Reflections On Motherhood…A Ramble

This morning I was ruminating about being a Mom. I will say I am probably a little bit different than other Moms though.

For one, my children are spread out over a nineteen year period, with a fairly long break in between the first two and the last two. My oldest was born in 1989. He will be 25 this July. Then I have a daughter born in 1993, June, who is about to be 21. Then the dry spell set in. We had decided that two, after all, was enough. Even though we had originally talked about three or four. We were content with our little nuclear family. We had covered our bases…we had replaced our selves. All was good.

But then the girl started to ask for a younger sibling. Repeatedly. I told her to talk to Dad; that I was fine with it, but it had to be mutual. This went on for a while (like 3 years). Then in 2002, Daddy said yes. Now to be honest here, he claims he doesn’t remember agreeing to have another child, but as I was on some pretty heavy duty medications at the time due to an auto accident, I wouldn’t have started the process of weaning myself off them if he hadn’t. So the “trying” began. And it took a little while…I conceived baby numero tres and she was born April 2004. Just turned ten. And, Oh! What a difference eleven years made on motherhood!

For one thing, I was now thirty-seven years old…Yep, you read that correctly. 3-7. So no longer flush with youth, ha ha. It was much more nerve racking this time around. Now true, we had a LOT going on…and I mean A LOT. So the stress levels were higher to begin with. But I was also aware of all the things that can go wrong, so I was a nervous wreck for the first few months. Strange but true…at twenty two, with the first one, I breezed through everything, and now, fifteen years later, I was a basket case. Everything changed…no more sleeping on their tummy…had to put them “back to sleep”. Walkers were banned…too many accidents. Breast feeding was more encouraged (I breastfed all four of my babies) which was great. And so many other little things. 

So how did we get to number four? I didn’t want number three to be an “only child”. With that eleven year age difference between the sisters, I knew that both older kids would be out of the house long before the baby was even a teenager (or that was what I thought…the oldest is still at home. But that is a whole other story…) We had setbacks, several of them. Daddy wasn’t really sure about adding another member to the family (luckily, he came around!!). But we (I, lol) got lucky, and one finally “took”

Baby number four was born in 2008…on April Fool’s Day. Which seems appropriate. You would have to know her, but she is such a surprise, and a blessing…Our miracle baby. Truly. I was forty-one. My equipment was a shambles, and as my ob put it to me, my “fertility is waning but it could still happen”. Placenta previa. Oh yes…a miracle. At least to me. And now six years old. Wow!

But there are challenges. Like when the littles are screaming at each other, and my forty seven year old nerves are about to snap. Or the eye roll…oh no she didn’t. Or the whining that is like nails on a chalkboard. Or when numero uno tells me that I am too easy on numeros tres and questre…But I digress…Maybe. 

So here I am today, reflecting on motherhood. The ups, the downs. The good, the bad, and the ugly. 

Example:  Yesterday I earned serious mommie points when I took the two littles to the local spring fair and let them run wild…Don’t get me wrong. They bought their own bracelets for the rides ($20 each) with birthday money from G-Pa. But I let them go crazy, and we didn’t rush the evening…we closed the fair down. They got their moneys worth. It was worth the backache. 

                Today, points lost: Numero quatre tells me she hates me because I was in no hurry to rush to Wally World so she could spend the birthday gift card her uncle sent. Eh, you win some, you lose some. (BTW…she ended up wearing me down, and is now the proud owner of a fashion Barbie with three outfits. LOL)

Each one of these amazing people that I have brought into the world is a unique, special, and wildly different person than their siblings…while sharing some basic traits. They are all stubborn (think mules here folks); intelligent; talented. Loving (most of the time). And even though I have had the occasional urge to duct tape one to a wall, I wouldn’t change them (well…a tweak or two? Maybe, lol)

I am a Mom.  Not a great one, admittedly, but they have all survived well past weaning, so that counts, right? Right? Bottom line: I love my kids. All of them. Warts and all…(again, another story, LOL)  

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“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”

A friend just suggested that I do a blog about a daily prompt. I have enjoyed reading hers immensely, but my immediate response was “I don’t know what to say!”…Fast forward three minutes, and suddenly, I do have something to say.

We have all heard the expression “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” at some point during our lifetime. Never was it more true than today during an interaction with my third child, my mini-me, my Claire.  This is how it played out:

Me: “Claire, your room is a mess! Absolutely filthy.  You really need to get in here and clean it today. Umm, why is there a dirty sock under your tv stand? And a belt? And a candy wrapper?…Yuck!  Sweetheart, you really need to spend some time cleaning up this disaster area”

Claire: “It’s my room, why do I have to clean it?  Why is nothing I do ever good enough for you?  Why do you hate me?  Why…why…why?” (getting the general gist yet?)

Me: “I don’t hate you and you have to clean the room because it isn’t healthy.”  This goes on for an eterni…well at least 5 minutes.

Exit, stage right.  Next thing I see is Claire coming out with handfuls of papers, heading for the trash.  Then she grabs a garbage bag.  Hmmm…Something is afoot…Yes, she has packed up all of her toys into the bag, brought it to me and requested that I take them to storage and keep them there “Until I am 10, because I am obviously not mature enough to have these toys” (??)

She comes back out of her room a little later and asks me if I would like to see what she had been working on.  She then shows me a card she was drawing for her favorite Build a Bear, Princess.  “I was going to give this to Princess.”  “Well, why can’t you? (knowing the answer)”.  “I packed her in the trash bag”, she whispers.  “Well, go get her out.  Why would you put your favorite bear in a garbage bag?  Mommy never said to pack all your toys away. Just clean up the floor so people can walk in your room.”  Princess is rescued from the bag, and Claire decides that maybe all she needed was to pick all of the toys and stuffies up and put them in a toy box (or bag).  All is now well.

Sigh…this is the apple part.  I have to admit that I would have probably done the same thing…Complete with dramatic sighs and forlorn looks from under lowered lids to see if the pathos was getting through.   I am the original drama queen, and my mini-me is following solidly in my footprints.  What to do?  I did what I thought best…I pulled her close, hugged her tight, kissed the top of her head, and told her “you are just like me.  I love you”  I love my mini-me.  Drama and all.

apple on a tree

“I HATE you mom”…

To hear the words “I hate you” from the mouth of your precious little angel is probably one of the hardest things a Mommy (or Daddy) can hear. Unfortunately, I have been hearing it a lot lately from my youngest, Sophie. At four and a half years of age, she has determined that the best way to get back at mommy for all of the wounds I inflict on her daily is by saying “I HATE YOU” in a loud tone, with emphasis. What wounds, you may ask?  Horrible things like asking her to “do things” (pick up her toys, shoes, clothes…not eat candy before dinner, go to bed…etc), or not allowing her to “do things” (stay up all night, eat on the sofa), or making her eat brussel sprouts…oh wait, that is her brother. But I digress…

It makes me thing about the first time I heard it. The dreaded “H” word…21 years ago, from my oldest, James. I don’t remember exactly what  triggered him to say it, but I do remember the dagger that went through my heart when he did (What have I done? Why does he hate me? I am such a terrible mother!)  I  cried, so heartbroken was I.  And really, I should have been prepared, because my own mother had told me the tale of when I said it to her when I was about two!

Now, I feel I am an old pro at handling the “H” word…after all, I have not one, but three older children, so it isn’t as if I haven’t heard it repeatedly over the last 22 years. But that being said, each time I hear it, it evokes a slightly different response.  The mature response…and the one I diligently attempt to use, is the “I am sorry you feel that way. Remember that I always love you, no matter what.” one. Sometimes it is the “Fine, if that is how you feel, then go to bed” response.  Of course, some days are better than others, and today I found myself stooping so low as to reply “and I hate you too, so there!”. So she said it again, and I said it again, and…get the picture? Not one of my shining parental moments, no.

That being said, I didn’t really feel too bad about the entire exchange. I look at her and see every day the special and unique individual that she is becoming, and I cherish her moments of rebellion, even as they frustrate me, because I know it means she is growing up. Each child must go through this, in their own way and time, as part of the process of maturing. I survived it when my son said it, all those years ago…and I will survive it this time too.

And if I stoop to her level for a minute and say “I hate you back!”, that is okay. Because she knows I don’t mean it any more than she does. Mommy is just being a little childish…and don’t we all need that every now and then?

the wee hours

We talk about the “wee hours” of the morning, but as I have grown older (and having borne 4 babies) “wee hours” takes on a whole new meaning.! Waking up before I am ready, then lying in the bed, tossing and turning, trying to go back to sleep, while the discomfort grows and grows is enough to make you just a wee bit cranky, especially if you are not a morning person (and I am not, lol!).

This morning I was awoken before dawn to my hubby getting ready for work (He does his best to be quiet, but I usually wake up anyway). I rolled over and tried to fall back to sleep  only to hear the pitter patter, tip tap, clackity clack of doggie toenails restlessly pacing on the wood floor. My dog, Jumpy, who is getting up there in age, was also trying to get comfortable. I realized, lying there, that her bladder is at least as old as mine; and even if she has never had puppies, she must be feeling the same discomfort as I am.  So out of the bed and off to get the leash I went to give her some relief. That way at least I won’t step in a “wee” puddle, know what I mean?

Back in the house when she was done I decided to stay up and start my day early. I was able to drink my coffee in peace,  enjoy a few minutes of quiet, play on the computer, and get to the laundry that never seems to end, all before the girls awoke for the day. Maybe the wee hours can be the best hours after all…for me and my dog. 🙂

Happy day all!!