Your teenager’s brain. Fantastic listen!


So I thought I was crazy.  After all, my daughter is only 11…but it turns out I am not crazy—my daughter is changing from my small little girl into a budding teen.  And the amazing changes that take place in the teen’s brain are astonishing!

I wish I listened to this podcast last year when she was just 10 to help me prepare for this new phase of her life.  Perhaps I would have helped her enter it with more patience.  But better late than never, right?!

I hope this podcast helps each of you, as well, as it speaks of all of those crazy changes taking place in their brains—all the pruning going on.

Seriously…we just had a melt-down crying battle over hair on Monday.  I didn’t listen to this until Tuesday—MAN!  It would have really helped me as Mommy on Monday had I known a few of these reasons behind her reactions and how I aggravated it instead of helping her through it.

Anyhow, I guess what I’m really saying is this:  if you have a boy or girl either entering their teen years or are SMACK in the middle of them, this podcast will help you be a better and more understanding parent!

Enjoy the listen and be encouraged!

Xo B

http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/focus-on-the-family/listen/understanding-your-teens-brain-i-597872.html

Dzien Matki — Mother’s Day in Poland

I am pretty sure I just ate candy my son gave me from his grubby fingers—and I am not sure the last time he washed his hands.  Or went to the bathroom and forgot to wash his hands.  I am actually gagging a little bit right now.  Really.  My stomach is not feeling so well.  Hashtag “truemom”.  EATING NASTY GERMS FROM GRUBBY DIRTY FINGERS.  Sigh.

Therefore, let’s just say that I am VERY VERY VERY happy to be celebrating the upcoming day about ME in Poland.  Dzien Matki.  May 26th.  Mother’s Day.

In Poland, Mother’s Day is the same day year after year after year.  Kind-of like Women’s Day, Wigilia, your birthday, your anniversary, New Year’s … MOTHER’S DAY!  It is set in stone and NEVER GOES AWAY!

Kind of like our kids, eh????!!!! (smile and wink)

Anyhow, this upcoming Mother’s Day I think that I am going to set expectations for my kids:

  1.  I am going to expect for them to make me frustrated.
  2. I am going to expect for them to make a mess.
  3. I am going to expect for them to NOT leave me in peace when I have to pee OR merely pick up the phone—EVEN THOUGH, moments before, they had forgotten about the very existence of me.
  4. I am going to expect for them to cry over their hair styles or crust.  YES—the crust on their bread.
  5. I am going to expect for them to have a small accident in their underpants—just enough so that they will not want to wear the same pair and not enough to make a mess on the floor.  The in between stage of wet.  Enough, however, where they will then declare that they must STRIP NAKED and be.  For the rest of the day.
  6. I am going to expect for my toddler to wake me at 3am.  Or 5am.  Or 6am.  And not at all appreciate that they day is about ME!
  7. I am going to expect for the pre-teen (nastolatek) to give me grief.  I don’t know about what.  About the volume of my voice or the fact that SHE CANNOT WEAR MY SHOES.
  8. I am going to expect for them to fight and argue about the 1 block.  On the floor.  When there are 1 million and 12 other blocks right next to the 1 block.  And there are 500,000 of those 1 million and 12 blocks that are exactly the same as the 1 block that they are rowing over.
  9. I am going to expect them to stub their toes, blacken their eyes, break their teeth, or scrape their knees.  I know this because it will happen.  My three year old currently has a black eye and a huge forehead mark from tripping onto the training wheel bike tire and also falling on the side of the trampoline.  All in a day’s work.  So I am going to expect a trip to the hospital, a broken bone, or a bandaged knee.  It will happen.
  10. And, lastly, I am going to expect a gazillion times over for them to tell me that they “Love me the most!”  And fight over it.  And cuddle me.  And then fight over cuddling me.  And then fight once again about who loves Momma the most.  Because it will happen.  I expect it.

And number 10 makes up for 1-9.

As I expect it should.

So, you see, Mother’s Day in Poland is really no different than Mother’s Day anywhere else in the world.  If you come from a dirt floor or a mansion that touches the sky, being MOM is full of a million and one expectations that always start with DISASTER…But that one moment (#10) will make up for all of the tornadoes that will come in and hijack your day.

In the end, however, you don’t mind.  Because it’s a nice feeling.  Being mom.

But NOT eating the grubby food from their fingers.  Leave that behind on Dzien Matki.  I am pretty sure that is not a nice feeling.

Not at all.

Happy Mother’s Day from Poland to YOU!

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

josephine favorite

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 😉

SING, the cartoon, and the blubbering mother in the middle of the Polish theater

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*Image from Wikipedia*

Oh my blubbering goodness.  You would have been DYING had you been in the theater with me for the movie SING that has recently been in theaters (at least in Poland).   Laughter.  Snotting.  Chortles.  Gasps.  Tears.  All directed at me-the mother sobbing uncontrollably over a children’s cartoon.

It is currently a very gray and cold season in Poland.  When the sun comes out, which is extremely rare these days, Max has to ask, “MOM!!!!  What is the sun made out of?!”  And Josephine, “Mom, WHAT IS THAT?!”

NOT KIDDING.  She literally just asked the other day.  I had to explain it was not the moon, it was the actual sun gracing our presence for a moment.

So it’s gray.

Then it’s also cold.

Not -20 F or C.  But it’s been hovering in the 20s and early 30s.  Obviously that’s F.  In C, it’s been about -7 to 0 C.

On top of all of that, Josephine and MOMMY were both so sick this last week.  She ran a fever for about 7 days, and my head felt as if it was stuck literally in a bucket of sand.  I can’t recall the last time I felt so horrible.

So, needless to say, last week, we were mostly at home.

To make up for a week stuck at home where TV became the literal mother to my children for 24/7, I decided to start going on small daily adventures with Max and Jo.

Yesterday we went to an indoor Botanical Garden.  It was okay.  Nothing too thrilling, but also warm and had plants and fish and turtles and birds.  The vines hanging from ceiling to ground inspired many monkey calls, and we screeched right along with the parrots.  So what is merely a “Meh” place came to life with my Littles in their imaginations, making it a grand adventure.

Max and Jo have wanted to see the cartoon SING ever since their sister, Adelyne, told them all about it.

So, today I decided to leave the house for an early morning showing of SING.

What fun!  Of course, the cartoon is in Polish, but both of my children don’t seem to mind; therefore, away we went!

The movie—it’s AMAZING.  I loved it.  It did not go in the direction that I thought it would — now, mind you, I did not see a single preview for it, but I imagined a much more American Idol direction once the fliers were printed and sailed around town…

It was much more somber than that.  Hardships and struggles and overcoming were quietly being dealt with throughout the movie.

While fears were being squelched, dreams were also simultaneously being shattered.

And then everything literally falls apart.

Nothing went at all like I had expected.

Well, let me not ruin it for any of you that have yet to see SING.  Let me just say, when there came an opportunity for the momma pig to sing, her husband and children watching, I literally began to BAWL.

Not quiet and pretty tears.

I was literally bawling.  I was snotting.  I had to TAKE OFF MY GLASSES and wipe away the waterfall of tears.  I could not stop.

The mother—performing in front of her husband and children.  The mother giving it everything she had.  The mother LIVING out her dream.  And doing it to the BEST of her ability.

The mother taking a risk.  The mother — EXCELLING.

Yes, dear people out there.

A mother cartoon pig singing and dancing.

It was too much for me.  I am afraid I cried literally ALL of my mascara off my lashes.  My blue eyes turning as crystal as the Carribbean’s waters, as they always do when I cry.

To me, this momma pig, she was so much more than an entertainment figure for the little minds.  She was the mother in each and every one of us.

The mother stuck in the mundane routine of washing dishes, cleaning clothes, feeding children, working sunrise to sunset.

She was the mother that danced and sang to herself and dreamed in her own imagination.

She was the mother that put absolutely everyone and everything above the very core of her being.

She IS the epitome of that very word MOTHER!

I have been feeling like that momma pig.  At home.  Stuck.  In a sink of bubbles.

And, then, there I was at the theater with these two miraculous littles that I had to physically fight to bring into the world, and I realized that they are the ultimate dream.

I fought SO LONG and SO HARD to even conceive children.  And then to get them to enter the world safely was another journey.

I grabbed my son’s hand and held it.  His heart beating because my body grew him.  His life living because God gave him to me for another day.

Being a woman is hard.  Being a mother is hard.  Making satisfaction in our souls as both is hard.

And this momma pig brought this pit into my stomach that there lies within each and every one of us a fire and a passion outside of ourselves and our families.  Yet, while we are momma to littles, sometimes those other dreams may be put on the side.

But it doesn’t mean they are squelched.

It just means that our priorities are directed differently—straight.

In the meantime, someday is out there where it will be our turn to sing and dance.

And make our littles proud!

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.

 

Momma, have you ever traveled alone???

Listen, I know the appropriate answer in ALL of our mommy lives is THAT OUR CHILDREN ARE OUR GREATEST BLESSINGS!

Therefore, Pinterest and Facebook and Instagram and LIFE itself was created (of course, exaggerating on ALL of the above) for T.H.E.M.

But when you are a mommy—you FEEL as if you MUST only be mommy.

100%.

All the time.

Because, by golly, you created THAT life—you can just as easily TAKE IT AWAY (oops—wrong tangent).

No, really…You feel this gut need to be there 24/7 plus all of those hours in between that in mommy hood REALLY DO EXIST!

I know.  Because I have been a mommy for 10 and a half years.  And in the years that I have been a mommy, I have had, literally just today, A TOTAL OF 2 weeks WHERE I HAVEN’T HAD A CHILD IN MY PRESENCE since my firstborn was, well, BORN.  (And those words do deserve ALL CAPS)

That’s 365 x 10 plus 6 months which equals approximately 3,830 days where life has NEVER EVER EVER EVER been about a single moment of me since.  Now, take away the 14 days where I have been a mommy BUT not in the presence of a single child that was mine equals 3,816 days.  Forget the fact that I am Facetiming them about 2 times a day—they are not hanging on to my shirttails, so it is still deemed “free”.

Ladies—There is something utterly overwhelming about that number.   And, if you’re sanctimonious, spare me the comments, because that’s a crap load of LOTS of time dedicated to little people.  Enough of a load to make you go just a WEE BIT insane.

And, even though, I am suppose to be in ARIZONA with 1/3 of my little people right now, I wound up here (due to an expired passport) ALL ALONE.

At first I was like, what do I do???

At first it was like—lie in bed.  Don’t feed anyone.  Take a long shower.  Get coffee.  Sleep.

A little boring—because, after all, children do make our lives FUN!

But the more days I have been relaxing here, the more I have realized that I have needed this.

This moment.

To NOT be constantly thinking about scissors and rocks and crying babies and wiping my son’s bottom to save my laundry load from streaks later…

This moment.

To not be picking stuck boogers out of the littlest nostrils and convincing the oldest that it is her SWORN duty to play with the littles for ONE HOUR of the 24 WAKING HOURS she has in her day so that I can sit and stare mindlessly into a dirty house.

This moment.

To not be cutting crust off of bread—whichever parent invented that method of sandwich preparation—remind me to KILL YOU LATER, because, for some reason, my children KNOW it and CAN’T eat sandwiches with crust.

This moment.

To realize that my house is probably the aftermath of the storm—but I am ALONE in my bed without physically seeing the dirt and grime and toys and laundry—so I am SAFE FROM THE STORM!

And the longer I am apart from my Tasmanian devils, the more I appreciate being their mommy.  It’s like that Christmas chocolate you get that you put up high to only have a piece every once in a while because you want to make it last…NOT SAYING THAT I’LL STUFF MY KIDS UP HIGH SOMEWHERE SO THEY’LL LIVE (or am I????).

Simply saying—this moment of being without kids is allowing my haggard body, soul, and mind to reboot.

So I can go back and live 24/7 for another 3,816 days—upon which they will all be out of the home and I will be SOBBING for the days of insanity.

#truth

#nuttynuttytruth

To end…my advice for you, mommies, out there.  Maybe take a break from day 3,173 and go somewhere without kids and just lie in bed, be bored, drink coffee, shower, and reboot.

It’s totally worth it.

And, don’t worry, the house will be a disaster upon your return—as if you NEVER really left in the first place.  BUT OH YOUR SOUL WILL KNOW THE TRUTH!

And that truth will let you live on!

Power on, Mommy—and travel alone!!!!

 

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day #failblog to Me!

motherday2016

“YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND ME, MOMMA!” My 3-year-old son shouted at me today.

Yes.  On Mother’s Day.

The sacred day for Mothers.

Why would a 3-year-old shout that he is not understood?

Well, for starters, his 2-year-old sister slightly colored on his Spiderman coloring picture and I told him it was going to be okay.

I even cut around the pencil scratches she made…

But, apparently, it was NOT OKAY!

I don’t understand…

And then he wanted crunchy toast for lunch.

So I made it.

Buttered bread, into the oven, voile!  Out comes crunchy toast.

But NOOOOOOOOO!

He wants the bread in the oven first to get crunchy…THEN…And, apparently, only THEN…can I butter his toast.

“YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND ME, MOMMA!!!”

Yes, Maxwell.  This is where you are 100 million 25 billion 49 quadrillion 237 gazillion correct.  I DON’T UNDERSTAND YOU!

Happy Mother’s Day to me?????

Absolutely!

Because just when all sanity was lost, a dear friend showed up delivering flowers on behalf of my husband who is 1 trillion kilometers away…

Flowers…on a day when I was LOSING.  Like BIG TIME!

Flowers…for me!

mothersdayflowers

Winds of change…This surprise uber lovely visit shuffled all children AND crying 3-year-olds outside where they began to ride, run, and play in the great outdoors.

Lunch still untouched—but, hey!  Who needs lunch????

Friends…I don’t understand my kids.

My 10-year-old…A mystery!

My 3-year-old…A puzzle!

My 2-year-old…A NO Monster!

If this was baseball, I would be STRUCK out!  Out of that Old Ball Game!

But that’s the thing about mommies.  We don’t strike out.

Well, technically, we MAY strike out…BUT WE DON’T leave home plate.  We make sure that they pitch it again and again and again…hoping for a hit!

Which sometimes we actually make.

The crack of the bat.  The connection of the ball.

We run and run and run…And round those bases so that we can bat again.

Recently I had posted a picture of my 2-year-old trying to escape out the front door to find daddy (who is a trillion miles away).  Her diaper sagging.  I called her #soggybottom.  My soggy bottom baby.  And I captioned the photo: Because sometimes we fail at parenting.

But then an angel wrote and said, “It’s not a parenting fail…It’s well hydrated!”

That’s when it hit me…

I didn’t fail.  I succeeded.  She was well hydrated.  That meant she wasn’t dehydrated.  Which meant, I could avoid taking her to the doctor for fluids.

Complete victory!

My daughter was well-watered.  Forget the soggy bottom baby trying to escape.  At least she was trying to escape hydrated!

More power for her long, long journey!

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I absolutely LOVED how that perspective changed my entire view of the situation.

And, so, I’ll leave you with the same advice my mom used to give me when I’d fall, “Hop up and get going again!  You are fine.”

Dear Moms out there…

You’re not failing.  You are hydrating your children.  Forget all of the details in between…

And, when you need it, remember the words HOP UP!  GET GOING!  YOU ARE FINE!

Because you are…

Happy Mother’s Day to you!

workinprogress

A masterpiece of work in progress!

“He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it…” Philippians 1:6