Thursday, January 27, 2011

Shared Victories


I was thinking about my week trying to decide on a good topic for this "Bigger Picture" post. I thought about how our molars are coming in and how that has made this a week of less sleep for all of us. I thought about how we have learned new words like "batteries" and to say funny phrases like "C'mon guys" when bringing stuffed friends upstairs to play. Or how just this week we have mastered the sippy cup. (Prior to this week, our only sippy cups used straws and the idea of tipping a non-strawed cup backwards to drink was completely foreign. But now, we are proud sippy cup spout users!)

Suddenly I realized that everything is a "we". All of our challenges and all of our victories are "we" moments. Admittedly, when Ben's teeth are cutting through and keeping him up, he feels the pain more than we do. But we are right there with him, holding him, rocking him, dosing him with Motrin. The next morning when he is dazed from a lack of sleep, we are in the same boat. When he is trying to accomplish something that he doesn't yet have the motor skills for, we also experience feelings of frustration. When Ben learns a new word or masters a new skill, the victory is his but the elation is shared by all.

 Parenting, like marriage, is a team sport. Nothing takes some of the frustration out of a struggle like when you realize you are not struggling alone. Just as nothing seems to multiply the joy of an accomplishment quite like sharing it with others. It's a great team to be on.

For more "Bigger Picture Moments" click here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Let it flow

I am starting to think I need to call this blog "Food Wars" instead of "Nap Wars". Because sleeping hasn't been much of a problem (except for those two year molars) but eating is a whole different battle. When it comes to the toddler menu, it consists mainly of chicken fingers, fries, noodles, and fruit. And bread. Lots and lots of bread. Turns out Ben is a carb-lover like his mama. Vegetables are always present on the plate but getting them to be eaten is like trying to dig a six foot hole in the ground. With a teaspoon. In January. 

We have tried everything we can think of to turn our finicky eater in to the "Toddler who eats well" (Which is probably an urban myth anyway). We have served whatever we were eating ourselves. We have tried to serve favorites like blueberries or cheese with the less desirable peas or green beans. I have made vegetables like my southern in-laws - lots of butter and salt. We have tried bribery - everything from "If you eat a bite of this, you can have another bite of that" and "Do you want to get down and play? Just one more bite!" I am not proud of this, just trying to illustrate to what lengths we have gone to try to get our son to eat something with some kind of nutritional value. (No offense to you, Macaroni and Cheese, I just know that your nutritional content leaves a lot to be desired).

Finally this weekend, it all came to a head. Ben was continuing to avoid eating breakfast and I enlisted the help of my husband. During the course of the meal, everyone lost their tempers and two of us ended up in tears. We finally had to acknowledge that NOTHING we were doing was working. It was like trying to slam a square peg in to a very small, very round hole. So we gave up. We let him get down and play. 

We finally realized that we were never going to turn him into a veggie lover. Or, for that matter, a meat lover. When he turned his nose up at lunch, we didn't fight him, we just let it go. At dinner time, he was served some of the same meal. This time, he ate. We did the same trick this morning at breakfast. We served a nutritious meal, and he ate what he wanted and then got down to play. At lunch he was served the leftover fruit from breakfast and he gobbled it up, along with last night's chicken nuggets. He turned his nose up at the peas, but hey - they can't all be winners, right? Besides, he's not missing them. He'll see them again at dinner.

This probably seems really permissive, and I don't mean for people to get the idea that he is only eating graham crackers and popcorn. Though I am sure that would be his ideal meal.  The stress and aggravation of trying to force-feed him peas or Lima beans just wasn't worth the outcome. Three forkfuls of veggies or chicken cost hour upon hour of anxiety, stress, anger, frustration, guilt, and tears. And Ben didn't like it much either. 

I think we are just now learning to pick our battles. That some healthy food is better than none at all. That meals are meant to be enjoyable, not stressful. That a happy relaxed toddler is probably likely to eat more than one that is crying and screaming to get down. Sometimes I think we are w-a-a-a-a-a-y behind the learning curve on this whole "parenting" thing. 


Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Over the last few weeks, I have been contemplating Lasik surgery. I don't have big problems with my contacts, just tired of the hassle. As luck would have it, we have also jumped back on the infertility train. At the same time. Somehow, yesterday the two objectives converged on each other and it became apparent that one was going to have to take a back burner. No matter how I tried (and believe me, I tried hard - my father in law likes to call this "trying to shove two tons of fertilizer in to a one-ton truck") I couldn't get the eye surgery scheduled around the fertility stuff. And since it's frowned upon to be doped up on drugs and have surgery while pregnant, the timing became a factor. Finally, I had to make a tough decision and after many fervent emails back and forth with my husband and a couple of close friends, I decided to let the Lasik go for now. So what if growing a fetus sucks every drop of moisture out of my body so that I cannot even look at my contacts after about the twelfth week of pregnancy? What does it matter if breast feeding also acts as a giant biological sponge and keeps my hormones out of whack, continuing to prevent me from being able to stroke my vanity by not wearing glasses? Who cares if every pregnant picture reminds me of being in Junior High (right before I started wearing contacts)? At least we would be getting this baby train on the track, right?

Wrong. I was very excited to call my OB and get this ball rolling. Or eggs stimulated. Or whatever. So I called and went over my whole menstrual schedule with the nurse (which isn't so much as a schedule as "my body ovulates whenever the heck it feels like it" but you get the idea). She then informed me that while we could start the Clomid (Hooray!) that I would likely not be able to do the IUI this cycle (wha-?) as my ovulation day would likely be over the weekend (you see how my body is against me?!) She said they would at least bring me in for a sonogram and we could try on our own. You know, because we have been so successful with that so far. Needless to say, I made the appointment as quick as I could and hung up so as to not cry in her ear.* 

I called my husband and cried in his ear instead. He made lots of lovely soothing noises and was very kind and understanding about my disappointment. Of course, I immediately started trying to figure out ways to have the eye surgery instead. He tried to point out to me that it was still not likely to happen but only after several minutes of banging my head against the proverbial wall, did I finally let it go. I found myself gazing upwards and saying "Alright, alright! I get it!"

The thing is - I am not good with feeling out of control. I hate not knowing what will happen next and feeling like there is nothing I can do to affect the outcome. Which I think was the lesson here, and probably the whole point. No matter what I think is going to happen or what I try to schedule, arrange, force, coax in to happening - in the end, it's not up to me. It's God's plan, not mine. I don't get to decide what comes next. He will make that decision for me and whatever it is, it will be the right one. All I can do now is let go. 

* I would just like to note that one of the suckier things about infertility is that you are often dealing with disappointment/bad news at the same time that your hormones are taking a nosedive making you that much less able to cope with what would normally already be very stressful. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bigger Picture Moment: All better

Last night, I turned my computer off and dashed out of work at lightening speed. It was already dark and the roads were slick so I couldn't go as quickly as I wanted to. As is always the case when I hurry, I felt like I was hitting every light on the way.

I made it home in a decent amount of time and dropped my coat and purse on the table, kicking off my shoes as I raced up the stairs. I reached the door and slowly pulled it open to a view of my husband and son in the rocker reading a book. "Hi Momma! Rock momma!," he requested in his little voice. I shot a questioning look over his head at my husband who very graciously said "Go ahead" and got up to give me his seat in the chair. I should have felt guilty, I suppose, but I didn't.

I sat in the rocker and pulled Ben into my lap. He snuggled right up on my chest in his warm fuzzy pajamas, his tattered space man toy clutched in one hand and two fingers from his other hand in his mouth. My husband shut off the light, and closed the door as I turned on the music. I bowed my head and we said our bedtime prayers. As I said "Amen" I silently added an additional "Thank you for this moment, Lord."

Yesterday was not a great day. There was no specific event that I could point to as far as what made it bad or where it was lacking. It was just one of those days that was a little bit trying, a little frustrating, kind of a blah day. But it ended great. It just takes a few goodnight kisses and cuddles to bring it all back in to focus and make everything "all better".


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's Here!

I haven't posted since my renovation. I have no good excuse. We have been visiting with family and trying to get back in to our groove since the holidays wrapped up. I find myself in the middle of something ridiculous and thinking "I should blog about this" but then lacking the time to sit and actually write a single word. But yesterday, something fabulous happened and I had to find a way to document it.

A few months back, Heavenly Sarah wrote a wonderful post about her first car. Apparently, her family made her think she was getting a rusty clunker rather than the fun car she wanted as a joke. What I might have shared at the time was the same thing happened to me - only there was no joke. My first car was a rusty clunker. Much like Sarah, I kept hoping for a punchline, a "Ha ha! Just Kidding. We would never expect you to drive that!" but it never came. So, I drove an '85 Buick Skylark that looked like the before-ad for "Rusteeze Medicated Bumper Ointment". The car had a bad carburetor and the engine frequently flooded. I often found myself walking rather than driving. Unfortunately, frequent repairs made it difficult to save money for a newer, better automobile so that was my car until I left for college.

Since that first car, I have been the owner of a few other, better automobiles. Each have had their issues and each have been at least five years old. My last automobile was a '97 Cavalier Coupe that my husband traded in for a 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee. He drove the Jeep and I drove his old Honda Accord right up until the birth of our son, when we then switched to accommodate the bulky car seat.

Finally, this past week, we were ready to trade the Accord for another family car (read: SUV). Yesterday, we picked up our brand new 2011 Honda Pilot. This time, I would be driving the new car. I was able to pick the style, the color, and the accessories. It is the first time I have EVER owned a new car. A car that no one else has sat in. A car that I know has never been in an accident, has never missed an oil change, has never had a drink spilled in it or a snack ground in to the carpet.

I am the mother of an almost two year old, so I know full well that it's only a matter of time before I see goldfish remnants on my seats and juice cups on my floor mats. But right now, I am basking in the joy of the new car smell. The feel of clean leather seats. The view of my son in the back seat in the "conversation mirror". Last night, I kept peeking in the garage to make sure it was still there.

It's highly likely that we will not buy another car for a long, long time and when we do, it will likely not be brand new. My wise father-in-law says "A new car is a used car as soon as you drive it off the lot". He's right. My beautiful car is already "used" by any dealer's definition. But, in this case - it's used by me. And it's mine.