A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Tag Archives: parenting reflections

But, the Mosquito’s Dead

I often describe touching moments with my children…surprising events…cute, funny things I want to remember always once they are too old to touch me in these young ways.

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(Pinterest clearly understands gloating my precious family moments.)

Today, however, was not such a day, and I’m torn between wanting to deny this day’s very existence, or write about it hoping I won’t continue to be ripped once I’m finally able to sink into the oblivion I’ve been chasing for hours.

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(Why yes, Ranker, you captured the day’s family portrait perfectly!)

It’s a challenging time of year. My parents are here for the summer, making Little Man a perpetual buzz of excitement, and Warrior Queen intermittently disgruntled because someone else will be holding her, yet I have not compensated for the Mommy time deficit. Days that are only the three of us usually leave me craving some type of documentation that I seldom have time to produce these days.

The immediate morning was an omen, and frankly I knew I was in trouble when feeling an unwavering impulse to give Mr. Man to a circus if I thought they’d want him.

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(If everyone in Wikipedia’s picture was prancing around in a diaper, this would be our family room.)

I assumed the stars would align because I completed five minutes past my general morning exercise goal…It was a horrifyingly sad tease, and I’m still kind of bitter about it.

I figured if we managed to shuttle out to the library music program we regularly attend, things would be fine…per my usual experience with a hyper, silly preschooler. Warrior Queen was disgruntled from the get-go because, of course, she was. I’ve been giving her unending carrots and crackers because they are the only things that have made her disposition tolerable for days now. She might be teething…she might have to take a dump…or she might just be fucking with me in a twisted competition with her brother on who can behave like the biggest douche face in a single day…It’s a toss up, and I seriously considered efforts to convince both children that it’s time to go to sleep for the night…at ten in the morning.

My parents met us for the program. I receive copious comments on the wondrous nature of having help for the summer. I enjoy seeing my parents, but days like today as a prime example of the annoying difficulty containing the boisterosity I encounter leave feelings of nostalgia for when I go at things alone. Threenager was throwing hard, solid plastic egg shakers in the air…because nothing bad can happen with that decision.

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(Pinterest knew our attendance was a hit at the program.)

Fifteen-month-old Warrior Queen decides this is the one time she isn’t interested in a tether to my lap. She was on the perpetual move by any means necessary to achieve escape.

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(Dreamstime.com saw Warrior Queen’s reaction to any attempt at corralling the impulse of adventure.)

Thirty seconds transpired when both children nuzzled me in the most wonderfully snuggle infused touching way…It wasn’t enough. It’s almost time to go to sleep, and I still feel I need to beat my head against a wall to make the pain of this day evaporate into a good night’s sleep.

I invited a couple of friends over after the music program. One friend is a regular, so we both knew Little Man would likely make both boys cry throughout the visit…I still can’t believe they step into our home willingly. But, my other friend was new to the experience, and Mr. Man did not disappoint. There were moments seeing both boys play, her son with giddy smiles…until my husband’s demon spawn caused the little boy to clunk his head on our wood floor in some wincing way. The other two boys remained on their Mommy’s lap the entire span of the Thunderdome experience…their crying was minimal; a blessed paltry miracle perhaps?

Despite three removals upstairs for a good chunk of time, my son absolutely could not contain his excitement at having visitors.

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(“I. said. MOVE!”)

The most maddening aspect of what occurred today is that my son is mostly well behaved, sweet, and so considerate when we are out, at other people’s houses, whatever. When people come over, this type of thing happens every time. He simply cannot manage. It isn’t just the issue with sharing, which is also a problem. Little Man is entirely too rough. He thinks he’s playing, but the other children are usually overwhelmed. Unfortunately, most of the time I host at my house. My friends indicate their boys of similar age to Little Man have almost identical navigations with friends in their own domain. I continue to apologize well after awkwardness should set in…thank goodness for text. My first-timer friend texted me when she arrived home; her son said he had a great time. I commented that I think he hurt his head more than she thought.

My son continued to vibrate in jumping, clumsy giggles until I almost sprouted exploding snakes from my head, sending him to quiet time thirty minutes early.

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(Okay, Pinterest, your accuracy is getting a tad unsettling…)

He passed-out immediately…so did Warrior Queen who had mostly been fine with such a full house…probably because I’m phasing out her bottle. The only time she can partake is at noon until she goes down for the afternoon nap. Realizing today that it seems I’ve reached the threshold of her mostly losing interest in her bottle. Most the day I urge a sippy cup. Today she was actually receptive to the cup and dawdled with the bottle, not drinking from the bottle and continually dropping it. The only reason I maintain this narrow window is that she had been consuming sixteen ounces of milk in two hours. As of today that consumption sharply diminished. It seems that after this week there will be no more bottles for Warrior Queen. I’m relieved and a little sad about this transition for absolutely stupid reasons. But, I digress…

Kids asleep; the house was mine…MINE!

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(A situation so special I’d shave for it…possibly even above the knee!)

I finished my well earned remainder of my exercise routine while reading my smut. Improving sleep and concentration, I had been returning to my more high brow classical and impressive nonfiction selections, but not today, my friends. Today I’m lucky if my thoughts are coherent enough to use a more extensive vocabulary than “fuckity fuckface.”

Occasionally my son and daughter sleep three hours. It happens regularly enough that it isn’t a pipe dream…unless I’m having a craptastic day. In such cases I should rejoice they make it the reliable two hours without some random insect removal or lawn company ringing the doorbell, subsequently disturbing two pristinely napping children. I bitterly celebrated when Mr. Man lasted exactly two hours…Warrior Queen an additional fifteen minutes…because she actually loves her mother.

Mr. Man continued to behave like I dusted all of his food in PCP until well into the evening. Naturally this would be the very rare evening my husband needed to work late.

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(Channel the flowers…CHANNEL THE FUCKING FLOWERS, JUSTINSONMIA…woosah!)

I’m fairly certain my children had dinner. I’m also fairly certain that I did not…unless you count the glass I’d been chewing every time I attempted to take a sip of water. The entirety of the evening spent with my son head-butting, kicking, and tackling his sister; jamming his fingers in my face (I’m not entirely sure where his fingers have even been, but I’m trying to push that query aside.), and dismantling our sectional sofa by dislodging every conceivable pillow into a random pillow henge around our family room.

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(History.com knows what it looks like when you stop caring.)

Such an array of padding came in handy when he continually launched himself into impressive swan sprawls into the air.

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(You guessed it, Pinterest…I feel like I have my own Mommy-House photographer documenting my entire day…)

His sister delighted jumping on the sofa springs, which was fine by me because she’d been unpleasant unless she was on my lap ingesting a cracker…There had better be an arrival of a new tooth come morning…

I somehow managed to bathe both children. It goes without saying the bathroom flooded, but not as terribly as it could have been. I’ll go ahead and call that a win. My husband eventually making the grandest entrance any spouse could possibly conceive, which consisted of him just showing up.

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(Something like that, thanks, 98.5.)

Soon after my husband’s arrival home I shepherded Warrior Queen to her shut-eye. She was ready for the day to conclude as well.

I finally managed to eat dinner entirely too late, and hanger, my friends, is real; I’m becoming frightfully familiar with the such a state of being these days. While the omelet wasn’t as aesthetically pleasing as my random and absurd perfectionistic compulsion prefers, it was mighty tasty and contained cheese. But, the highlight of the day, hands down, was that damn mosquito I crushed with one artful hand clap before I was bitten. So, with my bloodlust quenched in a surprisingly gratifying way, I reflected on a day that, all things considered, wasn’t too bad.

Good Fun that is Funny…

It’s been three months with my daughter around.  I arrived at homeostasis, which translates that most days I don’t want to crawl into a hole from exhaustion, rather crawl into the same hole with a bag of chocolate hoping no one can find me.  Hyperbole aside, things are fine, even good, and I say that with a cold that my daughter and I share.

There are certain aspects to this new normal I concluded.  Pacifiers and mobiles are the ultimate peacekeeper, as well as shoddy forts.  I drape a blanket over his small table and two chairs, and my a-little-over-two-year-old son behaves as though I’ve erected the Taj Mahal, allowing me enough time to feed Warrior Queen.  I learned there is no conceivable way to manage two children so young in public without wearing one of them.  I also have come to understand that toddlers have a sense of humor that is mostly not funny, and involves stains or disinfectant in most instances.  But, the most prevalent aspect when reflecting on my new normal is the precarious Cat in the Hat style balancing game. 

(I long to be this cat…)

(Usually, I’m this one hoping to land in a kiddie pool of dark chocolate…with nuts.)

It isn’t an exaggeration to say that my current balanced life consists of at least one of the three of us unhappy at all times…with a generous coating of mom guilt.

I manage to complete one priority a day, praising my superior executive functioning capability once I finish.  If I am exceptionally lucky and the Earth tilts off its axis, two or three priorities can be accomplished.  Incidentally, bills and house cleaning don’t come close to making the list.  I clear maybe twenty minutes of true, uninterrupted time to myself during a typical weekday, and Mr. Clean can go screw with his friends Clorox and Pine Sol.

It’s hard to accept that I can’t do EVERYTHING, even if I had some notion of the full expanse of what everything entails.  I don’t like that someone is unhappy at all times.  I don’t like that often that someone is me.  I have to say, however, that I almost combust with love during unexpected, yet surprisingly frequent moments.  One of the most recent happened when retrieving my son from his quiet time this past week; I was dreading this rare occasion when he is inconsolably upset, awakening suddenly and wailing.  This particular disposition usually amounts to a couple of hours of frazzled caretaking that I pray my daughter sleeps through, though she never does.  But, on this occasion my son through sobbing gasps wanted me to tend to his unraveling sister first.  Her well being was more important to my little man than his need for Mommy cuddles and snuggles.  There are so many moments when I worry because my two seem to be perpetually waiting, and I feel all the more guilty when they wait as I attend to one of my needs…like eating…or using the restroom…or maybe something more frivolous still.  However, when I am witness to evidence that my son’s world is that we are all in this together, maybe, just maybe it will be okay after all.

Could…Would…Should…

Warrior Queen is just under three-months-old, and I am reminded of the most spectacular trait of newborns.  They are nothing but love; amorphous, moist beings of love.  Holding my daughter is often an all day event, but after feedings is prime smile time.  My fierce girl is so happy in these moments she looks as though she might split from her wide, beaming smile.  She wiggles ecstatically too, as though the smile consuming most of her face isn’t quite large enough; the happiness and excitement must spread throughout the rest of the body she hasn’t discovered quite yet.

Food works the same magic with me, so I cannot quite say she is behaving in a manner unique to her life stage, but when she looks at me, I often receive the same greeting; her brother too, and my father…my husband and mother notsomuch, but that is a post for another time…  I comment on this because my son was the same way.  Other parents concur.  While my case sample does not hold water against the strictest research standards, it is enough for me to conclude that people are just born this way.  Sure, there is colic and any litany of upsetting health issues that damper a baby’s disposition, but a garden variety infant is nothing but love that threatens to push out any potential seam.

I remember when Little Man was this age; my top parenting priority became preserving his capacity for love, pressing me to reflect on how one can even go about something like that.  Part of my ruminations yielded my realization that I must model love.  My husband, that’s an easy one.  My family, mostly easy.  My friends, no problem…because I like to think I don’t collect asshats in my life.  But, then there is the rest of humanity, and I concluded how I navigate through daily encounters is probably the most profound, especially when I don’t realize my children are watching.  I’ve always been generally polite, but never took any social initiative.  That is different now, and I found something interesting that I only recently noticed as my son grew old enough to irritate bystanders:  other children notice too.  I’m not omniscient, but that seems important.

It saddens me to read so much helplessness and hopelessness in the news and social media.  A wise supervisor referred to this phenomena as giving away our power.  A shame because love never leaves us; sometimes it remains dormant waiting patiently for our attention, but it waits nonetheless.

That Girl I Know…

My fierce girl even at a month old has defined personality characteristics.  She knows what she wants, and often it is to cuddle…at three in the morning when all I can think about is succumbing to my unconscious…  But, alas, how can I possibly deny a nine pound being with an expression resembling the finest among the Lollipop Guild fervently and unsuccessfully trying to shove both hands in her mouth simultaneously?

(She has the same hairline too…)

Everything about her has passion and determination; I hope this impulse always stays as the world revolves around her.

Babies her age don’t do much except make the most fantastic facial expressions.  The Guild face is a favorite of mine, but I also love her scrunched, puckered mouth with tiny tough darting through; I hope I remember it always.

Even so new, my girl knows when her mommy is not around, and insists I pay the piper whenever I take a few hours to myself, leaving her in capable, yet unsatisfactory hands.  She bides her time with the cuddles of others, and insists I not release her from my grasp for the remainder of the day after I return.  It never matters that I’ve held her hours preceding my outing; a debt is a debt…  If my back wasn’t so sore these days and the cuddling didn’t amount to me missing meals, I’d have no objection.  So funny for her to be this attached because she spent months attempting to push her way out my belly, particularly at the very end of my pregnancy.

It isn’t social yet, but the Warrior Queen smiles all the time; sometimes a slight smirk, but sometimes it fills her entire face.  She smiles in her sleep, looking at me with wide blue eyes, and especially when I softly stroke her cheek and hair.  She also is partial to back or tushie rubs and pats as she drifts off to sleep in my crooks.  It makes me especially tickled she experiences joy so easily when so often she has to wait in fits of tears for me to meet her needs…Mr. Man requires attention too, and sometimes his needs are more immediate for everyone’s safety… and sanity…

But, what I love most about my intimate acquaintance is that she is here and part of our days and lives.  I’d love a good night’s sleep and it feels like I’m perpetually thinking of little else, but she won’t cuddle and smile like this forever, so what’s a few dark circles and incoherent conversations?

Six Strategies for Surviving Gestational Diabetes

Regardless of the number of pregnancies experienced, a diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes can be devastating to even the most level-headed mother. Every woman experiences the impact of the news and intervention differently, but all emotions are valid and reasonable.  Gestational Diabetes is serious business, and it can take several weeks to accept, and even more time to feel relatively comfortable with the entire process.  Below are some tips I accrued so far through my process, and may you read them and be saved some of the heartache I experienced:

  • Utilize people’s support effectively.

Immediately upon informing friends and loved ones about your diagnosis, plan to be bombarded with unsolicited advice and commentary ranging from, “It isn’t so bad,” to “It is temporary/will be over soon.” After minimizing the diagnosis, your support will expect you to listen attentively as they provide dietary insight or the experience of random people with the diagnosis of Type II Diabetes.  All information obviously useful and helpful, so as you soak in all minutiae offered, sit in front of your computer and shop online for the hottest maternity trends you can find to fit you in the sunset of your pregnancy.  It’s best to open another window for mortgage applications because a maternity shirt does not come cheap.

  • Be well informed before your first appointment.

Blood glucose monitoring is paramount in helping you manage your diabetes. If any needle gives you a greenish hue, spend a few moments before your first appointment online researching medical ailments that will provide a reasonable alternative to anxiety as rationale for you vomiting in the nurse’s trashcan before you are about to puncture yourself for the first time.  The same ailment could prove helpful if you will need to inject insulin for unruly levels not managed by diet.

  • Try new foods.

Be prepared to eat copious amounts of nuts and cheese, and what better time to throw caution to the wind than during pregnancy. Peruse your grocery nut collection for your preferred assortment or choose something you’re not sure exists in the natural world.  The same can be said for store cheese selections.  At this point you likely lost track of the last time you had a successful bowel movement, so the increase of cheese array shouldn’t make much of a difference.

  • Focus on the positive.

Some may view the Gestational Diabetes diet as restrictive, but absence makes the heart grow fonder. What better time is there to creepily stalk all grocery bakeries and candy aisles, looking lovingly at your favorite treats?  But, pregnancy is the time for indulgence, so go ahead and enter the expensive candy store and hover close enough to lick and drool over the case or fancy chocolate packages.  All of these actions are preparation for planning the first meal on which you will gorge yourself once your system returns to normal after birth.  After all, don’t they tell you to ready food for the initial overwhelming and exhausting first days of parenthood?  The more thorough your meal plans in the beginning, the more relaxed you can be adjusting to your new normal.

  • Occupy young children.

Invariably your toddler or small child will act like a clown only when you are attempting to check your sugar level. Hand the precious darling a full box of tissues for the child to destroy; with that you bought yourself a good five minutes or so to puncture yourself seven times because the process evidently is more complicated than the clinic nurse indicated.

  •  Learn a new language.

Many women require insulin to manage their Gestational Diabetes, which is always a pleasant addition to glucose monitoring four times a day. Small children are sponges, and every profane word that escapes your lips as you muster the strength to stab your appendages guarantees that your children will repeat everything with remarkable accuracy.  With all of your free time and energy, generate a list of obscure curse words from languages you’ve never heard of.  The likelihood of running into someone in public familiar with the language is miniscule, and you will look like a cultured mother fully committed to your children’s enrichment.

As a final thought, I am full-term in a little over a month, and I’ve concluded that my placenta is a complete tool, and I absolutely despise it for pushing me into this situation. Like my glucose levels, my emotions are all over the place.  Sometimes I am not sure how I will make it through until the end, but I’m too exhausted to think beyond that hopeless rut much of the time until the wave passes.  I don’t have a solution; I only am able to manage moment to moment until random relief is offered.  I feel alone between managing my diabetes and balancing the tail end of my pregnancy, staying home with my toddler, and my other obligations.  The only helpful aspect of this situation is having a friend who recently experienced this with both children.  The entirety of this experience is still draining and frustrating, but hearing tales from someone else means that there is the remote possibility that I am not overreacting, and perhaps the end will eventually come.

Spanks for the Memories

Over the holiday season noticed a disturbing trend on my Facebook Newsfeed; maybe it was the emergence of the season of giving that brought to light certain voids in society. Regardless of the motivation, it appeared that there was an increase in random articles and commentary taking the time to illustrate society’s desperate need of returning to beating children into submission in order to ensure gratitude and respect from them.  This sentiment seems to cross religious, racial, and gender lines; which I suppose in some respect I should feel pleased unifying ideas are still possible despite the rigmarole of divisive atrocities that occur with increased frequency of late.

I, of course, am providing a hyperbolic and flippant characterization of this disciplinary idea passed in mass through social media. And, full disclosure, I almost never read the articles posted, when there are articles; much of the time, out of frustration, I don’t even completely read the status updates.  Really, it’s a cost saving measure because it will be expensive to continuously replace my laptop after throwing it across the room.

As a relatively new parent, I’ve thought quite a bit about the issue of spanking. It’s one of those topics people whisper at family gatherings, along with which relative has cancer or breast augmentation.  As an educator and social worker I decided not to completely decide how I feel about spanking that leaves a teary face and a slightly red bottom for ten minutes.  As someone who cultivated a career working effectively with at-risk adolescents and incarcerated individuals, I know enough to understand child discipline is complicated.  One thing is for certain in my mind, I cannot categorically denounce any parent who has spanked their child a time or two.  While I hope I never have to, knowing it is not my preferred intervention, I’m not so arrogant to think I am immune from the impulse.

What I find disturbing about this trend of disciplinary commentary is the assumption that (a) the past was so dramatically different from today and (b) that the only way to manage a child is through physical force no matter how mild the act of punishment.

In the most severe declarations of the need for mild corporal punishment I’ve read, crime is the crux of their determination. But, crime has been steadily decreasing, for the most part, since the 80s, but media coverage and the glorification of events for ratings have increased.  In my mind there is a link, but I don’t know of a study that explores the relationship.  I do know, however, that there is no causality for crime, only correlations in research; the strongest being societal exclusion and poverty.  These issues I’ve grappled with in my professional work for years; consequently, I’ve developed a bit of immunity from some of the commentary I’ve been reading from random people on the internet from keeping me up at night.

My second point, however, is something that rubs me quite a bit more raw, but I’m not so sure why.  Perhaps it is the perpetual oversimplification of human behavior.  Maybe it is what I interpret as a misunderstanding or an individual’s poor assessment of the issue.  A while back I read an academic article discussing the link between increased usage of media for communication and a decrease of empathy in children and adolescents.  This is not to say that our society is generating future criminals, rather developing people who lack the ability to communicate and relate to others, as well as a diminished conscience.  The article indicated, for example, that adolescents were less likely to see a problem with cheating on exams.  I’m aware that my readers will have to take my word on the existence and discussion of this article, as I can no longer produce it, but if one were to suspend this specific conflict, it is an interesting issue to consider even if it isn’t the entire picture of why “children are so ungrateful and disrespectful these days.”  As I mentioned earlier, this is a complicated issue, and if it were an easy fix with some brainiac possessing the answer, this specific social trend (if you believe it is, in fact, a social trend) wouldn’t exist in the first place.

With my single toddler and one child on the way, I am far from an expert, but I have learned a thing or two that a decade of work in the field never really touched. Discipline is an ongoing conversation with my kid that requires constant diligence.  As a mom who is my son’s primary caregiver during the day, it’s the choice to embrace the difficult path most of the time.  When he is running his laps on the sofa and I’m ready to collapse from exhaustion, it’s standing up to take him off the sofa once again.  It’s praising him for sitting on the kitchen chair the correct way instead of only chastising him for using the chair as his vehicle to dance on the table.  It’s an ongoing battle not for the weak.  Sometimes I’d love to simply plunk him in front of whatever asinine cartoon happens to be on television and nap.  When I have two, I may very well do that from time to time.  But, for me, discipline is about consistency of choice; most of the time I balance between my son playing independently and engaging with him in an activity.  I try to be proactive as much as I can, but I’m not always.  Sometimes I’m reactive and lose my patience, but most of the time I commit to grooming and modeling positive social behaviors I want to see.  It’s too early to know if my tactic will work, and the day may come when he or my growing daughter receive a spanking, but I like to think that spanking is not the only option for raising a good human who contributes positive things to society.

Blessings in Disguise

It’s been another one of those annoying days that began with an inkling of predestination.  I was awake at ten till six, well before my son’s historically reliable seven to seven-fifteen wake-up call.  But, as I quietly pad down our stairs preparing to accomplish a mere thirty minutes of exercise, I turn on our monitor and he’s stirring with his telltale signs of beginning his day.

It’s probably irrational the anger I feel when this happens.  A friend with similarly young children described that it is the disappointment of losing time that I had allocated as my sparse, “me time.”  Even as I write this post, my son refuses to play with his father in the other room.  Suddenly he possesses the compulsion to enter our office where I am diligently writing and wage battle with our soiled diaper collection bin.  When I decide to move the shit container not only closer to me, but straddle my legs around the contraption, thereby thwarting his plans, that’s when the banging and throwing of hard plastic toys against wood furniture ensues.  Even when he runs from the room screaming at my cruelty, I’m too traumatized to release the diaper container, which smells terrible, incidentally.

But, such is motherhood.  Even as early as it was, I immediately foresaw the depth of annoyance this day would bring.  Blessedly, I am at a point in my primary caregiver experience to be proactive; there was no chance I would be spending the entire day at home with a kid I knew would have trouble napping and spend his waking hours crying and tantruming.  I defaulted to my go-to emergency plan in such cases; a trip to the mall and attempt to rally the troops with a potential social call with any of my other Mommy friends who happen to be free for an impromptu outing.

I’ll spare the details of the day which amounted to strategizing on par with nuclear code protection, but suffice it to say that Plan F went off without a hitch.

Once we finally arrived at our destination, I used my time attempting to hold some semblance of a conversation with one Mommy available on such short notice.  Embedded in our conversation was the strong current of the drain, difficulty, and hardship of caring for our toddler children.  She shared in my reflection that this experience is relentless and all consuming regardless of my health or frame of mind.  The demand is that I keep giving as much as necessary of what my son requires at any given moment.  It’s easy to lose myself and to focus exclusively on the next available time for me to nap and eat chocolate without my son having a fit for not sharing enough.  She noted that I will soon have two; thanks for that…

But, as we were griping about what sounded like regret of this path in life, absent was the bitterness that one assumes with the content of our discussion.  Both of our children have the strong wills of toddlers, but on days like today mine is an added bonus of the incarnation of a toddler on little sleep because of a cough and possibly teething…Yeah, it’s that pleasant…  After our mutual recognition of the difficulty of this process was the peace and comfort that even during annoying times, we both felt so grateful to have these little people in out lives to share in the times, both good and bad.  There is something indescribable about my son’s existence in my life that feels like a part of me is more complete when I didn’t recognize anything missing.  I, however, am not the world’s first Jewish saint.  I don’t want to repeat the blessing of today.

Unacknowledged Murphy’s Law No. 72

Your habitually good sleeper will only awaken in the middle of the night when you decide to watch ALL of Rachel Maddow and splurge on Lawrence O’Donnell that ends at eleven ‘o’ clock.  After all, Grandma and Grandpa are in town and watching your son tomorrow, so that early exercise routine is more of a optional suggestion.

Must the Mighty Fall?

It seems “hero” is a term thrown around in an effort to describe something appearing to defy human tenacity and resilience, but only a select few categories are recognized.  This acknowledgement occurred this morning as I was trolling Facebook, and viewed yet another posting of a fallen soldier who did not receive recognition for their sacrifice, and I agree they should be recognized.  Forgoing your life for a cause more abstract and greater than your person is something I’m not sure I could do.  Such postings are not what gives me pause to think, rather it is the exploitation of the military to perpetuate prejudicial or discriminatory views.

Allow me to explain, and I ask for your patience with my explanation.  In almost all of the above cases there will be a line indicating that these personnel are the “real” heroes and not “Bruce” Jenner for wearing a dress/swimsuit/whatever.  Such a comment is at the very core of the importance of Caitlyn Jenner’s choice to give publicity to transgender issues.  While I cannot say if she should be viewed as a hero, I can, however, comment on the great struggles and sacrifices of the transgender youth I have worked with who risk their lives daily just to be true to themselves.  I am proud to live in one of the meager few states to provide legal protection for such individuals, which is part of the point.  The term hero can easily be applied to some of the individuals I’ve met, and I find it unfortunate that one must have an occupation to kill people to be recognized for sacrifice.

This is not to say that firefighters, police officers, and soldiers are not entitled to our deepest respect.  After all, they commit themselves to an occupation that I am incapable.  But, does one need to overtly risk their lives in their job description to be considered a hero?  I think of teachers working in troubled urban and rural districts that manage to drive their students to achieve things no one else considered possible as heroes in their own right.  I think of successful individuals who defy the odds of lack of support, resources, and possibly abuse or neglect to become worthwhile citizens with solid families of their own; they don’t have the desire to boast their accomplishments running for a national political office.  Their only concern is to live their lives as best they can.  Can we not label their strength of character and their life of sacrifice in the same light, as so many fail in the same endeavor with a fraction of the barriers?

This is a mommying blog, so how does my rant fit?  Flippantly, I think Mommies are heroes.  Seriously, enduring any aspect of labor deserves a medal, but, no, it is an expectation for being a woman making such a life choice.  Not as flippantly, it’s an endlessly indescribably difficult thing to help your greatest love live for themselves; to raise an individual to make decisions and take actions as they see fit.  The jury is still out on my cherub, but I hope I will have the strength to allow him to make his mistakes, as well as love and respect him regardless of who he becomes.

Legacy

Watching my morning news program with the presentation of the Forbes Magazine listings of the most influential and wealthy women in the country.  My initial feelings of a hunter green envy merging into awe of having my tangential membership to such an elite group.  I wonder their secrets of having such significance among the anonymous billions.

I think to my legacy.  I have a little boy who will look to me as the platform of what he can expect of my gender…not nearly as intimidating as raising a little girl.  My son will form his impressions independently of my purposeful representations of what I want him to see.  He will absorb the moments I forget someone is watching.  He will remember the kindness I bestow on others and my gracious acknowledgements of the idiot on the road in front of me who feels that a straight path merits ten miles under the speed limit.  My son will learn honesty from my correction of the cashier who gave me too much change, not from telling my mother I don’t like her shoes.

But, beyond the happenstance of events I want my life to reach beyond my family.  Right now I live in the moment, and I am lucky to plan my dinner for the next evening, but soon my label as a new parent will tarnish.  Time will hold a different meaning, so how will I fill it, and what will my son internalize from my choices?

I want to have the realized ambitions of those remarkable women of whom I only learned a tease of their experiences.  Maybe I won’t benefit the same throngs, and that is fine, but I want to influence the greater world in my small way.  I am not so morbid as to anticipate my obituary, but I want my son to remember me while I am very much alive as a force affecting my part in brightening the world for others even when no one is looking.

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