awesome all evening. I think between my trip and return back to real life over the weekend she was just having a hard time readjusting. But she’s okay now, I guess. My smiley, silly, wonderful girl.
This crinkly nose smile is new, and I love it so.
An aside about her silliness: We have been listening to a lot of the Gigglebellies and their version of “Old McDonald” is awesome. Eriana sings along and does “e-i-e-i-o” and the animal sounds. In their version of the song all of the animals are named. The cow is “Kissymoo”, and when they say her name Eriana makes a kissing noise and then moos. Oh, man, you guys. Bowls me over every time.
I stumbled upon the book The Onion Girl when looking for an audiobook in a hurry one day, and I’m hooked. Of course, after about half the book I found out it’s a series and the one with which I started is number 11. So. I’m on the hold list for the first one next. This seems a good way to do things.
I’m really excited that I get to give three people presents this week. (Four if you count one that’s in the mail but hasn’t been delivered yet.) I’m so excited. I hope they are well-received and bring a smile to the faces of their recipients.
Y’all. I’m a genius.* You should know what I discovered today, and I’m sharing my genius with you because I think everyone should know about this amazing thing.** Today, instead of dealing with Eriana peeling off the outlines of sticker sheets and whining about them, I peeled them all off before I gave her the sheets, leaving just the stickers. This made it easier for her to peel off the stickers, especially on the foil-type stickers that are hard for adults to peel off. Whiny toddler: appeased. GENIUS!
Also, this outfit (too big Yo Gabba Gabba shirt, brown leggings, purple shorts) happened today, and I love how this girl is beginning to express herself more and more through her clothes. This kid is so incredible. I know I’m biased, but I’m super thankful for how wonderful she is.
*Don’t say anything. I am, too, smart.
**I’m sure all of my readers with sticker-enthused kids discovered this a long time ago.
Every time I belittle myself or question my appearance I think about Eriana, and how I want so much for her to be an independent, strong, self-aware but strong and self-confident person. I think about this post that Noemi wrote about her daughter and making sure she knows how beautiful she is no matter what. And then I think about Elizabeth’s post about being aware to not disparage her own body since the day her daughter was born. I am so bad about this. I so want Eriana to be confident with her body and her face and herself in general.
She is INCREDIBLE and beautiful and amazing and wonderful and smart and, oh, you guys, I’m in awe of her every single day.
But then she watches me putting on makeup and pretends to put on eyeliner (with her finger – it’s really cute), and I say something like “Oh, you don’t need makeup. You’re beautiful!” Or she sees me undressing before I shower and points to my baby house (the apron of fat leftover after two c-sections that I fear will never go away) and I say something to the effect of “You don’t have a big belly like Mama.”
Why do I say things like that? I don’t want her to hear me say “fat.” I don’t want people to tell her she’s skinny. I don’t want either one of those words in her ears because both of them have negative connotations! She doesn’t need to think thin is in and have issues with her sweet chubby cheeks or hammy thighs. And if she doesn’t get my body type and is thin, I don’t want her to struggle with the idea of too thin (see Jess’s post here).
I might struggle with my body, but I’m healthy, and constantly striving to be healthier by working out and eating right. I am setting a good example in that respect, but a bad example in so many others. Why do I do that? Why do I make those comments about my face or my stomach? Jim has called me “Beautiful” since we were dating. That’s his pet name for me. Eriana hears only how much he loves me and how wonderful he thinks I am. Instead of using the word “brat” we call each other marvelous. Instead of getting frustrated at little annoyances we tell Eriana how much we love the other. She hears nothing bad about me except from me.
Do you deal with self-confidence concerning your children? How do you curb your self-doubt so your kid(s) do(es)n’t pick up on it?
I’m busy these days.*
I’m not usually busy, so I feel it when I am. Actually, I’m not sure that I’m really busy. I just have more going on than usual. What’s most frustrating about the busy I’m feeling is that I have to find a babysitter for most of it, and that’s annoying to me because I am supposed to be the everyday provider of my kid. Because looking over the list of stuff I have going on, it’s not that much. It’s just finding a babysitter on three separate days when I should be able to be home with Eriana. I feel like such a bad parent.
Tomorrow (Friday) I have a symposium I’m going to for my remaining summer class. It’s an all-day thing, from 9-4. Next Thursday I’m getting a new IUD placed (whatever, TMI, I know), and I had to find a sitter for that. THEN, next Friday I have to interview someone for my remaining summer class for a paper. She was available next Friday, and the paper is due that Sunday, so what could I do? I need the interview!
But then, oh wait! Saturday, the 21st Eriana and I are heading to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area for Jeans at Beans! Are you in the OK/TX area? Come! It will be great.
After that I’m done for a little while. I think. We’ll see. So, see, I’m not that busy. But I am busy for me. And it’s frustrating. I enjoy being flexible and largely available when Jim’s schedule allows us to do fun things. I enjoy being able to go to a friend’s house for dinner on a whim or go out for drinks with my girlfriends. Plus, I feel like such a bad mom leaving Eriana with other people, especially since I already have three days a week without her. I miss my girl! And I don’t like having to depend on other people when my JOB is as a SAHM!
That girl in the mirror is SILLY!
*I hate when people say they’re busy, especially when they aren’t, actually. But maybe busy is all relative? I used to know this girl who didn’t work, had no kids, wasn’t a student, no responsibilities outside of her husband and pets. She always went on and on about how busy she was. It was really frustrating. At the time I was a full-time student with a full-time job and was pregnant. So. You know, annoying.