To All My Friends without Children

I read a very telling blog/post the other day and I say telling because I too have wanted to always take the time to do just as Jason Good did in his “Day 166” blog post to all his friends without children. I feel there are two different types of people out in the world – those who have children and those who don’t. Neither is better than the other – Trust me. I love my children, love my family and love what we have created.

I som20140311-163334.jpgetimes wonder what life would be like at age 33 with no kids, but then I think about my boys, what I would be missing out on each and every day. They are my world….I live through them and love every moment of it. They show me how to enjoy just the small, tiny little things in life that we adults, 33 year olds, sometimes take for granted.

Don’t get me wrong, mommy likes her time to herself at times (when I get them, which tend to be very few with young ones, school meeting, work, etc) but I love my life and where I am today. Once you have a family of your own and a baby/child that loves you unconditionally you’ll know what I mean! There is a reason I am where I am and God has a plan for us all. So friends with and without kid – here is my letter to you through Jason’s words to understand I do still love you, I miss you and gosh darn it – I am here for you – tired and exhausted at times but still alive and ME.20140311-163342.jpg

Day 166: To all my friends without children.

I know our friendship has changed since I had a family. I never answer the phone; I don’t return texts as quickly; I almost never “hang out” anymore. That’s because my priorities have changed. I would have warned you, but I didn’t know it was going to be so severe. I still love you as much as I always have, but I’m really tired at night. I really want to see you, but can you please come to my place? I know it’s far, but I needed a house and yard or I was going to lose my mind. It might be hard to have a conversation because my kids will be angry that I’m not giving then all my attention. I wish I could just tell them to be quiet and go play, but that’s not really how it works.

I hang out more now with families who have kids the same age as mine. That’s because when they’re playing, the adults have a little time to talk. If there are no other kids around, I’m responsible for all the entertainment and it’s exhausting. People with kids understand that I might have to leave in the middle of their sentence to get a juice box. They understand because they did the same thing to me five minutes ago. It’s not that I like them more than you, it’s because they understand the situation and that makes everything easy. I need things to be easy a lot these days, especially when it comes to “entertaining.”

I know you want us to just get a babysitter and drive out to your place and drink wine until 1am. I want to do that too, but I can’t. Not for a few more years. My kids are too young and they still wake up at night for various reasons. I want to be there when that happens as much as possible. So for now, you kind of have to come to my house. Understand that when you do, most of the afternoon will be about the kids and not about us. I’ll have to put the hotdogs on the grill before the steaks because if I don’t, someone will freak out and throw themselves on the ground. You’ll also probably have to spend some time by yourself while I take one of my sons inside to talk to them, read them a book, or put on a TV show. To me, it’s all worth it for that 15 to 20 minutes I get to spend with you totally uninterrupted.

I remember when we used to spend hours talking, drinking and playing pool. We’ll do that again; just hang in there with me during these few years when I need to focus on raising my kids to be interesting and happy. I’m terrified I’m gonna screw it up. My life is like finals week in college, and I spent all semester smoking weed and listening to ZZ Top. I used to be a child-free person who had friends with kids. It’s weird, I get it. It’s also really fun to play with someone else’s kids, and almost all of you do that really well. I encourage you to do it more, even if it feels awkward sometimes. They might diss you, but don’t take it personally; humans aren’t born with manners. Have them run little errands for you. It’s great that they can go in the fridge and get you a beer. They like doing it, and it will make them think you’re cool. Trust me, there’s no better feeling.

I miss you all and want to see you just as much as I ever did. I also understand that I’m a bit of a pain in the ass to hang out with. I take full responsibility for that. I yawn a lot and don’t remember stuff. Let’s just acknowledge that I am a distracted Alzheimer’s patient and try to see each other more anyway.

-Jason Good

The 18 Month Sleep Regression

We have hit it… You know the time when your baby is technically a toddler and they are making their way through a transition, another transition,…and not just any transition but the sleeping transition.

C has finally gotten feeling better and back to sleeping through the night when all of a sudden he’s starting to wake at night and won’t go back to sleep with just a simple reassurance as he has in the past few weeks. I’m confused, tired, perplexed on what is going on….. I’ve been reading and hoping that I would come across the magical solution or wand per say that I could use to make this trying time simply go away and allow everyone in our home get back to their nightly ritual of getting a good night’s sleep with no interruptions. And they lived happily ever after. The End. Hey now, this isn’t a fairy tale or make believe – its real life and therefore life sometimes give us some struggles to push through. This being one of them…

20140226-112507.jpgOur night time ritual for C is simple. Bath by 6:45, Read a few books with lullaby music in the back ground, drink if needed and then cuddle while rocking in rocker until just asleep at 7:30 if not sooner. Now this works for most nights – and he’s out until about 1030-11pm. Then the waking begins. Some nights more than others. I’ve contemplated with “has he had enough to eat at dinner, did he eat something that made his tummy hurt, is it his 2 year old molars, is he wet, lost the pacifier, “ I mean my list could go on and on.

Today 20140226-112514.jpghowever, I have decided (solely because of the research I have done the past few days that has lead me to decide this) he has met with the 18 MONTH SLEEP REGRESSION!!! Agggghhhhh

My research has lead me to the following information on sleep regression. Most people use sleep regression to mean that a baby or toddler, who’s been sleeping well, suddenly (often without any warning) begins waking frequently at night and/or refusing to nap during the day. C will nap with no problem however the length is always of question. These regressions usually last for a period of time (anywhere from 2 – 6 weeks), and then the baby’s sleep returns to its normal patterns. And I so hope so!!

Interesting to note too is that babies and toddlers have this sleep regression not just at 18 months! It can occur around 4 months, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 18 and then again at 24 months. I’m happy to note that we have just now had to deal with the regression at 18 months and no sooner as some parents might have had to. I hope that after we make it through this one that the 24 month will keep away! I’m happy to say The Baby Sleep Site has been very helpful for me and C as he continues to grow. I used their site a few times in the transition from bassinet to crib and the slight bumps along the way up until today.

20140226-112526.jpgHere are some other helpful websites I have found good useful information in regards to sleep regression and sleep in general for toddlers. My plan to make it through is to stick to our guns and what has worked for us and hope that after the 2-6 weeks that we are back to being sleeping beauties!

The Sleep Lady – Toddler Sleep Problems
The Baby Sleep Site
Sleep Tight Consultants
National Sleep Foundation – Children & Sleep

No, Means No….

Do you have days where it feels like all you say is “No” to your children? “Don’t do this, don’t do that, share with your brother, don’t mess with the dog, sit down to eat your dinner, are you listening to me”, etc. Well, welcome to our house the past few weeks. Our two little boys are blessings. We love them completely and want nothing but the best for them. However, on days where we are constantly struggling to get out the door on time for school, work , or to listen to each other without interrupting, it sometimes takes a toll on your own spirit. What am I doing wrong as a parent….what am I missing here,…..

passStress in our house has been up ever since J was back in the hospital again a few weekends ago. Trying to ensure that everything is ready for the family just in case something did happen to either J or I has been on both of our minds a lot lately. We want to be sure that no matter what our boys are taken care of, can continue to go to school as we have planned, have everything they will need in life. Don’t get me wrong – ensuring we have everything together is the right approach – but is very stressful at times. I personally don’t like thinking about J leaving us or not being around to see my own kids grow up. This added stress has definitely put some strain on the family.

JD has also been having some issues at home with listening, following through on instructions, not talking back, the list could go on and on. Not sure if other 5 year old boys tend to do this or not but it can be very testing of our patience. With stress and tiredness raised in our household it has allowed for our impatience to grow. Not just with the kids but between J and I too. Stress has this horrible way of turning something that really is a little mistake into a horrible ordeal. Hurtful words, disappointment, closed off from others, etc……why? Feeling that way is no fun. It sucks actually. I hate looking back on how I personally responded and feeling horrible for how I personally acted. Wishing I would of responded differently – took time to breathe and really assessed what I could of said differently, reacted differently. I’ve been in search of guidance, others who have gone through similar situations, and have been happy to find a few resources to use as we work through this period of time.

Something I really want to try and hope will help in our situations in our home – is trying to “Identify with them” – Thank you Real Delia for your Tips For Adulthood: How To Be Less Impatient With Your Kids. We also have a book called – The Explosive Child – that we have been meaning to read now for a few months. I feel this might be something both J and I try cracking open and reading here soon.

We stress the “take a deep breath and count backwards from 5 or 10”. I think Mommy and Daddy are in need of there own teaching and will be working on this too – no issues is worth the amount of frustration or stress we have had in our house lately….and no one is to blame. Shit happens! Excuse my french – but it does. Instead of being determined to “win” or be the one that is “right” I plan on trying to understand – identifying with the person who seems to be having and issue or problem. I want to slow down my response times to things that seem to set me on fire if you will, and try to see things for what they really are. I love my family, I love my husband, and I love my kids with all my heart. We will make it through this as we have many other situations, struggles, challenges God has given us.

I must keep reminding myself – God only give us what he knows we can handle…..We need to think first and then act. We need to embrace this current season of our life….When I’m/We are tired, frustrated, broken, stressed, discouraged, worn-out, and hopeless – I/We need to remind ourselves to talk with God. God will make a way when there seems to be no way.

Toys, Toys and More Toys

If you’re lijoyofgivingtopke us, we have a million, ca-zillion toys that seem to continue to either show up at our house or can’t leave our house. “Mommy I can’t get rid of that toy, I love it!” – to a toy that hasn’t been played with for at least 6 months to a year.  Or I have heard – “Mommy, why are you trying to get rid of this! I love it!”.

The ToyOur toy collection as we will call it here, started when we had our first little one, J. He was the first grandchild for my side of the family and the first boy grandson on my husbands side. Hence, boy toys were bought ALL the time. Our basement has become the “Toy Chest” with a full large room filled with toys. You might remember the movie from 1982,  “The Toy”.  Do you remember his toy room – well imagine it in my basement!  Now I am partly to blame for the enormous amount of toys since I tend to hold on to items, for that “just in case” opportunity to a rise that we might want to play with that lone Lego set or why get rid of the baby toys when at the time we hadn’t decided if we were done having children or not.

I have became the one who “stored” all of the toys until that very special day came that we would need or want to play with it again. My husband would suggest I have been “hoarding” the toys per say. But – things are going to be changing.  Ever since our second child C came around, we knew that we would indeed use them again. Both being boys should like pretty much the same stuff, right?  Interesting enough C would rather play with JD’s big boy toys instead of his own toys for his age and size. Who would of thought!

Something J and I had talked about a little while ago was finally making the point to go through the toys with JD and have him tell us what toys we could get rid of.  A chore I am a little nervous about.  When JD was 2 or maybe even 3 we had talked to him about “Playing Santa” and giving away some of his toys he doesn’t play with and give them to those in need.  I’m hoping that in the coming up weekends we can work with him to pull together toyjoyofgivings and do just that- let JD play “Santa” and donate his toys to those children who are less fortunate.  I’m hopeful that JD will help us donate to a local charity, daycare, or a place in need of gently used toys for those who are in need. I now ask you, my readers, do you know of a location looking for gently used toys for children?  Please contact me if you have suggestions for us.  We are open to helping those in need for this giving season upon us.

“Every child loves gifts, both giving and receiving them.  This Christmas let your children bring blessings to others.  Gather names – friends, relatives, classmates – and let them pick a name and make a gift, or a card to give out.  It’s difficult to say who will enjoy it more.  The child who loves to give.  The friend whose heart is touched with love.  Or me (or you), the parent, who sees your children learn to give and receive love. ” God’s blessings to you and yours as we enter into the Thanksgiving season and the birth of our savior Jesus Chris who is the reason for the season.  He gave us the best gift anyone could every give and receive!

constant juggling

I read a post the other day – “Daughters Diary : My Mom gets Mad at Me” – and thought I would share it too. After I read the entire post it got me thinking – wow, do I do this with my two little ones? Do I continue to rush around day in and day out and forget to take time for them, with them enjoying the little things?

I know in the world we live in today that moms and dads are pushed to do so much. I am a big multi-tasker and I tend to give myself a good amount of things to check off on my check list however, in reality, may only get to a few of the items on the list. There are literally days where I feel I haven’t accomplished anything because something comes up or we need to run to this place or that place. Even on days when the children are not feeling well, which leads to either myself or my husband getting sick…..it sometimes is an endless cycle we weave. Do you ever wonder, if we all weren’t so “techy” with our cell phones, email, social media, etc on us 24/7 that we might actually have some breathing room. Some time to actually sit down and enjoy a family meal, to read a book, to enjoy the nature in our backyard…..family

I want to quote Brigid – “Because when you’re exhausted, when, as one reader wrote me, you’re “one sick kid away from a nervous breakdown,” it’s close to impossible to do the kind of meaningful work you’d like to do, or to be the kind of loving parent who never loses their cool that you’d like to be, much less get the laundry done or take a few moments of downtime. It’s close to impossible, sometimes, to even feel like you’re inhabiting your life, rather than holding onto it for dear life with your fingernails as it flies past.”

Wow! Been there, done that….

For me, my world has changed drastically with both of the boys. They both have different needs, wants and likes. Everything was pretty easy when we had J, however when we added C things changed. We had two that needed our attention, support and love. I hate a messy house. I hate having dishes pile up, yard work to do, etc. But to be honest, I hate it more that one of my kids has to wait to have me read to them, color with them, or even snuggle with them. The house work can wait. Work can wait. My kids will only be young once and why would I want to miss out on it just to have a clean house for a day. 🙂

What I hope you get from reading Brigid’s blog and my relating to her, is that you are not along. I think everyone gets it. You have to recognize it to change it. You have one life to live…..you should live it to your fullest!

Have a most wonderful Wednesday!