A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Tag Archives: comfort

Life as Pictures

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Naturally this is a full mug of lukewarm tea despite persistent…possibly overzealous…microwave reheatings.

 

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Have I mentioned I plan to have Little Man wear a diaper to high school?

 

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If it looks artistic, I don’t have to feel like a shlub for leaving toys everywhere, right?

 

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My kids will have kids of their own, and I will still find Cheerios from time to time.

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Sharing is Caring

I don’t have siblings, so this whole two children in the same home thing is pretty jazzy for me to ride through. I have many favorite things in my parenting journey, and taking part in the sibling experience is among the top, especially now that Mr. Man is three-and-a-half and Warrior Queen is eighteen-months. They’ve been interacting for a while now, but my children are on the cusp of playmatedom; I can’t wait to see what this next phase holds!

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(I’m not delusional; this is what it’s like to raise siblings, right Shutterstock?)

Big brother is Warrior Queen’s favorite person among a small crowd of people she is quite fond of. I often stare at her silently as her eyes follow my son in his independent play. So often she has a unique smile when her brother is involved, and everything her brother suggests is the gold standard of what needs to occur.

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(Why that’s an incredible idea, Big Brother! Thanks for the swanky hint, daddytypes.com…)

I took away her bottle a couple of months ago when it was obvious she was no longer using it for milk sustenance. Fazing out the bottle in itself wasn’t an issue; getting Warrior Queen to consume milk without it has been. Water from a cup has been a non issue, but she only is willing to drink a sip or two of milk before she hands the cup to me and trots off to dismantle something. There was an intervention that seemed promising, but didn’t last…or at least it is unsustainable. Warrior Queen was willing to drink from a regular cup and straw when she saw Little Man doing so. It was the cutest thing. I asked my son to show his sister how the deed was done. Her concentration on him is something unique to his very existence. She immediately accepted the straw she refused mere moments prior. Between the two of them trading off sips, most of the cup of milk was drained…after all, Mr. Man loves his milk. But, unless that very process is repeated where he is directly involved in getting her to drink from the straw, she has almost nil interest. But, the pride beaming off of Little Man when he taught his baby sister to use a straw almost makes the ordeal for each and every milk episode worth it…almost.

Warrior Queen is a good eater…like her brother, and she seems to have an endless appetite these days. I’m not sure where she is keeping all the food she’s ingesting.

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(I’m sure BBC is on the cusp of discovering that black holes are the stomach of a toddler who loves her food.)

Dinner is an especially interesting experience. She will eat her fill of whatever I served, as well as Little Man. Invariably there are some remnants on my son’s plate. Warrior Queen waits patiently until he departs his chair, and every time climbs in front of his residual setting and cleans her big brother’s plate.

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(Leftover cold and vaguely recognizable food? Game on! Thanks Little Rock Family.)

What is especially amusing is she will scavenge every morsel even if it was an item she refused of her own serving. I don’t know if Mr. Man fully realizes this extraordinarily reliable occurrence. The one time I mentioned his sister would finish the cod he left, he immediately shoved almost half a child-sized plate of fish in his mouth in one nauseating stroke.

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(It’s all mine…MINE! Thanks, Pinterest.)

So on the one hand this kind of thing would totally chap his ass if he knew, but on the other hand he might be too involved with the first of his several after dinner treats to care.

And, there is the multitude of small loving moments…the two holding hands in the back seat as we journey to our every day. Little Man will scratch Warrior Queen’s back. Occasionally I’ll bathe the two together. After both are clean and it’s time for play, they will sit in companionable quiet, occasionally trading cups in perfect unspoken harmony. Periodically, Little Man will fill a small cup with warm water and coat Warrior Queen’s back to keep the air from chilling her small body. Sometimes she won’t acknowledge the gesture, but other times she will look up to him before resuming her activities.

But, not everything is well received. Mr. Man wanted my husband to retrieve his grotesque dog from behind the sofa. My husband asked Warrior Queen to complete the favor; my son empathically refused to accept the dog unless it was from his daddy’s hands.

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(You’d be all over picking up this toy too, wouldn’t you Flickr?)

Then there was the other day when Warrior Queen was quite distressed, as she often is when there is a combination of something unimportant happening and she is ignored for too long. On this specific occasion she wanted me to place a silly fishing hat of sorts on her head, but her ability to communicate her needs was halted by a preschooler chasing her around the kitchen assuming a hug and kiss would make the world right again.

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(Pretty sure this is how Warrior Queen saw the situation.)

It was loud and annoying until Little Man finally cornered a disgruntled and whining toddler, gently wrapping his arms around her and laying a light smooch to her cheek. There are many conversations I have with Little Man about receiving consent before touching other people’s bodies, but sometimes the need to fix what is ailing his sister is too much for him to ignore. Shortly after Warrior Queen was appeased with her costume, and scampered off to destroy a room and probably tamper with a wall outlet unaffected.

I can’t stand people tickling me, but Mr. Man loves few things more than a hard core ticklefest. I don’t get it, and I don’t particularly love that he descends on his sister with this singular motivation to share an experience he adores. It seems, at the moment anyway, that she isn’t opposed to tickles in and of themselves. Warrior Queen is quite assertive with her displeasure, and I always wait for her screams when her big brother is in one of these rough play, tickling moods. But, more times than not she will be amused and giggle like no one else can bring from her belly, and she will smile in anticipation until he resumes.

Now that they are growing older there are more events of them sitting together “reading” stories. Sometimes Mr. Man recites her favorites to her…sometimes they sit together on the floor and page through the pictures independently yet coupled.

Sometimes they build towers together. Mr. Man will begin by asking me to build him something, but shortly thereafter he wants me to watch him and Warrior Queen take turns stacking things before the structure crashes to a shambles and they begin again.

Often they sit next to each other on the sofa throwing their backs into the cushions until the section they are sitting on is gradually positioned across the room. A common occurrence them running and climbing over each other, scaling the piled length of the sectional. When there are cushions on the floor they dive off the sofa equally, all of it simultaneously delighting and driving me crazy.

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(Knockout Mag knows this is clearly the pinnacle of any day.)

Then there are the spoken words of support. Warrior Queen’s vocabulary seems to increase every week. Not everything is a complete word. More often than not she pronounces the first two or three sounds of words, but recently she started uttering “Mommy” and “Daddy”…well, mostly Daddy. Car rides to school frequently have Warrior Queen calling for my husband. Little Man usually responds, “Daddy is at work. It’s okay. You’ll see him tonight when he gets home.”

One of my new favorite routines is right before “quiet time.” I try to synchronize as much of the afternoon nap as I can; I’m usually successful to some degree. These days Warrior Queen climbs the stairs with me and Mr. Man. Excitement radiates off her as she staggers her drunken gorilla self to her big brother’s room. I read the same story before quiet time because I don’t want to be stuck reading a long story when I want nothing more than to eat lunch or relieve myself in the restroom. At this point Brown Bear has been read so many times that occasionally Little Man insists he’s the one to utter the tale. Most of the time, however, he only wishes to recite the final page. When it’s only me and my son, I’m not ashamed to admit I skip as many pages as I can get away with. But, now that Warrior Queen is privy to the routine, I wouldn’t dream of stealing one moment. Little Man half attends to the story most days, but Warrior Queen hangs on every page…every word, and my full attention is watching her every entranced expression. My son often tries to have his sister lay down next to him…or on him. She usually wants no part of it.

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(Warrior Queen just wants to hear the rest of the story!)

Little Man acquiesces relatively quickly to her needs…I think he loves her enjoyment of the story as much as I. I can’t explain it, but this small moment might be one of my favorites in any given day. It’s a quick blur, but I try to absorb each second hoping that it will stretch out longer than it ever does.

As territorial as he can be, my son adores having his sister play in his room now. Many days he requests that they have these private play sessions behind his closed bedroom door…she almost never cries for the short time these exchanges last. But, I think for them this infinitesimal period ranks above most of their times together. Sometimes I watch them through the monitor. I know they are okay…Warrior Queen will inform the entire house if she isn’t, but I simply enjoy watching them exist together without my influence.

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(This is what I can expect when the cherubs are left to their own devices behind a closed door…)

And, finally there is the sharing. Mr. Man is truly wonderful at sharing…on his terms…and when he isn’t in need of a nap. Outside of our home sharing is a nonissue to a relatively perfect degree. Having friends over I’ve had to be creative. It’s a new routine…before anyone arrives I have my son select five toys that will remain out of his friend’s reach with the expectation that everything else will be fair game. We will spend a good amount time reviewing play conditions before any arrival. It isn’t a perfect system, but it’s the most successful intervention in this arena thus far. Toy sharing with his sister is always a mixed bag with Little Man. Usually he attempts to force random toys on Warrior Queen regardless of her interest. But, so often when my son is eating something he enjoys…even if it’s cookies or ice-cream, or it’s something he knows his little sister appreciates; he independently takes a piece from whatever is his to give to her. He will insist she partake…whether she likes it or not.

Needs Met

I received an unexpected call from a good friend. We haven’t caught up in ages. I think it’s the mark of middle-aged friendships that there is a basic understanding you will not speak for excessive amounts of time, but the conversations begin as though no time elapsed. It was a brief call; in transit. I gave her the thumbnails of events in the last six months, and found myself apologizing for their depressing, edged nature. I like telling jokes; I don’t like complaining…I suppose with humor it can be one of the same.

But, the morning was a reprieve from the draining monotony of my dreary, racing thoughts at times. Overall my life is a good one, but I’m definitively nursing some internal wounds at the moment. The week like the last one push me to concur the healthful benefits of community. I have a collection of wonderful people in my life; I’d certainly be lost without them. This morning, however, was a different sort of reprieve that gave me respite from the diverse waves of bombarding negative thoughts.

It was a beautiful morning, simultaneously cool and warm. My husband and I took the children to a local park. Mr. Man used a regular swing for the first time. It took some prodding, but he was giddy with excitement as I pushed him as high as I could muster. Warrior Queen has a death wish rooted in daring oblivion; Little Man almost punted his sister across the wood chipped enclosure as he swooped forward. I snatched the chain, jerking my son off the seat. He clung onto the swing drifting back toward me.

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(That’s actually the expression he gave me, and it was probably wrong for me to laugh.)

Warrior Queen wandered off in her typical drunken gorilla posture to interfere in the amusing activities of another unsuspecting child.

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(How did Daily Mail get a picture of Warrior Queen noticing that I opened the pantry door?!?)

Little Man is of the age where a parent realizes he can climb up…things…tall things, yet fears the windy swoop down. Eventually he determines he will not be owned by a staticy expanse of smooth green plastic, and takes the risk. I admire his bravery in all things. For Warrior Queen’s part, she enjoyed the softer slope of her own slide, even as fatigue began to take over. On her belly and smiling, she would lay her head upstream momentarily before requesting that I boost her up once again.

My husband and I had the rare moment to sit on a bench in the enclosure; both children momentarily independent. There were no great disclosures or profound remarks, it was just peaceful and comfortably warm for my soul to sit with him and laugh about absolutely nothing worth remembering. I suppose those are the most nurturing moments after almost a decade-and-a-half commitment.

I’d like to say this simple trip to a playground on a perfect autumn day is enough to compensate for the entirety of my struggles, but fortunately I encounter enough quantity to make a dent.

What does quicksand feel like?

My primary hope writing this is coherence, as I usually wait some time to have semblance of bearings with difficult things.  But, how do I even talk about this when I’ve always been such a failure at person-to-person discussions regarding things that are troubling for me?  I’ve been trying the last week using likely the wrong supports most of the time, but they are around during the day when I either have time to think about or look at my beautiful boy knowing this experience is not the same on such an important level.

I retook my three-hour glucose test, which was an experience generally less heinous than the last; probably a consolation for the eventual news that I’m still diabetic, but at least my values make sense.  They are different values this time.  For simplicity it is easier to name them, and I apologize for the air of droning such description entails.  This second round my fasting blood sugar lower, 76, but considering the last test had me at 80, I’m still a rock star on that front.  Whereas my first test had my first hour draw within range, yesterday’s was 207…well above anything remotely desirable (I think the maximum level allowed is 180).  My first test had my second hour draw nine above the range, but dropping as it is supposed to.  Yesterday’s rose to 217.  For my final draw three hours after chugging the drink that somehow missed its place in the history of noteworthy culinary excellence spiked to 180 when it should have been close to fasting levels.  That was the rub that had me retake the test; apparently with a fasting level of 80, such a spike is not possible.  Yesterday’s third draw level dropped off a cliff to 86.  The range would have respected a 140 level.  My dad said it’s strange to drop like that, but it sounds like it’s nothing that indicates a problem with the test.  Other than knowing there is a problem, I couldn’t describe much else.

The referral from my Ob-Gyn’s office is in transit as we speak.  I was told to call later this afternoon to make an appointment with the diabetes clinic.  So, there it is.

I can’t stop myself from crying about this whole situation; it’s been like this for a week now.  I’m not even sure why that is, but I’ve had plenty of people telling me not to worry about it because it will be fine (translation: You’re behaving like an overly emotional child.) or it’s for the health of the baby…maybe I’ll be added as a footnote (translation:  You’re behaving selfishly about your objection to experiencing this entire process.).  The thing is, I know all of this, and I can’t tell anyone why I’m so upset.  Yes, the prospect of stabbing myself with a needle seven times a day to check my blood sugar (I asked my endocrinologist to look at my blood work in the system, even though she will not be involved in the treatment.) leaves me nauseated with anxiety.  Apparently, it really isn’t a big deal as EVERY FUCKING PERSON begins to describe in great detail the specifics of the sugar checking experience and how minor this entire situation is.

My endocrinologist thinks I may very well need insulin; who knows…It isn’t like I have a handle on anything anyway.  Let’s just add to the situation because more is really moot at this point.  It’s just a flood of what the rest of this pregnancy will be like until I actually start the process.  I suppose I should feel sick by how dire my second opinion was regarding my results; honestly, I’m not.  I told my dad; he doesn’t understand her assessment, saying no one has a blood sugar result under 120 one hour after eating.  When you look at the test range, the lab agrees.  My gut tells me she wasn’t careful looking at my results for something she didn’t order and doesn’t routinely do; not the first time I’ve had this problem with her, but appreciate her willingness to help.  It was worth a try for some clarity before my first appointment with the clinic.  The desperation for a foothold I’ve been feeling for a week borders pathetic.  Maybe what bothers me so much is that I was too eager to reach out for something I knew would likely be unhelpful, but wanted so very much to believe that  maybe someone in this moment could give me a structure to clutch as I feel myself sink.

Yet, when I read her message, the floodgates opened, and I can’t control the weeping.  Why is that?  I’m not worse or better off than I have been.  Nothing is relieving this horrible pit feeling.  It’s just more waiting until the process begins.

I don’t know why this is so difficult.  I suppose I should have some deep Mommy dramatic crusade that I worry for the life of my daughter, but I don’t.  She’ll be fine, and behaving like a pain in the ass around our house in no time.  I’ll have to make whatever lifestyle changes this process requires; fine.  I can’t imagine it will be anything so dramatic that I’ll look like the lost tribe that managed to find civilization centuries later.  Okay, I have to do something about my chocolate intake; I’m sure I can figure something out as an alternative.  I’ve already cut it back almost entirely once I found out I had a problem with my glucose levels.  Sure, I don’t know what the specifics of my diet will be, but I’m fairly certain virtually freebasing anything from the cacao plant is out.  I’ve mentioned the needle thing; whatever, I’ll deal.  It likely won’t be the most painful or unpleasant experience of my life even if you disregard the blessing of vaginal childbirth.  I can’t imagine I’ll need insulin.  I haven’t found much online that is helpful, but the few message boards I’ve perused described women with more significant glucose issues who were managed with diet.  I have a friend having her second round of pretty severe and hard to control gestational diabetes; she didn’t need insulin.  I’ll get a handle on the appointments and classes and whatever else I have to schlep a toddler to who will undoubtedly save his best tantrums for such occasions…Do they make baby Valium?  Maybe I should take my own and let him do his thing…He’s cute; they’ll deal…

So, why am I an absolute mess when I think too much about all of this?  What is my problem because it very much is my problem, which I am reminded fairly frequently when I start trying to talk about it?  I know the people who love me have the best intentions, and it’s hard to know what to say.  Maybe it’s loneliness.  Maybe it’s fear, but I don’t know what I’m afraid of.  Maybe as much as I know I didn’t cause this to happen with this pregnancy, didn’t I on some level?

My son knows Mommy has not been her best the past week.  He gives me pats on  my thigh and sweet looks when I’m staring off into space.  He cuddles me and pats his sister with his delicate, small hands.  The Warrior Queen, however, gives me a strong jab, “Suck it up and push through.”

 

Red Rover, Red Rover, Come Hug Me All Over

Yet, another thing that probably makes me a terrible person.  Many times when my son is upset, not on the verge of a full blown meltdown, but losing his patience and generally feeling as though I am not properly tending to him in the moment, I will sit on the floor in front of him trying one of my various distraction techniques.  He’ll remain stationary for a moment fussing before limping along to me in needy pleads.  He doesn’t hug quite yet, but he will stand up and fall on me, almost gripping whatever part of me is in his reach.  I hold him, which usually does little to satisfy him, but I hold off completely meeting his needs because I love the feeling of him climbing on me in desperate bodily gestures.  Only moments pass before I embrace him in the way that is sure to calm, but I do love the rising climax…

Not all of his pre-contemplative hug gestures are as dramatic.  Sometimes he is silly or in an unspecified jovial frame of mind, and in need of cuddles.  I greedily absorb every minute of his fumbling movements toward me and his tentative climbs to a standing position, gripping my shoulders, falling into me.

I love it the most when I’m standing, and he burrows his head into my legs, arms outstretched and grabbing.  Then, he will look up at me, chin grazing my legs with an adoring look that he must model after me because how can he simply know that expression?  It’s at this moment when I feel that piece of myself traveling independently of my person with moments of connecting flow.

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