Listen to your children when they talk about their bodies…

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“Adelyne, what is your greatest fear right now,” I asked my 11-year-old over a private Italian dinner we were eating, just the two of us, following the EEG she just had in Poznan, Poland.

“My biggest fear,” she repeated the question.

“Yes, with all that has been going on in your life, what is your current greatest fear,” I wanted to hear the heart of my daughter, and I had her alone, no little brothers or sisters to distract her.  Just Ada and Momma.  Together.

“The fear of being afraid,” she replied.

It makes tears come into my eyes right now.

If there is one thing we want to do as parents, it is to protect our children.  To be their stalwarts.  To be their walls.  To be their protections.  To be their everything.

And then you realize you can’t.

Unless you lock your child in a bubble, never letting them escape the house, you will quickly come to realize that you cannot be your child’s everything.

With the very act of living, they will experience many different joys and pains.

And sometimes, in that living, they experience very scary moments.

A little over a month ago, my daughter experienced at school what she describes as a heart attack.  She then spent the next three days in a foreign hospital, hooked up to heart monitors and enduring multiple blood draws and tests to see what is going on with her body.

Then, not even 3 weeks after that, she experienced what is described as seizure-like behaviors before slipping in and out of semi-consciousness.  Once again, at school.

This daughter of mine.  It’s not that she is completely fearless—but, out of EVERYONE I know in the world, she is the bravest kid that I know.  She has traveled the world. She has surfed.  She has crossed borders.  She has been surrounded by machine guns on territory where we literally have NO voice.  And she hasn’t even batted an eye.

So for her to say that her biggest fear is fear itself, makes me, as her mom, sad.  The freedom for her to live a life of great adventure is the greatest gift I wish to give her.  And now she is wondering if she will be okay to ride her bike.  Or swim.  Or paddle board.

Will she surf again?

Can she jump off a mountain like she plans in February?

Can she jump out of an airplane, like she tells us she’ll do at 18?

Afraid of being afraid.

It’s a life-changer, for sure.

And I hold her hand and tell her that we are doing everything we can to eliminate a bunch of scary stuff in hopes that we find out she is perfectly healthy and just had some bad stuff happen to her for reasons unknown.

But that doesn’t erase what happened.  And it doesn’t change the fact that now she may not live quite as carefree.

And I need to listen to her.  I need to listen to her body.  I need to listen when she speaks.  Because she is the one living inside of her body, and she knows how it feels and needs to be able to communicate that to me.

A childhood friend of mine recently watched her son go through his third concussion.  And, with that concussion, his entire life changed.  Now, together, they are realizing that life has a different journey than the one he was walking.  And it is something he must do to remain healthy and able.

She listened to her son.  Now together they are fighting for his best life.

Here is his recent news interview, telling his story:  http://www.azfamily.com/story/36611797/chandler-hs-senior-quits-football-due-to-concussion

Here is a second story on concussions and high school sports:  http://www.azfamily.com/story/36162154/concussion-study-reveals-most-valley-parents-will-let-kids-play-football

Here is another childhood friend, Dr. Javier Cardenas, speaking of concussions and how to identify one in your child, as well as an App that can be used to teach children about concussions:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHm4RPFgwEM

In the end, all we can do is live and teach our children to do so, as well.  But, in living, we also need to stop and listen.  What is our body telling us?  What is our children’s bodies telling them?

Growing up, we learn that if you ever catch on fire, you are to do three things:  Stop; Drop; Roll.

I find myself in this same position with my daughter:

Stop.  How are you feeling?

Drop.  Let’s stop everything to figure out why you feel the way you do.

And Roll.  Let’s put out this “fire” in your life, so you can go on to live your best life possible.

It may be with a little more hesitation than before.  But it’s still living.

And, in the end, that’s what counts the most!

 

To new mothers, I have news for you: You will not receive the Mom Award

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I was told last night at dinner by Josephine that she was not going to give me a “Mom Award” if I made her eat her dinner…

I looked at her with eyes of Superman steel, pointed to her seat, told her to get back in it, and that with or without that “Mom Award” I would survive just fine.

She sat back in her chair and told me that she “Doesn’t love Mommy and I wouldn’t get a cookie,” to which I replied, “I will also survive.”

She knew she was not winning any battle with her words, so she sat.

Mom Award?  That’s right, I’ll give it to myself.

The three year old sat, ate, and even climbed in my lap for books, where she promptly snuggled up and went to sleep.

In Mom’s arms.

Josephine may not have awarded me the Mom Award last night, but, you see, we did not become moms for awards.  We became moms to raise little people right.  To be their moms.  Not their buddies.  Not their friends.  Not the coolest person on the block.

Now, mind you, our block only has 3 houses, so I just may be the coolest person on the block (smile and wink in exaggeration, of course).  But you get the point.

So, if your children do not award you the “Mom Award,” don’t run to your room crying.

Don’t beg them for it.

Don’t bring them the paper to make you the Gold Star to go on top.

Just accept it.

They’ll cuddle into your arms later, no matter what.

Because, even award-less, you are still their safest place.

And that is award enough for me.

***

Free hint: When I am not using personal photos or photos my husband took, I use the site Pixabay where you will find copyright-free images.  Check it out.  I hope it will prove to be a useful site to you, too.

Mombie Apocalypse 

You’ve all seen them.

You know they’re coming.

It’s not if.  It’s when.

There’s no stopping them. 

Ahhhhhhh!

It’s the Mombies!!!!

#mombiesgonnagetyou

But wait.  

You have time.  

First, they must: “Insert Coffee To Begin”

Next:  finish taking horrible Mombie selfies

In the end, these two things will give you a chance to flee. 

But not really.  

At your next recital or game or award ceremony or concert — or just even when you walk in the door from school with friends, these Mombies will be there.  Yes, perhaps, slightly better dressed and maybe even hair and makeup done — but plain ol’ embarrassing Mombies they will always be.

Well, basically it’s the #truth until you become a Mombie yourself.  And then we Mombies will buy you your very own T (shirt, that is).Welcome to the club!  

DISCLAIMER:  My children did not approve this picture or message.  Both mortify them (smile and wink).  Just doing my job, folks.  Doing my job. #mombievictory

Don’t force Sunday school on the three year old…

Look.  Let’s get real.  The title should actually read:  don’t subject your screaming 3-year-old on the Sunday school teacher.

I’m right, right?  Can I get a holy Amen in here (Whoa, now…that was a little too loud. Smile wink smile).

But, in all honesty, my three year old fled and panicked today and did not want to be left in the huge Sunday school room alone.  So I did what I needed, I scooped her up, plopped her on my lap, and sat through church with her while I got to give her a million unappreciated kisses (as she loudly proclaimed in the service to Stop Kissing Her), cuddle her in my arms, hold and dance with her in worship, and take communion with her on my hip.  

And she was happy.  And I was happy.  And the Sunday school teachers were most likely ecstatic.  

Best of all????

These lovely selfies she took during the sermon time (insert scary laughter from evil selfie).

Praise Jesus???

Does this look like vacation?

I am fairly sure I don’t even need to write a lot.  

We are on vacation.  

But really???

Hashtag: life; reality; parenting; humor

No rest for the wicked…

Oh, wait.  I mean the mommies (smile and wink).

Greetings from La Jolla sunny California!

Becoming Diaper Free…Finally??? A potty blog for parents!

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Okay—I have an 11-year old.  She is diaper free.

Max is nearly 5.  He is diaper free.

Josephine is approaching 3 and 1/2.   As of last night, she is officially diaper free!

That’s old.  You may state.

That’s okay.  Another may add.

To both and each their own.

My little 3 year old is hilarious.  She has been advanced in walking and talking and eating and singing and bravery and living…

And not in pooping.  On the potty.

So much so that she would go for up and past 10 days, sometimes, without plopping a single drop.

One time, her constipation actually made her sick.  The doctor said—she just needs to poop.  Are you giving her anything to help her poop?

We were.  We had tried everything.  Foods, drinks, medicines…Bribery.  Tears.  Pulling out our hair.  And she still refused to poop.

Finally we had to goose the girl with a very uncomfortable czopek before she produced the results we needed — and her body immediately began to recover and heal.

Well—finally we were diaper free for pee and since she only pooped every 3-11 days, she would just tell us when she had to go.  Easy peasy pudding and pie…

Then our last pull-up disappeared one evening and we were too lazy to run to the store for more.

Josephine cried.

We cried.  (Ours, however, tears of ka-ching in our pockets—NO MORE DIAPER MONEY NEEDED)

And we refused to run and buy her a diaper.  Even when she had to potty.

Which, in our lives, was actually a really freaky thing.  We didn’t want her to be constipated.  We did not want her in pain.  We did not want to have to take her to the doctor or give her another czopek (glycerin tablet up the pupa).  We just wanted our little gal to be free.

Several days have passed since her last poopy—nerves were beginning in my mommy heart when last night—around 1am, I heard her cry out.

“Mommy, I need to pee!”

I ran into her room, raced her into the bathroom, and there she did.  HER FIRST EVER POOPY on the potty.

We immediately woke up daddy.  I am not sure he was as thrilled due to the insanely late hour of night—AND TODAY SHE RECEIVED A KINDER EGG!

A surprise for her surprise.

My friends.  If your children are a lot like my Josephine and have severe trouble pooping on the potty, please know that you are not alone.

It is a VERY hard road to walk down.

To some, it may seem like just a poop.  But to those of us in the situation, it is more that just a poop.  It is the health and well-being of our child…as well as sanity of our souls.

Give yourself a break.  Give your child a break.  And endure with great patience/pain and pray for the poop.

It’s okay to pray for the poop…

Just like it’s okay to cry when diapers are no longer in the budget 😉

When You Are Raising a 4-Year-Old

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Several years ago, I was sitting in a meeting of International Women.  I was seated next to a beautiful Danish woman.  She had 2 children.  I had 1.  One 4-year-old daughter.

We bonded over that mere fact.

Being moms.

And, as we were virtually strangers, yet with something HUGE in common, we had a lot to talk about.

Okay—we had parenting and mom-ming and kids to talk about.

But it was one of the deepest conversations of my life.

We looked at each other and both of, respectively, said, “We are so thankful that we don’t beat our children.”

It’s as if we were leaning over to give one another high fives for keeping our children alive.

Like really.

We spoke on HOW difficult parenting is.  How hard it is to practice restraint.  How MUCH  you want to, well, basically, put your child in a VERY big box and shut the lid.

It was so refreshing to have an honest parenting conversation with another mom.  A mom that looked like she had EVERYTHING together.

Because parenting is HARD HARD HARD.

IT, your beautiful baby, your precocious toddler—turns FOUR…FOUR!

And you think…have I spawned the devil?

And these precious creatures we have spawned literally live to drive us bat crazy.  You feel as if you have no shred of self control left.  You literally have to physically leave the presence of your spawn.

Parenting is hard.  And I get so ridiculously crazy of these soft-spoken moms that are like “Blah, blah, blah…the beauty of parenting…AND MAKING BUTTER..” because I am all like…MY KID LIVED TODAY!!!!!

And I feel as if I should run outside and SHOUT IT ON THE ROOFTOPS!

And I feel as if they should literally make a MADE FOR TV movie about my heroism.

AND I.AM.NOT.KIDDING!

This woman.  This stranger.  She got all of that.  We talked for a long time about how people really should praise mommies for maintaining control.  We talked about parents that struggled with doing what’s right.  We talked about how much help we need as parents.

We need help.  The good parents.  The bad parents.  THE PARENTS.  We need help.

Because our job is the biggest in the world.  And it’s the hardest in the world.  And we have little little little people that trust us for safety and protection and life—as they should—even while they are trying to snuff that VERY life out of us.

Right now I am raising my second 4-year-old.  I say second, because my daughter was my first and she is now 10.

And she is the FINEST decade gal you will ever meet (decade gal is what she calls her 10-year-old self).

She is funny and kind.  She is smart and hardworking.  She is silly and fun.  She is outgoing yet shy.  SHE IS THE BEST!

I couldn’t ask for a more amazing child.

Yet when she was four—I thought she was the she-devil herself.  And I could hardly see straight because she drove me so insane.

And I PRAYED that we would BOTH live through that phase.  That phase of her being 4.

Stubborn.  Screaming.  CRYING…PUBLIC HUMILATION.  Up the wazoo.

I felt ashamed every time I walked in public with her because of her meltdowns and fits and tantrums.

I wanted to return this child I prayed so hard to receive.

And I thought I would never make it past this phase of being the WORST MOMMY EVER!

Yet here she sits at 10 as the BEST version of any kid I could imagine building on my own.  Like, literally, if I could design a child, this child would still not come out as great as my decade gal.

And so I have chosen to write this post today for me.  For you.  For every HONEST mom out there that is pulling her hair, just trying to survive.

I write this for the solidarity of US!

We do deserve high fives.  We do deserve made for TV movies.  We deserve honor and recognition that our children are alive despite the fact that we are now bald.

You are doing a fine job.  Maybe some days you want to cry because you feel like you are the worst.  But take a deep breath.  Go in the other room.  Cry.  And then breathe again.  Because your 4-year-old will not be a 4-year-old forever.

One day your 4-year-old will turn into your decade gal…and you will be able to look at your child and see that you have made it.  You have survived.  And you are doing a darn fine job of it.

Drink a coffee…Eat dessert.  And breathe.

Because the teenage years are just around the corner.