Category Archives: On Motherhood

In Love

In Love

So my new baby niece is here and it’s clear that her parents are in love! I just received the most beautiful pictures of her; wish I could share them but they’re private. She’s just that precious. Besides I’m one of  a handful of moms that posts her kids’ faces shamelessly and without much fear. Though I do always pray that the crazies of the world won’t bother me.

So with a new little one in the family, I can’t help but dream of a great life for her. On her birthday I held her and touched the crown of her head while praying out loud a blessing upon her.   So I know Auntie’s  little girl whose name means “hope” and “the Lord is with us”, will no doubt make us all proud.  But for now we’ll just hold her and spoil her rotten.  It must be the only focus, because time flies by much too fast.  

My own babies are going to kindergarten and preschool next month and I can hardly believe that.  But since I’m in it for long haul and I intend to enjoy every minute.  It feels great to be in love.

Goodbye July

Goodbye July

Summer always seems to fly by once the 4th comes and goes.  Now that camp, which a friend of mine likened to “Manna from Heaven,” is over we’ll be embarking on August soon.  School lists are posted and supplies are on sale in every discount store around.  Seeing all the paper, crayons, glue and scissors makes me as excited as it did when I was a girl.  Now I can share it with my lovelies. They can’t wait to shop!  Ooo, I hope Eric doesn’t call from Target today asking me what stuff they need.  He was eying watercolors in the sale paper yesterday.  I could fake amnesia, since I only glanced at Lainey’s list, but he’d just wing it.  True shop-a-holics learn this skill in the intro class, I think.

Still, there is a little hesitation in my soul about everybody leaving the house this fall.  It’s faint, but there all the same.  I’m holding back due to trepidation for them.  Two of them don’t seem to have much fear.  But the baby, well you know.  He’s my baby.  Part of me wants to shelter all of them from the world, even though I know they were born to become a part of it. They’re supposed to help make it better. But wanting them to be different than most of what’s practiced in the world is enough to drive any parent crazy.  I am no exception.

Although school starts in September here, August will forever be the end of summer for me.  In NC we’d go back as early as the second week in August.   Of course the college semester always starts next month; after five years of that I’m pretty much programmed. I’ll just have to take it in stride now, and not lament any more.  An early ending to our typical mayhem will prepare us sooner.  It is surely going to take order and lots of prayer to see us through the great transition ahead.  It’s as serious to me, as if I were going back to work in an office away from home. 

I’m looking forward to a great start.

On Potty Training

On Potty Training

 

Sweet Victory

Sweet Victory

Orion is fully potty-trained now and perfecting his technique of standing up. I can’t say this is one of the joys of motherhood as the little one has to still work on grip and aim—there have been some awful bathroom incidents between mother and son where I’ve screamed cause he was peeing on me and everything else while wielding that thing like a weapon; during which time I also yelled  for Eric to come get him and re-instruct him on the art. But at last it seems the worst is finally behind us.  He has been wearing underwear since March, just one week shy of turning 2 1/2.

It feels so good to be diaper free.  Now there’s an expense I’m glad to be without. More testimony to how well God planned our three children.  I am completely done with potty training all of them in just 4 years.  Woo-Hoo! On top of that Orion is able to go to preschool in the fall because he can pee-pee like a big boy.  They don’t change diapers at his school.  Tonight I’m blogging to share a few tactics I used to get them all trained.  I did the same thing with each child.  I’m only going to give you the things that I really think worked.  The rest is useless.  But first let me say this, mothers (especially when training your boys) please do not freak out like I did when your children accidentally start whizzing everywhere while trying to aim for the toilet.  My girls too, had to learn to close their legs while sitting on the potty due to what we call “spraying out.”  Spraying out has been responsible for more than a few unbelievable accidents where pee shoots over or under the rim wetting everything in it’s path.  So remain calm and try out these tips if  you need help with potty training.  Incidentally, I trained my son to sit on a potty using a deflector cup first.  Then I sent him to daddy for the stand up part. Here goes:

1. Start training when they understand directions.  If you can tell them to complete a task and they do it even though they can’t communicate back, that means that cognitively they’re ready. Mine could do this at 15 months old so I start training at 18 mths.

2.Give them the steps. Example, “First you sit on the potty, then you pee-pee on the potty.” Use books to help with the steps as well.  This is also a good time to talk about who else goes potty. Here are some awesome books to use: It’s Potty time, Once Upon a PottyRuby’s Potty and Potty Time.  I got most of them at the library. One mom also said DVD’s were very effective for her son. 

3. Learn their potty schedule.  You’ll need to know about when to put them on it.  Don’t expect them to tell you they need to go just because they can talk.  Help them get used to going to the potty so you can work toward them telling you when they need to go.  First thing in the morning is usually a sure bet.  But, do not force them to sit on the potty.  This can cause defiance.

4.Repetition. Don’t give up.  You really do have to train your child to go potty.  It’s not going to happen overnight.  They have been trained to wet a diaper instead of staying dry, remember?  So stick with it help them over and over again. Repeat yourself one trillion billion gazillion times.

5. Have a potty party.  Put a small potty in your bathroom and when you go, invite your child to sit on her potty too.  It helps them see what you mean.  If they have siblings use the siblings too (if allowed).  If they don’t have siblings, each time they fill a diaper take it to the potty/toilet to dump it.  Then tell them, “Poop goes in the potty, not in your diaper.  See?”

6. Rewards.  Put stickers, candy or both near the potty so they can see it, but not have access to it.  Once they sit on the potty and try, give them a “good-try” sticker.  If they succeed in tinkling then after they wash up, reward them with a sticker and a small piece of candy. Do this every time they try and every time they succeed. I used chocolate kisses and jelly beans.  What’s a little extra tooth brushing when they’re learning to stop pooping in their diaper?

7. Give them praise.  Even when they aren’t on the potty just tell them how proud you are that they are trying to learn. Name all they family members who are proud of them too.

8. Bribery.  I know, it’s awful, but it worked for me.  Each of our children were promised a huge Christmas-like toy or something they really wanted badly once they were fully trained.  We’d keep reminding them every few weeks by saying, “You want that XYZ, don’t you? Then go potty and Mommy and Daddy will buy it for you.”  The girls each got their ears pierced and a $10 shopping spree at Claire’s (yes 2 year olds understand this). The boy got a basketball hoop. 

9. Put them in training pants (aka cotton underwear).  This is where me and alot moms disagree.  First I use pull-ups a while; normally for 3 to 6 months (we all know how expensive they are). Then I switch to real underwear once the child turns 2 years old.  My goal at that point is to  get them to actually say potty before they wet themselves and without me needing to guess when they have to go. So I resist the urge to put them on the potty.  I let them figure it out, so to speak.  If I need to go out of the house once we’ve entered cloth underwear stage, then I put a pull-up on them or plastic coveralls if I remember to do it.  I have tried underwear and had to go back to the pull-ups for about a month.  Then I put them into underwear again and never look back.

There is alot of clean up involved with this method. I stack pee-pee undies in the washer until nighttime when I wash a whole load.  The poop get dumped from the poopy underwear and then the underwear are put into a plastic bucket with hot water and oxy-clean.  After they’ve soaked a few hours, I wear rubber gloves to scrub and rinse them. Then I toss them in with the pee-pee undies for a  good washing.  Any spillage onto a floor anywhere gets cleaned up immediately with woolite or bleach and a scrubbing tool or mop. No smells or stains remain.

10.Buy multiple potties.  Eric’s grandma recommended this.  It was a great idea.  I put a potty on my middle level where there isn’t a bathroom.  Accessibility gave my kids no excuse not to go.

11.Pray.  No, seriously. Pray.  It works.

Potty training is no joke.  It is hard to persevere when you have other little ones depending on you.  I know.  We are talking serious, serious work and a process that takes 6 to 9 months, in my opinion. And if  you believe boys take longer to train than girls, I would start earlier with a boy.    Although most children can understand what to do when they turn 3, remember there may still be a learning curve. Would you rather clean it now or later? Some people are fine with later.  There are also times during training when your child makes great progress only to regress completely and you don’t know why.  No matter. Just suck it up and start with the basics again.  You’ll see progress again soon.  By the way, I know all about punishment for children while potty training such as having them wash their own soiled underwear or spanking them.  I don’t believe those methods work for most children and I would stick to the positive techniques only. 

I’m open to any questions that you might have.  Post a comment or email me directly. Many blessings!

Happy Kids

Happy Kids

Backyard show down

Backyard show down

 

We kicked our summer off with a box of Pop Ice and a pack of $3 mini water guns.  Oh what fun it’s been.  My children commented the other day that they love being kids.  That moment was another one of those infrequent, highly coveted “rewards” that make a mother feel so good.  Who cares that to get it, I let them play in a red, dusty baseball field while I flew their kite?  They didn’t care, because they were digging for treasure out there while I was having ups and downs that changed with the wind.  It was awesome.

I’m going all out with the three of them when it comes to playing because I want them to experience the joy I had growing up.  Without all the money to buy this or that and go here or there.  So yesterday, they asked for silly music to just dance around the house.  Then they took it to the next level and dressed up according to what type of music was playing.  When the girls donned there ballerina outfits (which consisted of a body suit one of my friends bought and a $1 tutu I bought at Target) they wanted to know if I had one when I was a little girl.  I told them no.  And that we didn’t have lots of things.  No Atari game system, no cable for most of the time, not many brandnamed clothes, etc.  So they said, “You were poor?”  I said yes and no.  We didn’t need any of that extra stuff and most of the time didn’t even want it.  On top of that we never missed any meals, played everyday, felt incredibly loved everyday and we would splurge on Easter and Christmas.  We lived with our mother, grandmother and our grand Aunt.  There were no disconnects of electricity or utilities.  We rented for years and were never evicted. When we got our one winter coat, it was a Rothschild or something like that from a department store.  The rest of the time we wore second hand and hand-me-down clothes. Our toys were ample.  And according to my Aunt, too much of a mess. So yes we were poor but we were happy.

Really and truly children don’t need all that we think they do.  I told my girls they have more than me and their dad had growing up, but we aren’t rich and don’t need to be.  (In other words, stop begging for stuff cuz you ain’t getting it).  I do say this in the store when they ask for things.  “It’s not your birthday and it’s not Christmas, soooo…”  Most of the time they just ask for whatever it is for their birthday because they know what I’m going to say.  Summer is the only time they usually come out with a few more playthings because we won’t buy them until they can enjoy them outside.  Anyhow, extra toys that get bumped by something new end up recycled, reduced or reused the next  year.  So they don’t get to have too much crap at one time. (And it’s still too much!)  I think I need to do another clean sweep right now.  Happy kids play with what they have and happy parents keep their money in their pockets.  For the most part!

Freeze pop time

Freeze pop time

 

The First Day of Summer Camp

The First Day of Summer Camp

Yesterday was the first day of camp for my 4 and 5 year old girls.  Like normal, I overdid it on worrying and spent too much time prepping for the first day which flew by like lightning.  But…those are my babies.  It was supposed to be all three children, but Orion’s camp got canceled due to under enrollment.  Poor Orion was completely out of his element without his sisters there to help entertain him yesterday.  I felt sorry for him, but he didn’t complain about it alot.  He didn’t play much at the playground. There was a letter board amongst the playsets which I used to spell his name and he insisted that I spell Lauren’s and then Lainey’s name too.  My heart went out to him.  At home he only he was missing them. 

The girls had everything they needed and had no anxiety when I dropped them off.  I don’t even think they looked up when I left.  I was a tad concerned about Lauren since it is her first time being in a setting like this for more than 30 minutes.  I started her out last year with classes here or there to warm her up to the idea of being left alone.  Last year took some adjusting.  She was fine this time around.  I wasn’t sure if camp would meet the very critical Lainey’s expectations or if compared to preschool she’d think the day was too long. There are three hours for preschool but five hours of camp. I was pleasantly surprised when I picked them up.  Lauren was very excited to see me and they both seemed relaxed and comfortable with the staff.  No complaints.

On our way to the car Lainey started talking about how great  it was and never really stopped talking about it for the rest of the day.  Lauren had very little to say although she agreed it was fun.  At one point Lainey got quiet (after about an hour straight) and Lauren finally told me one aspect about her day that she enjoyed.  Then she popped her thumb back into her mouth and went on her way.  I was surprised because Lainey is the shy one and Lauren is more social.  But Lauren doesn’t really talk that much and Lainey could talk all day, if she’s comfortable with you.  They fascinate me. I keep trying to rise to the challenge of knowing their personalities and figuring them all out.  This is important to me.  I want to cater to their style and know ho w to raise them.

It wasn’t easy letting them go for that long for the first time.  All sorts of worries crept in my head but I was determined not to hold my children back due to my own fear. So I kept my cell phone extra loud and checked it often to be sure I hadn’t missed a call.  Orion and I stayed busy and I always felt as though I had lost or forgotten something because I was traveling so very light without the girls. But on an honest tip, I felt really good and looked forward to next week when I might have a minute of solitude from all three kids.  I was certainly more effecient and less stressed while I ran errons.  Even when we got home for lunch there was more ease about everything that needed attention.  Wow! I didn’t know it would be like that.  Now, it’s day two and I’m hoping all the good feelings continue.

Graduation

Graduation

Wow the time flies!  My baby just graduated from preschool and is on her way to kindergarten.  I held it together for the ceremony on Thursday, but just barely.  Isn’t she lovely? What was more beautiful was her excitement over her graduation and how she understood it meant it was time to move on.  She asked for a graduation present and received a pink butterfly watch.  She just loves it!  I couldn’t be any prouder.  Look out world! Here comes Lainey!

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Kids Say the Darnedest Things

Kids Say the Darnedest Things

My children make me fall down laughing ever once in a while.  Sometimes they totally stun me with their comments. 

Lauren was modeling in the mirror one day when she sighed and said, “I wish I had a big butt.”  And proceeded to check her profile from the side. 

I busted all three of them the other day as they were pretending to “clean” the furniture with wet soapy toilet tissue.  Lainey said, “I know.  Bay’ (short for baby Orion) suggested it.” 

One night while trying to get Orion to eat his dinner I said, “Eat your veggies.  Don’t you want to be a big boy?”  “No,” Orion snapped, “I want to be little!”

A routine punishment was about to go down so I called Lauren over to me so I could interrogate her on her part in the mischief.  “Come here!” I demanded.  She yelled back, “I am.  But don’t look at me like that!”  “Like what?” I asked. “With your eyes all crazy!” she said, disapproval heavy in her voice.  I was stunned.

I was struggling to get Orion dressed for bed when I used the worng words.  “Hurry up and put your nighties on,” I said.  He folded his arms and stuck out his lip.  “Boys don’t wear nighties,” he informed me.

We were leaving the library and I asked Orion to stop running before he got hurt.  “There’ll be no more Orion if you run into the street,” I said.  “Really?” asked Lainey. “Yay!” she cried.  “That means I get to ride next to Lauren in the car.”  I explained that that wasn’t a good reason to wish someone dead.

Hey Mama

Hey Mama

I talked to your children today. And I did just what you told me to do. I never realized just how hard you had it, especially as a young, single mother. But now I know your trials. I’m sorry for any time that we didn’t listen or obey. (I bet you’re smiling). You see your son called me this morning because he was thinking about you today. And so was I.  Your birthday was always a sweet day for me, especially as a child.  I adored you and was intrigued by everything you did and everything you loved.  I just wanted to know how you came to be my mother.   But anyhow, I was doing okay today and I didn’t want to call Meek and cause her to be upset, if she wasn’t. So I worked instead. Your little one said he would try to stay out of trouble today and I told him you’d like that very much. I know you would because I’ve been in your shoes for a long time now. I really miss seeing you and talking to you. Can’t believe you’re not here with us. Have I been doing a good job with your children? I try to make sure I tend to them as best I can.  I know you said this was my job. One day I knew you would say it and that it would be my duty not to let you down.  And even though it’s not in the capacity that I thought it’d be, I mean you aren’t physically here to check on me.  I am mothering them in my heart because you would have wanted me to.

I don’t have all the spunk you possessed as a mother…as a woman. (Probably no one in the world will ever have that much spunk!) Still there are times when I chastise my little ones and I hear your voice come out of my mouth. Plain as day. Amazing! I understand some of what you felt then.

Overall, right now… I’m not sad. You suffered so much pain, that had nothing to do with breast cancer. A part of me wanted revenge on each and everyone that ever wronged you. But in the end, you would not have allowed me to do that. And I know it ain’t right. So I let it go, but still I laugh out loud at the ones you paid back before leaving. That’s probably wrong too, I know. So, I guess I just wanted to say… that I think of you often and I love when you come visit me during my dreams. I know it’s really real, but that can be our secret. God is so good. I like when you stop by with just a passing word too. BTW, what do you think of Lauren? She’s just too much like you! Anyway, I’m serious about this art of writing. Thank you so much for all the meaningful works you penned which gave me the passion that I now have.   I know you took me to college that day thinking I would come out an engineer.  How tickled you must be to see that I’m a writer too.

I hope you will enjoy wherever the words take me. Just know that I am also taking you wherever I go. Mama, I love, love, love you. (As my babies would say). Now I am totally in tune with what they feel when they say it. And yes, I make them hot with sometimes. (Smile). But all the good mamas do. And I know we gave you flack for not always stepping up when you should have. You let Nana do the really hard parts. Well I’m not gon’ say it was always okay. But I can understand.  There was never any love lost between us. Ever for any reason.  You left this earth with us totally instep and seeing far beyond the pettiness of human emotion.  Thanks for that last lesson, Mama.  I promise to share it with everyone. 

Until next time,

Polly

Double-O Mommy

Double-O Mommy

Presto! I enter my password and I’m ready to blog it out, when –oh no! It couldn’t be!  The alarm clock in my bedroom where Orion is soundly sleeping is gradually growing louder while I’m downstairs. Oh Lord!  I thought I turned it off!

Quick as lightning I run for the stairs kicking out of my slippers on the way. The music is blaring  as I race for it, skipping stairs two or three at a time. I arrive in the bedroom where our radio is positioned right above Orion’s head. I press the off button.  He flinches and then turns toward me, eyes still closed. I freeze. I mean I literally, freeze.  I don’t breathe. I don’t blink. I don’t budge. I simply stare at his eyelids and pray that they stay shut.  A minute passes while I strike my statuesque pose and I wonder how long I’ll need to stay that way.  I’m now aware of my heart pounding and it is only when he rolls back into his previous position that I realize I need air.  I exhale, then open my mouth so that even my respiratory functions are quieter (I’m nearly breathless thanks to that sprint).  Note: when you have on shoes, of any type, you can’t control your footing as well.  It can ruin everything. Feeling the carpet under my barefeet, I know I’m in a good position to get out.  Lord help me.    I take a step backward, carefully shifting my weight and simultaneously checking my memory bank for any known creaks in our floor.  That’s when I realize I’m in new territory. I haven’t done this since we took the bassinet out more than 2 years ago. In addition, the room was not arranged this way.  Just then, I’m flooded with memories of extraction missions from the nursey and I almost  laugh.  I used to know the exact number of minutes before deep sleep would arrive  to each baby and I could try for the door.  Lainey was the easiest to leave and Lauren was the hardest, waking if you even pulled a tissue out of a box.  Such is the life. 

I continue my backward escape until I am slowly sliding down the less traveled side of the staircase.  I made it!  Rat-a-tat-tat. I’m typing away, when I hear a sneeze.  Thirty seconds later I see a huge Afro-princess-puff descending the stairs.  It’s Lainey.  I watch as if it’s slow motion replay —not believing my eyes.  She ambles over to my side. “Good morning, sunshine,” I say while hugging her tightly. “How’d you find me?”

“I heard your computer”, she says. “Ohhh,” I reply.  Dang she’s good!

My Babies Are Growing Up

My Babies Are Growing Up

 

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Lauren just turned four last Sunday and over the weekend Orion turned 2 1/2. Age probably doesn’t mean much right now but Lauren says she’s ready to be bigger so she can do more things independently and Orion keeps reminding us not to call him baby.  It’s strange since  most of the time I have to hold him as he whines and acts like a little baby with a large vocabulary who is also fully potty-trained.  It confuses the heck out of me.  The girls weren’t as affectionate at 2 1/2.  Although I want to cherish our time together, there are times when I need Orion to act his age (and walk) so I can get a few things done around here. 

Last night he spent his first night in his big boy bed.  He looked so cute all tucked in under his truck and car themed blankets, but the empty crib tugged at my heart strings so much I had to look away.  This is a milestone for Orion (middle name, Xavier) who also says do not call him Ox for short anymore.  I should be happy.  Believe me I want to have peaceful rest and for him to get up in the morning without putting us all on blast because he can’t get out of his crib to go potty.  And the new bed may not even solve that problem since he pees standing up and needs a stool to reach the toilet. Aww, who am I kidding?  He’ll figure out how to fly solo by the fall, if that long.  He’s a pretty fast learner.

Meanwhile, I have my two baby girls back. Both vying for attention and needing to be held and cuddled as well.  I have to prepare myself because Lauren (and Orion too) will go to preschool in the fall and Lainey starts kindergarten.  I’m excited for some free time in which to write, but don’t want to feel like I’m rushing them out of the house — even though it’s time for them to go.  I’m a basket of mixed emotions.  Don’t know how much to expect them to do or what to hold back from them at times. 

I don’t know why I’m trippin’.  I shouldn’t even be at this point.  A couple of years ago I was doing great just mothering by instinct then gradually I became worried I wasn’t doing enough.  Now I think it’s time for me to go back to my basics.  Using my instinct works and that way I don’t over think how to manage them.  Cause I’m just like any other millenium mom, “I don’t want to mess them up.”  I pray that prayer often, “God please don’t let me mess them up.” 

I am richly blessed to have time to spend with my children and then turn around and blog about it.  So I may as well keep enjoying my cuddle/baby time with each one of them and not feel guilty at all.  Life could change in an instant with school and work and I’d be longing for these days.  The simple plan is to make sure they are developing appropriately for their ages without me being to hard or too soft.  I’m sure the terrfic three will help me figure it out!

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