No, My Child Is Not A Brat

This past weekend, for the first time ever, I referred to my kid as a “brat.”

I immediately regretted.

I knew it was wrong. It was not my kid. Not even a little bit. It was me. It was me and my unrealistic expectations and my displeasure at said kid not being/doing exactly as I wanted when I wanted.

Not long after a friend posted an article (not in favor for) titled, “Your Kid is a Brat And it’s Your Fault” (no, I’m not linking it; but you can Google it if you wish).

I read it, against my better judgment, and all my momma bear instincts kicked in.

Childism is not okay

Not even a little bit.

And name-calling a child something hateful and demeaning like “brat” is nothing more than childism.

Dictionary.com defines a brat as “a child, especially an annoying, spoiled, or impolite child (usually used in contempt or irritation).” So really, that’s simply any child that you find annoying or don’t particularly like. Which lets be honest, that right there means the problem is of that who is doing the name calling. Because it’s simply their perception, which means there is always someone who is going to disagree.

And childism is “A prejudice and/or discrimination against the young.” You see where I am going with this, right?

If an adult has a bad day, we let it slide; everyone has a bad day now and then. We shrug and move on, likely giving that person a little space.

If it’s a child, immediately they are rude and inconsiderate. “Misbehaving.” A brat.

If an adult is loud, boisterous, and overzealous, we call them confident and fun.

If it’s a child with those traits, then they’re obnoxious and bratty.

If an adult stands up for himself, we applaud him for not being a doormat.

If a child does the same, we scold them for not listening.

If an adult is tired or hungry, and thus not terribly pleasant (ask my husband, he’ll tell you hangry is real, and the only time his wife is less than charming), then we are understanding because we’ve all been there. We get it.

But if it’s a child? Well, they’re bratty, entitled kids whose parents make excuses for their poor behavior

Need I go on?

We live in a society where it’s okay for adults to have crummy moments, days, weeks, even months, and we are understanding and compassionate.

But if a child, someone a fraction of our size with less impulse and emotional control, has those same less-than moments or days; the kid is automatically a brat, most likely caused by indulgent parents.

And you know what?

Maybe I am indulgent.

I admit it.

I bought Miss H a new chapter book at Barnes and Noble today and she did nothing to “earn” it. Other than be a normal human being who occasionally deserves small kind gestures in life for simply no reason other than she’s human.

I can buy a $6 decaf coconut milk latte on occasion and no one questions such an extravagant purchase. I buy my kid a $6 book and unless she “earned” it somehow, then she’s a spoiled, entitled, brat.

That, my friends, is childism.

A completely irrational and unrealistic double standard.

We hold children to a higher level than we hold adults.

And it really needs to stop.

My kids aren’t perfect. Far from it.

They run in stores, spill drinks in restaurants, forget their manners on occasion, can be loud and rambunctious, and are oh-so very vocal. They whine sometimes and have fits when things don’t go the way they’d hoped.

They’re human.

They’re a lot of things: vivacious, tenacious, confident, independent, courageous, and curious.

But they are not brats.

Miss Independent…Oooh! She Fell in Love.

7 Years. 7 whole years of happy, wonderful, beautiful marriage.

It seems that I’ve known J forever, and at the same time, it was only yesterday we first met.

I know it’s cliché, but these past 7 years have for sure been the best of my life thus far. I had no idea that is was possible to be this happy or this in love with a man and our beautiful family.

I like to tell people that J and I met when I was 17. Shock value, ya know.

The truth is, we did meet when I was 17; about 3 days before my 18th birthday. I’d been at my mother’s work to receive a college scholarship and she was introducing me to different people in her building. And I spotted J; luscious dark hair, beautiful smile, across the building and asked who he was.

My mother smiled and said, “Oh, let me introduce you. I bet you will pronounce his name correctly!”

And sure enough, my four years of Spanish paid off and I didn’t butcher his name like most Midwest folks.

There was probably some small talk, I don’t fully remember. I know I walked away from him swooning and giddy, my first real crush. Ever.

I was not the kind of girl who was boy crazy at any point in my life. I was pretty resolved that I would remain single my entire life for numerous reasons that made total sense to me. I likely wouldn’t have any children, though I would totally consider adoption when I made it to my mid-30s and was fully successful doing…whatever.

But that was it. The end of J.

Until my mother casually invited him to my graduation party. J was travelling extensively at that point in his career, much more than now if that’s possible to imagine, and just happened to be in town on my graduation. He agreed, probably for the free food. He brought me a card with a hamster on it and actually went to my graduation ceremony, which I didn’t know until we were engaged.

At that point, we did exchange email addresses and very periodically emailed back and forth for the next two years. Less than  once a month.

I dated other guys, had experiences that changed me, and grew up a ton. And then the winter of my sophomore year in college J was in Palermo, and I was currently taking a class on the Sicilian Mafia with which I was totally enthralled. I expressed my jealousy at his amazing travels and he offered to take me to Spain.

I kind of joked and said okay, but he took it seriously. I asked my mom more than once if she thought it were a wise or safe idea. She just told me to have fun.

I’ve never been the spontaneous type. Adventurous, sure. But spontaneous, true risk-taker…just no. So the idea of traveling to a foreign country with a dashing guy that I truthfully barely even knew just had “bad idea” written all over it. I was fairly certain I was setting myself up to be human trafficked; but for some crazy ass reason, I said yes. (Miss H, if you read this someday, just because it worked out well for me, don’t do this. Not all men are half as decent as your papa!)

And that was a game changer.

Before I went to Spain, my dad asked me what my relationship with J was. He was a bit more concerned. I remember smiling and saying, “It’s weird, but if I were the marrying type, which I’m not, he’d be the man I’d marry.”

That probably scared the shit out of my dad. Who knows?

But I knew. I all ready knew.

Me, the girl who despised all things romance, who grew up not even remotely believing in the idea of love, had given her heart to a man she hardly knew long ago; the second her eyes had first locked with his years ago.

Spain was beautiful and wonderful and J was such a perfect gentleman it truly startled me. I had no idea that there were men out there who still believed in chivalry and respect. We had separate beds in every single hotel room. Other than when I slipped my hand into his, he never even remotely tried to take our relationship any further.

I returned home from a beautiful foreign country with a beautiful man, completely unkissed. He was a wonder of a man, for sure!

Our relationship grew over the summer. At one point in early July he asked if we could officially court. Yes, yes, he did use the word court! Ha.

I said yes.

Though after a week of too much thinking – I had great reasons to by cynical of love: I had huge plans for my life, etc., etc. – I told him that no, our relationship in fact should not progress any further. It was just more than I could handle or was ready for.

Per typical, J was an absolute gentleman about it and said he understood, but would really like to remain friends.

I agreed, as I adored him. And he’d quickly become my dearest friend. What in the world would I do if I didn’t have him to talk to!?

So really, absolutely nothing in our relationship changed. We’d been planning a trip to Aruba in the fall before I ventured off to England for a year, and we both agreed we still wanted to go: platonically.

Well, Aruba. Dear, sweet Aruba.

We went parasailing and snorkeling and thoroughly enjoyed life and one another’s company. And one night, as I was climbing into my own bed, J said, “I love you.”

And I said nothing.

For like an hour.

I laid in the dark, quiet room and weighed the gravity of those words.

I was loved.

And by someone whom I wholly loved.

It was terrifying and beautiful.

And I had a choice to make.

To follow my heart, or listen to my ever-practical brain, which had gotten me this far in life mostly intact.

I took a risk. For J, I took the biggest risk of my life. And I whispered, “I love you, too.” I wasn’t even sure if he was awake anymore.

As it goes, life continues whether you are ready for it to do so or not, and I was off to England. We’d all ready known I’d be living with him when I returned the following year (as a room mate), though it happened that our dream house, a serious project, fell into our laps, and we embraced it without the true certainty of where our relationship would end up.

I didn’t think far into the future as I typically did. I just knew I was happy, right then, in that moment, and I’d worry about other obstacles when they occurred, because nothing could squelch the bliss.

Well, it turned out J had some work in Sicily that October, so I flew over for a long weekend so I could finally see Palermo, the tip of the metaphorical iceberg of our relationship. He greeted me with flowers at the airport and when we were at the hotel, discussing dinner plans, and for the first time truly since we’d been together, future plans, it came to be that we decided we were in it for the long haul. But he wanted to ask me right, with a ring and permission from my parents, and for the first time in my entire life, I did not analyze this situation or my answer.

I didn’t question how incredibly young I was or how this would change the whole plan I’d laid out for my life. I didn’t question if it rationally made sense or not.

I was not afraid.

I was so in love with that man, and I knew nothing in the world was quite as important as being with him.

Somehow, without even realizing it, ever so slowly over time, the fully-independent, forever-cycnical façade melted away and I just went with what made me happy.

He did propose properly on Christmas Eve in Paris, France. We attended the 8 o’clock mass at the Notre Dame and then he insisted we stay for midnight mass as well. I thought he was insane. I was exhausted, I didn’t speak or understand a lick of French, and we’d just sat through one whole mass anyway. And let’s be honest, neither of us were that religious.

After he gave up our seats to another couple and I realized that on top of it all I would now have to stand for the next 3 hours: I was done. There was a lot of heavy sighing and bitching and head shaking.

He pulled me into a corner, behind a pillar, and before I knew what was happening he was down on one knee with a diamond ring in his hand. “You’re not making this easy,” he said, “But will you marry me?”

I was floored. The wind was knocked out of me.

Yes, yes, yes!

And it was only uphill from there. He planned the wedding and worked on making our project house a home. I finished my year abroad and came home and moved in with him.

We lived in honeymoon bliss and visited his friends and family, whom I hadn’t yet met. It was fun and beautiful and perfect.

We knew we wanted babies (crazy how quickly those ideas came when the idea was no longer me going it solo), and sooner rather than later. So I was a few weeks knocked up on the day we wed and I wouldn’t change that for the world. I graduated university with honors and a double major and had our first bambino three months later. Everyone said the honeymoon phase would fade away. Especially with kids.

But you know what, we’re 7 years in and 3 babies born, and it’s still the honeymoon phase. It’s still beautiful and amazing; exhilarating and exciting. And I’m so glad I gave my heart a chance, that I took a risk and let myself love J fully, because it was the best life-decision I’ve ever made.

I can definitely say “And they lived happily ever after.” Not without challenges and sleepness nights, but definitely with endless love and happiness.

DSC_0317-2
DSC_0423

Let’s Talk DockATot

A few weeks ago a friend posted a photo of her son, roughly 6 weeks older than Sweet M, happy and content in his crib for the night.

I was flabbergasted.

I knew this darling baby boy, like Sweet M, was also held and loved on quite often while he slept; so I needed to know what sorcery this was that propelled this baby to be content and sleep on his own.

DockATot.

I won’t lie, I was a bit skeptical.

You can pick up any parenting book or magazine, or simply Google “infant sleep” and find a million and two surefire ways to help your baby sleep better. And trust me, I’d tried at least a million of them. And since Sweet M tends to be more high maintenance like his big sister, I figured there was no need to check out those last two ways. I simply needed to embrace the standstill of my life during all of his sleeping hours.

Not going to lie; I really love holding my baby. I like how he curls into my body, he sighs on my chest, the little slumberland smiles that spread across his face while he sleeps.

But here is another truth: I have two other children.

So while it’s nice to hold Sweet M while he sleeps, and I don’t plan on ever giving that up completely; it’s also nice to be able to put him down and focus on his big sibs while he sleeps.

When my DockATot Deluxe arrived I was impressed with it’s high-quality and durability. It seemed comfy enough that I would enjoy sleeping on it.

I spent the first few days simply getting Sweet M used to it. If this had been Mr. B, I’d have never bothered with doing this, but since Sweet M balks at the very idea of being put down anywhere, I wanted him to have good associations with the DockATot.

At first I would just lay him in it for a few minutes while playing with and singing to him. Then I would lay him in the DockATot with his mobile playing while I got dressed or put laundry away.

IMG_0826

Finally, I started transferring him into the DockATot when he’d fall asleep for his nap.

And he’d sleep.

Then, I started putting him into the DockATot when he fell asleep for his first stretch of the night.

And he’d sleep.

IMG_0832

Tonight, well, you might need to sit down for this: tonight he fell asleep by himself in the DockATot. No joke. I was right there next to him the whole time, because I wanted him to know this was a safe place and he was safe to sleep; but I did nothing else. I nursed him, burped him, gave him his dummy and laid him down in the DockATot. And then I just sat and waited. If he’d have cried, I’d have picked him up. But he didn’t. He talked for a few minutes. He stirred a bit. But no crying.

And he just fell asleep.

Anyone who has ever had a high needs baby knows exactly what kind of amazingness that is. There are no words.

Thus, it should really go without saying, that I cannot recommend a DockATot enough for any and all babies. Whatever your baby’s temperament, whatever your sleep needs, I feel confident that DockATot is your best bet! (And they have a DockATot Grand for toddlers.)

IMG_0835

The absolute only minor issue I’ve come across, which I’m fairly certain will only ever pertain to my strange child, is that the bottom must be unbuckled for his length, which it is made to do. Sweet M, however, doesn’t seem to like where the fabric of the DockATot ends, so he will keeps his legs up until he falls asleep, or simply sleep with his legs bent. It’s a super silly quirk, and in retrospect, I maybe should have gotten him the Grand, but it doesn’t seem to affect how well he actually sleeps.

 

 

Full Disclosure: DockATot sent me a DockATot Deluxe to review. All opinions are fully mine, and 100% genuine.

The Plight of the Paci (+ the PinkBlush giveaway winner!)

Before H was born I swore I’d never give her a pacifier. When J and I travelled in Europe we’d see all these toddler and preschool aged kids with dummies in their mouths and we both, in the way that only couples without children can, decided right there and then that not only would our children never have a pacifier into toddlerhood, they also wouldn’t have one period.

We were quite successful with that with our first child. She was a boob fiend and I didn’t mind. Until she was 4 weeks old and we were trying to drive from Albuquerque to Las Cruces, and what should have only been a 3 hours drive became 7 hours because my baby hated the car and I couldn’t let her scream for long.

We bought a pacifier then, in hopes of soothing her. We’d pop that dummy in her mouth and she’d scream so hard as if we were killing her. I desperately tried to get her to take it all weekend as we visited friends and family, in hopes that the drive back was easier.

Well, she didn’t take it, and the drive was no easier. I guess that is what we deserved for being so sanctimonious before ever having kids.

When B came along I had a package of Nuks on hand, just in case. I actually didn’t even realize there were other types of dummies at this point.

B had a strong sucking reflex, but would get royally pissed when he’d want to suck and there was milk, which he wasn’t looking for. So I gave him a dummy and that was that. He mostly used it in the car, and sometimes at home. But there wasn’t much rhyme or rhythm to it.

Right at 5 months he had mostly lost interest in it, other than in the car, and so we decided to pull the plug – quite literally – on him, and tossed all the pacifiers. It was quite uneventful.

Then there was M. Sweet, darling M.

I was prepared with him. When he turned out to be similar to his brother, I didn’t even question myself on giving him a dummy. I sent J to Target and he came back with every brand of dummies they had, and we found what worked best for him.

Of course, then we went to physical therapy after his lip and tongue tie revisions and the differences between nipple shapes was explained to me and we started working on him being able to get a good latch on a soothie (the ideal paci in terms of latch).

He’ll take a soothie now, but not for long. His favorite is MAM, but we’ve found a good compromise with Tommee Tippee (its nipple allows for a better tongue curl and latch).

Thing is, Sweet M loves his paci. We’ve got a million of them because things get harry when we can’t find one, and we simply never have enough.

Sometimes he nurses to sleep, but often he wants a dummy in his mouth and to be laying on my chest to fall asleep.

So as you can see, I’m not quite ready to pull the plug on him. It’s a comfort item for him. Kind of like chocolate and wine are for me. It’s not a loving thing to take those things away.

I hope he naturally outgrows it. I really do.

But I also no longer have those strong feelings that I did nine years ago before I was ever a momma.

So if M is still taking a dummy when he gets married, future daughter or so-in-law, I apologize. But I get it now. Why toddlers and preschoolers still run around with them. Because I’m not sure I will know how to break the habit for him if he doesn’t do it himself. And more so, I’m not sure I will want to set an arbitrary age of when it should no longer be comforting to him: because how can I decide that?

And thus, the plight of the paci.

 

 

***The winner of the PinkBlush giveaway is Becky!!! PinkBlush will email you your gift certificate. 🙂

jfgg

Finn + Emma

It seems I only give birth to loud and very opinionated progenies. I have no idea where they got that from… But it has also extended over into their wardrobes from a very early age.

IMG_0802

Miss H was barely walking the first time I vividly remember her making a fuss about what she was going to wear. This resulted in her wearing a tank dress when it was freezing outside because – hey! – there are some battles that are just not worth fighting. And she still dresses herself to the nines, as does Mr. B (who’s often a pretty swanky dresser, if I might say so myself!).

So I’m definitely cherishing whatever time I have with Sweet M’s wardrobe. Because I like clothes. Really like clothes. Especially cute, tiny, baby clothes.

IMG_0809

So when I saw Finn + Emma, I was in love. How could I not be? Perfect, adorable baby outfits that let babies actually be dressed like babies. Soft, organic cotton that he can move and groove in.

If the buttons on the onesie and matching shorts weren’t enough to put me over the edge, the hat did it. There is something about adorable matching baby hats that get me every time. I mean, how cute is Sweet M!?

IMG_0816

So if you’re looking for some great-quality, organic, ridiculously adorable outfits for your babe, be sure to check out Finn + Emma! You are not going to want to bypass this great brand!

 

 

 

 

Full disclosure: I received this outfit free from Finn+Emma, but all the thoughts and views are genuine and mine.

 

Dropping the Ball on Summer

I dropped the ball on summer this year. Seriously. Best laid plans and all that jazz.

My poor, deprived kids (that’s total sarcasm there; they’re a lot of things, but pathetic they are not). They’ve missed out on so much this summer. I had grand plans of winning the summer, but alas.

jhyg

Touch-A-Truck? Messy Mania? We didn’t go. It was hot out and story time was inside and air conditioned, so I never even gave them an option.

County fair? They don’t know it’s going on. It’s bloody hot out and I don’t need to eat all that junk food (and Lord knows the only will power I have is the “I will eat it if I see it”). I don’t want to spend a gazillion dollars on overpriced rides that will probably give us tetnus anyway. Sorry, kids.

The movies? We still haven’t seen The Jungle Book or Finding Dory. I kept saying yes, but then…every day lunch and naptime happens. And I lose my motivation. (There has to be some irony to the fact that I snuck out at bedtime last night to go see Bad Moms with a friend though…)

gfgh

We signed up for the reading programs at the library and Barnes and Noble. “I got this!” I told myself. We read a zillion books every day. Bam! Easy peasy. But after a month I realized that for some reason actually filling out those damn sheets is excruciating: so, nope. No free books for you, kidlets.

All those free concerts at the park? They’re memories we will never have.

I had grand plans of taking them to the swimming pool. Well, it’s August now. Outside of swim lessons, nope. No recreational swimming, sweet dearies.

f

We will pretend that Mr. B doesn’t ask daily to go to the Children’s Museum, which used to occur every other month until Sweet M was born. Whoops. Next week, buddy. Next week. (Thank God he has no idea when next week actually is). I did send J to the Wonderlab with him once this summer. That’s kinda sorta the same thing. Right?

Summer art camp has come and gone. I told H I would sign her up for it this year. Eep.

I keep telling them we need to be on a media ban. At this point they probably think “ban” is synonymous with “binge” because then I’m all, “gotta put the baby to sleep – PBS, please babysit!”

untitled

From all that, I’d say I’m failing summer. Miserably.

Except my kids are incredibly happy. They are playing outside and telling me adventure sotries. They’re being so helpful. Doing their school work daily. Writing stories and building forts. Loving on each other and making music.

gf

So I guess, despite it all, I’m probably actually winning.

Somehow.

Feeling Good in PinkBlush + Giveaway!

Being Momma means no longer being first. I’m okay with that. I know it’s just for this season of life. Not that I will ever stop caring or worrying about my children, but I know that at some point they won’t be my sole focus in life. So for now, I’m happy making it all about them. That does not mean though, while I might skip out on a shower and eat more cold meals than hot, that I cannot be wearing cute, comfortable, stylish clothes while wrangling my crew.

IMG_0654

Like most mommas, however, after having a baby, I’ve been trying to figure out my post partum body. You’d think with this being my third baby, I’d have this down by now. Except with each baby it changes a little differently and never quite how I expect.

I do not want to sacrifice feeling good and looking good in my own skin. So I’m making the very conscious effort of choosing pieces for my wardrobe that are comfortable and stylish, and most importantly: me.

Also, I know I will be breast-feeding for the next several years, and then some if we have another bambino; so it is really imperative that my wardrobe be functional and adorable for this season of my life right now. Which means that I need clothes that are breast-feeding friendly.

IMG_0734

So when PinkBlush sent me this cute, breast-feeding friendly maternity/nursing dress, I was in love. It’s totally my pre-kid style of classy and feminine. It’s a style that I feel comfortable in and makes me feel good about myself.

Added bonus – this maternity/nursing dress  is lightweight enough for me to wear throughout the summer with some sandals, or to pair with leggings for the winter, so I will get optimal use out of it. It’s also easy to dress up or down: perfect for chasing my babes, as well as headed to the theatre with that gorgeous man who gave me these crazy kids.

PinkBlush sells fabulous women’s clothing (even for the most curvaceous of lovelies!), as well as maternity clothing. Much of their maternity clothing is also breastfeeding friendly, and fits the post partum body just right (read: my momma gut is well-hidden).

Whatever season of life you are in – momma or not – I urge you to check out PinkBlush and see what items you need to snag for your wardrobe; I guarantee there will be many!

 

*** PinkBlush has offered a $50 gift certificate to their store for one of my readers! I’m so excited for you guys!! Anyone can enter: you must comment below what your favorite clothing style is, and share this blog on your facebook page. The lucky winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, August 3, 2016! (Please note: If you have won a PinkBlush gift card in the past three months, you are ineligible for this giveaway.)

A Letter to My Daughter Before She Starts First Grade

Before you were born and I envisioned your academic career. I foresaw academic and/or parochial private schools; swanky and rigid uniforms that you’d feel were akin to a straight jacket, unwavering academic succession where your only goal was to be better than everyone else (and you would be, girl, I know you would be), perform well on the test, do whatever you would have to do to go to the Ivy Leagues some day.

And then you were born, and without uttering a single word you changed my whole world view. On everything.

I knew you were too unique and spirited for a uniform at such a young age; you would not be easy to mold into the robot I thought you’d be. You were so much more than a test score or a letter grade. You were more than the very finest schools could possibly offer. And let’s face it, we’d never be able to afford Ivy League anyway (although we both know if it were your dream and you did get in, I’d sell my organs on the black market to make it happen).

And so I shirked those deep seeded notions of what I was supposed to want for you, and instead embraced the you I was given . And oh – what a gem I was given!

As I slowly morphed into the free range, mostly non-punitive, let-the-children-lead momma I am now. I lavished in the idea of having you home with me every day, until I could no longer keep you here as mine.

As a quiet, introverted kid I longed to spend my days at home, away from my peers, in the confines of my room, learning anything and everything my heart could desire through the written word. I wanted to be one of those homeschoolers that everyone always talked about as being weird. I was weird. I’d knew I’d be okay.

And so as my heart and brain changed to be the momma you needed, I began daydreaming about our own homeschooling ventures. How our years would play out.

But you know what? You weren’t the little girl of those fantasies either. You were even better. So much better than I could have ever imagined: vivacious, outgoing, charismatic, and tenacious. You craved more than I could give you, which often left me filling not quite up to par when it came to playing the role of your momma.

So again, I had to shift my views and my focus. I all ready knew what wasn’t going to work for you; as I said, your spirit is too bright and precocious for much of the traditional world. So thoughtful, creative, and innovative.

So when the call came that you’d been given a spot to a school that fitted all of your needs, I came up with 100 reasons why it wasn’t going to work. Too expensive. Too hot. Too much time away. Too, too, too…

But then there was you. Beautiful, perfect you. Smiling, talking, engaging. All those “toos” were moot points because this is where you belong right now. Today. In this season of your life.

I learned long ago not to make sweeping statements like “all” or “never.” So I don’t know if this is a long-term fit, or if some day you’ll gravitate elsewhere. Maybe that elsewhere would be back home. Or maybe it will be further away from me.

But I do know that right now you’re going to thrive here. You are going to grow and soar.

And so long as we keep working as a team, listening to one another, it’s all going to work out and be okay. Even if I have to constantly be changing my views, shifting my focus, to make sure I am meeting your needs, and not too caught up in my own wants.

This is your journey, sweet girl. This is your story. You deserve to be the author of it, not me.

 

The Baby Closet 101

I was so excited to get the mail and find these adorable The Baby Closet 101 leggings waiting for me! Err, Sweet M. He might not fully realize it yet, but he’s a leggings-lover at heart. He’s my child; it’s not fully optional.

IMG_0670

These handmade leggings are so silky soft; they’re like a dream to put on. If Sweet M could speak, I am certain he’d agree. Alas, he cannot speak, so I must do all the talking for him.

And let me tell you, he loves them. He’s particularly fond of the tribal elephants (apparently he really like elephants – he told me).

IMG_0666

He loves that they can be worn with virtually anything, and will be adorable dressed up or dressed down, depending on what shenanigans he has going on that day.

They’re super well-made and fit easily over his cloth diapered bum with ease, but thanks to the stretchy material, they wouldn’t look baggy over a disposable either.

I chose a size 12 months for my 27″ and roughly 18lb little guy. There is a wee bit of room to grow, but I don’t think I’d have wanted them any smaller.

IMG_0663

As you start beefing up your babe’s fall wardrobe, I cannot recommend The Baby Closet 101 enough. Grab a few in different prints for your little guy or gal, and pair them with some cute tees (they offer a variety of matching onesies and hats that you’ll want to snatch up!), and he’ll be the swankiest dude on the block. And trust me, those are the things your baby is dreaming about at night.

IMG_0654

 

To the Tired Momma at Barnes and Noble

Dear tired Momma at Barnes and Noble,

I saw you today with your beautiful, spirited toddler. Your new babe, content in your arms. I see you weekly; you and I there, sharing weak smiles, sipping cold coffee, corralling rambunctious children. Occupying the same space, but not really knowing one another at all. We know one another’s children names, but alas, in this role we call motherhood we’ve become nameless, simply referred to as someone’s momma.

I told you how beautiful your baby was today. And then I asked you how were doing. I saw you, that look in your eyes, wondering if I was actually asking how you were and wanting a genuine answer (I was), or if you were supposed to just give the requisite “fine.”

In that half second you decided that this was a safe moment. That you could let it out. You told me you were exhausted (here, here, Momma!). You told me how jealous your toddler is of the new baby and you don’t know how to handle it; you feel like you’re failing while everyone else can handle two with ease. You told me how your baby doesn’t sleep through the night, and your first babe slept through the night at seven weeks. But she was formula fed, you tell me, and this baby you’re breast-feeding. I can tell your proud of this fact, but you continue: she was born tongue and lip-tied, and that was nothing but anguish. You had the surgeries done to her as the lactation consultant you saw for over a month advised you to do. It broke your heart, causing your baby pain; doing those stretches daily. But now that it’s done you feel you must be committed to breastfeeding or all that pain would have been for naught. But you confess that you secretly wish you could give her a bottle and put her on a schedule like you did your first. But you won’t, you say. You shift the baby to your shoulder as you tell me how you’ve been battling plugged ducts and you thought it was breast cancer and ran to your doctor in fear (been there!). And you told me once again how so, so, so tired you are.

Then you looked at the baby in my arms, playing peek-a-boo while he nursed, and told me I was so brave to feed him right there.  You glanced at my big kids reading books while your toddler ran about and said you had no idea how in the world I could be so put together and functioning with three kids (I will let you in on a secret: I’m not). You said you see moms everywhere with two kids who seem to be so much more collected than you; whose kids seem better managed and behaved. What would have ever possessed me to keep going after the chaos of two?

I smiled – and I hope it came off reassuring – and told you it was crazy town, and it took a lot of time for us to get here. I wasn’t ready for baby #3 after having #2 either (and it’s okay if you never want a #3). And I agreed that two is hard. Babies are exhausting. And I told you that you were doing an amazing job.

I meant it. I really did. So I hope you heard me when I told you that your were doing a great job with those two little girls.

But I left it at that. You didn’t need me to say anything more. I knew you needed that place to vent. You needed to be heard, your feelings and exhaustion validated. A woman, a mother, in the trenches. You needed someone else to acknowledge your existence in that moment, in that space, in that circumstance. And I wanted do that for you.

Because I’ve been there, too.

I’ve had two babies. I’ve been exhausted (and I’m exhausted now). But it does get…different.

I hate to say better because that implies that right now is bad, and we both know that right now is good. It’s hard, Momma. Its so, so hard. But it’s also good. Beautiful. And I know you know that. I know you don’t need me to tell you to take the moments in; cherish them. That it goes too fast. Because you know it. You’ve had a baby. You’ve seen her grow and become a lovely walking, talking person. You know this time is precious. But you also know that you’re not denying or devaluing that when you quietly confess the realities of it too. It’s exhausting. It can be isolating and one of the loneliest times of your life. I heard you, Momma. Those feelings are valid.

Your daily flow will get easier. You’ll learn to manage it with ease, I promise you. It will never be rejuvenating to run off little sleep; but some day your baby won’t balk at sleep and be so needy. Your toddler will embrace being a big sister and the jealousy will ease as she settles into her new role in your family now. Some day you will be so glad you had those two little girls so close together. Because they’re going to be best friends. And the things they say and do as they grow together and build their friendship, nurture and solidify their relationship, will make your heart so happy that these exhausting months will simply be dust you sweep under a rug and mostly forget about. Until maybe one day when you see a tired Momma and recall that season of your life.

Momma, you are put together. You are functioning. You’ve got this! Those little girls were so happy. They were in clean clothes (and so were you!). They knew and felt your love. They were in a bookstore. That speak volumes.

I know there are days where you feel so exhausted that your bones hurt. You wonder if it’s even safe for you to drive with your precious cargo you’re so tired, but you know that if you don’t, if you don’t get out of the house, that you might just break. So you do. You did. You made it to the bookstore. Anxious, tired, a little overwhelmed. But you made it.

These day are so, so long. But the years are so incredibly fast. You’re doing a good job, Momma. You’re doing a great job. I know you’re tired: this is one of the most exhausting rolls you’ll ever have in life But dear, sweet, tired Momma at Barnes and Noble, you’re doing an amazing job.