I've had a few big family doubts lately. Will we be able to give everyone the attention they deserve and need? Will someone get lost in the shuffle? I'm so grouchy, would I be more patient and kind if I had 2 children? The parenting doubt and guilt seems to be very much alive no matter the number, the circumstance or situation. Can we ever be everything we want to be to our children? No, probably not. Then we remember if we could be, it would probably ruin them. This brings me to the great roll watch of 2009.
Everyday Lyra gets closer and closer to rolling over. "Lead with your head!", I told her. Whoever is watching her at the moment yells when she is making a rolling attempt. Everyone else runs in like it's some amazing replay in the Superbowl or something. And then they stare and cheer her on.
"Who is the best roller in the family?" Jack says in 3 octaves higher than his regular voice.
"You can do it baby!" Josiah believes.
"Come on mamacita!" Lucy insists.
The good news is that for every time she cries a little too long waiting for someone to pick her up, there are moments like these. Moments when she is the entire world.
She finally did it today, our rolling girl. Lucy caught it before anyone else. I watched as she showed me. It was big news on the car ride home from pick-up. They gathered around to show Jorge when he got home from work. These little happenings keep me going until the next time I am sure this is all too much and we are not enough. We are enough, we are all okay.
What little bit of parent guilt are you carrying around today? Do share in the comments, I'm pretty sure we'll all feel better if you do.
It used to be that we knew everything there was to know about babies in our house. We were veritable baby experts with a thousand baby tricks and a hundred baby books on our shelves and more well-researched opinions than any one household in America.
Then our babies turned into toddlers and all the fleeting discussions about a third passed and then we were parents of elementary school age kids and that was that. Now I ask silly questions like, "Would the baby like some pizza?" and "Do you think she'd like to sit here or there?" not having any recall really about what babies do and don't do. I honestly don't remember. All I wish for is that they feel included. And that they do NOT cry.
Crying, I do remember. Crying I still can't take even for one second.
This weekend I had the chance to spend a little time with baby Lyra, Patience's fourth (and final?) baby. We stared at each other for long spells until someone laughed or the other one smiled. She's something, that Lyra. She watches and waits to see where her dear ones are in the room. She sits quietly waiting for her moment, just in case you're curious to see her sweet, slow smile.
I like to think of babies as new friends. Lovely little people I am just this minute getting to know. I feel responsible that they are so new. I hope they know they are welcome in the world and that the people around them are glad they arrived, just in time. I think of this now when I meet grownups who eat pizza and sit wherever they want without a second thought. Each one of us used to be a tiny baby, I think. Each one of us used to be so fragile, so calm.
I hope you will be gentle and kind to the crying, screaming, not smiling babies today--the one in your house AND the one in your heart. I hope you will think about the beginning when you were little like Lyra and needed the simplest things like someone to sit with you, someone to hold you, someone to wait for your sweet smile. You still need it. You really, really do.
I'm helping host a baby shower for a friend in her late 30's. I'm hoping one (or more) of the supersisters might have some creative ideas about baby shower themes or activities? Any great baby shower stories or things you would have appreciated?
Whenever I think about a baby shower, I always envision the movie Lady and the Tramp, with Darling's friends chatting about names and booties while Jim Dear and his friends pass around cigars. It's a rite-of-passage for every mother to be. It can be fun, meaningful, a nice gathering of support and love to welcome a new little person into the world.
Here are a few ideas for you Amber:
The Traditional shower- Tea and tiny cucumber sandwiches, pretty punch and cake served on china. Each guests can bring a baby picture and everyone can write down their guesses with the winner receiving a beautiful orchid or other enchanting potted plant. You might want to buy a leather bound journal and go around the room with each person offering their one bit of sage advice about babies and parenting. Add the amount of children and years of parenting represented in the room. Ask a crafty friend to sew that number of fabric squares together making a small baby blanket to be presented to the mother when the baby is born.
The Sweet and Sassy Onesie party- Onesies never go out of style and are always needed. Ask each guest to bring a sweet, sassy or artsy onesie as part of their baby gift. Hang the onesies on a clothes line against a wall, use bright and colorful clothespins. Vote on your favorite with the winner receiving a Starbucks card. Serve fun food that can be dipped or go all out and rent a chocolate fountain. Here is a great place to start looking for the perfect onesie. Finish the night with every guest signing a tiny white onesie with fabric markers. Messages of love and fun start before the babe is even born.
The Book Baby party- This is a great party for the mom-to-be who has everything. Ask every guest to bring a baby board book or their favorite children's literature. Take turns passing the books around. Have a short reading from a humorous parenting memoir or blog. Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott is a great start. Eat panninis, serve coffee and tea, and have decadent chocolate cake for dessert. Guess the baby's due date, weight, height with a promise of a Barnes & Noble gift card mailed to the winner in the baby announcement. Another group gift idea- Gather money for a candid photo session for the new family right after birth.
The Blessingway- A blessingway, rooted in a Native American tradition, is a way to honor the mother and encourage her before she gives birth. You can give a very pregnant woman a soothing foot bath with herbs and flowers. Ask each guest to bring a bead that can represent a blessing for the mom, string them together to make a necklace reminding her of the care and love surrounding her. Serve veggies and hummus, berries, fruit smoothies, a light cake and herbal teas. Shower the mom with gifts just for her, dark chocolate, nice pajamas, lotions, candles, etc. Light candles and make the space dreamy. It's a lovely way to invite a woman into the tribe of motherhood.
The Grandmother Shower- My mom has been invited to a few grandmother showers. The to be grandmother (usually with her first grandchild) and her friends get together to celebrate the upcoming event. The attendees give gifts of books, photo albums, some baby equipment and other memory making kind of gifts. Advice is exchanged along with funny grandparenting stories. The mother to be may or may not attend.
The Diaper and Dinner shower- This shower is for the frequent flyers, you know the ones who are on their 2nd, 3rd or even 4th baby. Everyone brings a package of diapers and a casserole that can be freezed or signs up for a date to bring a meal. I hear they are all the rage and deeply appreciated the second go around.
Well, hope that helps Amber. We need more ideas! Please share your best baby shower themes and party plans in the comments.
"Mom, I just want to go to Gina's house and have coffee." Lucy said on the way to pick up the boys from school. "And we can do cheers with our coffee."
The plan is a repeat performance of the gathering that morning which consisted of lattes, kids vanilla creamers, scones, babies and girlfriends. I too am wishing we could go for a second round.
I've been blissfully ignoring responsibilities to prop up babies and make funny faces in hopes of capturing the shot of baby friendship in my lens. It's a friendship starting with mothers that spills over to children.The kind where soulsisters shrink each other about marriage woes and talk extensively about how to hide postpartum fat while kids make glorious messes with watering cans. We dream up kindness schemes together and delight in each other's children. We hold the space for pain, hope, light and truth. We are in it together.
I'm starting to wonder how I ever did it without them. How do we live life carrying it all, it's just too much. We all need a tribe, a crew, a supersister somewhere.
Feel free to gush about the people by your side who make life lovely in the comments. Tell us what you love best about your supersister/brother.
We bought this doll for Ethan the Christmas before his brother was born. His father was slightly against it, but I thought it was a great idea to prepare Ethan for having a new baby in the house. We also bought him a stroller for his baby. It was hot pink and I think his father had a nervous breakdown when I bought it. Hey, it was $10 cheaper than the manly blue one.
You know exactly how this went. He was completely disinterested in the doll and played with the stroller until one of the wheels broke off. OK, then he pushed the 3 wheeled stroller around (and still does to this day).
The Baby got put in a crate in the toy room and forgotten. It was only when she reappeared about three weeks ago that I remembered we even had her. When she resurfaced, she was wedged between Nathan's arm and his body.
Nathan: Baby, Mommy.
Kristen: That's right, Nae. That's a baby.
Nathan: MY baby, Mommy.
He takes that baby with him everywhere. He had to take her little onesie off though because her jammies had footies and Nathan cannot tolerate footie pajamas. Other than that, The Baby has been a sure fire way to bring a smile to MY baby's face. He takes her to bed with him every night and gives her kisses. It was the exact reaction I was looking for when I gave the baby to his brother. Better late than never.
1. Oh, don't cry my precious baby. Josiah's here... (Josiah, age 8)
2. MOM!!!! Lyra's crying, Lyra's crying, Lyra's crying, it's okay mamacita.
She then puts her face about 2 cm from Lyra's while Lyra tries to spit Lucy's hair from her mouth. (Lucy, age 3)
3. It's okay Lyra...and then he runs away. (Jack, age 5)
4. Ohhhh, what's wrong mama? (Jorge) while it now takes an average of 5 minutes longer to even hear a cry than it did when Josiah was a baby.
5. It's gonna be okay Lyra, you're okay. (Me)
I yell from the bathroom as it's the only time we aren't attached.
At least no one is yelling, "For the love of God child, please shut up!". Yet.
Come on, give us your best soothing tricks for crying babies in the comments.
Lucy looking resigned to the don't-wake-the-baby rule.
I don't want to forget but life has a way of pushing us forward making it more difficult to hold on to the sweetness of the everyday.
Here are things I want to remember when I am old and gray...about Lyra, about babies, about family:
How she holds on with her tiny hands when she nurses.
How old ladies in the grocery store fuss over her and want to tell their own stories of babies and love.
How my voice can solve near hysteria.
How my babies looked sleeping on their papa's chest.
How Lucy calls her Mamacita in a voice two octaves higher than her usual.
How every infant I had cried in the car and hated the car seat.
How messy the house was because I held a baby all day long.
How we acted like she was the best tv show and watched her for hours with rapt attention.
How excited we were when she finally "woke up" and would simply stare at us trying to focus.
How tired I am, even with resting all day.
How the brothers rubbed her head and whispered in her ear.
How babies nuzzle in your neck.
How we called her the velcro baby.
How we worshiped and adored each one.
How deep and wide your heart can grow.
Question of the day: What do you want to remember about this stage and time you are living with your child right now? What do you want to forget? Tell us here in the comments or direct us to your favorite post in your blog.