Thursday, February 28, 2013

What would you tell your younger self?

While perusing Twitter instead of working this afternoon, I came across a headline from an article that said, “Five things I would tell my 18 year-old self”.

Good lord, what I would tell my younger self if I could go back in time.

Knowing what I know now, as a Mama of 2 beautiful, wonderful fantastic little children… what would I tell my younger, pre-baby self?

Here are just a few pearls of my own personal wisdom:

Heather, you need to relax.
It’s okay to try hard and want the best and to do your darn-dest to make sure the kids turn out okay. But, sometimes? You’re going to fail a little. And that’s okay. You might be disorganized. You may tell the garage door opener to fuck off in frustration in front of your baby because it won’t work when you’re already late for work. *cough – this morning - cough*. And you might feel massive amounts of guilt at how little you see them when you’re working. But you really need to relax. It’s okay. They love you. They know you love them. You’re not scarring them. Try to be calmer. Try to be happier. Things turn out pretty amazing. In spite of the damn garage door.

You and the hubster will have some rough times.
But he’ll still love you. And you’ll always love him. Even when his idea of romance is smacking you on the bum and pretending to hump you while you’re attempting to make lunches and you’re knee-deep in dirty diapers. He means well. And when you get those rare moments to talk – without any distractions – you two will remember all the reasons why you dated so long and fell in love and got married. You will talk. And gripe. And share. And laugh. Man, how he can make you laugh.

Get over your damn boobs. They’ll never be the same.
Sure, they’re soft and floppy now. Sure, they totally pass the pencil test (when just a few short years ago they were too perky to do so). Sure, there’s probably only a few years left before they reach National Geographic standards. But they fed your little ankle biters into existence. No matter how “weird” the whole concept seems – it’s pretty amazing work your girls did.

Things get better and better – all the time.
Yes, your life right now is pretty awesome. You’ve got disposable income. You and the hubster can fly off to the Galapagos Islands or Italy for a fabulous vacation. You can sleep as much as you like, work out whenever you want, dine out at great restaurants, spend an ENTIRE SUNDAY on the couch watching movies if you so choose. But eventually, when you give that all up, you will find out who you were meant to be. You will love your husband in a new way. You will adore your life and feel this incredible amount of pride when you look at your kid (even if she’s picking her nose at the moment). You will know joy and fulfillment like you’ve never known before. And you will think things like, “My life will always be okay now because these two little girls are in it.” You will be a Mom.

Enjoy it.
The hard times are REALLY hard to enjoy. I know. But when you look back, it’s so much easier to remember the fun times. So be silly. Laugh with your kids. Hide under the covers and make a tent out of sheets. Chase each other down the street on the way to the park. Take lots of pictures. Hold your husband’s hand. Tell your Mom you love her. Enjoy a glass of wine with your Dad. Life is pretty fantastic, Heather.

You are one of the lucky ones.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Girls vs. boys

I love that I have daughters.

Don’t get me wrong – if Lauren was a Larry and Anna was an Alan, I would adore them to itty-bitty pieces too.

But I’m really glad they came out with the lady parts.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say the exact opposite. There are many parents out there who count their blessings that they won’t have to deal with drama related to raging hormones, the desire to grow up too soon and horny little boys trying to deflower their little ladies.

Yet I would argue that I’m glad I don’t have to deal with tube socks behind closed bedroom doors, never knowing what he’s thinking and inevitable daughter-in-law drama.

When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, I kept saying the whole “It doesn’t matter if the baby is a boy or a girl… they’re equally amazing… blah diddy blah… yackety crap”.

But secretly? I really wanted a girl.

I wanted someone who would truly understand my feelings. I wanted someone who would one day become a friend if I didn’t royally fuck things up. I wanted someone who would let me be REALLY involved in their wedding planning.

Of course, a child is a child. They truly are equally amazing. The relationship is what you make of it and how you foster and grow and develop it. I know all this.

And I certainly don’t feel that all girls must “act like girls” or vice versa. (I’m very proud of the fact that Anna loves her toy cars as much as she loves her dressy shoes, has no clue what a princess is and refuses to let me do anything with her hair).

But I also know that it’s very likely that a girl will call me more than once a week. They’ll tell me how they feel and what they’re thinking. They’ll never make me crawl up a ladder to sneak into their house in the middle of the night to rock them back and forth, back and forth, back and forth so I can pretend they’re still my baby. (They’ll let me in the front door and welcome any and all mothering at any stage in their lives – particularly if and when they have a child themselves).

It may be wrong to admit this out there and to the open. Heaven forbid I have a son one day and he reads this and I scar him for life and he needs massive amounts of therapy and it all relates back to his bitch of a mother who never loved him enough.

For now? I’m okay with admitting that I get girls. I want girls.

I adore my girls.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The one where I force my kids to love me

Now that I’m working full time hours out of the house, I have this overwhelming desire to hold on to every moment I get with the little ladies.

The little ladies don’t always feel the same way.

Anyway, smothering aside… I find that when I am with the girls – I really notice everything about them.

For example, Lauren’s brand new top teeth are the first things I see whenever she smiles or opens her mouth.

Anna’s new little haircut comes into the room first when she gets up in the morning.

And Anna’s latest gems are always top of mind. For example, here’s an excerpt from one of our most recent conversations:

Me: Do you want to watch Max & Ruby or Bubble Guppies?
Anna: ***pause***
Me: Anna? Max & Ruby or Bubble Guppies?
Anna: I’m THINKING, Mommy!

Or, when I came home on Valentine’s Day the other night, Anna wished me a “Happy Valentine’s Daddy”.  And she told me she loved Valentine’s because it meant she got to paint and wear a smock at school. (Yet, she refuses to wear her smock at home. Naturally.)

On a side note, Andrew and I seemed to be the ONLY parents who sent their kid to daycare without Valentine’s Day cards for everyone. And I forgot to get the daycare teachers a Christmas present. I am REALLY awesome at this Mom thing.

I also overheard Anna saying “Oh come on, guys!” in a very exaggerated tone (to nobody in particular) and my Mom found her “disciplining” her little sister:  “I’ve had enough of this, Lauren!”

Again – I am the best Mom in the universe! Wee!

Thankfully, Lauren can’t talk yet. But if she could, I feel like she would only utter things about how interesting she finds me.

Ma, tell me that story again... That one about that grande latte you ordered one time, but it was too much for you, so you couldn't finish it? Yeah... that one. The story that had no point to it.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Reaching for the moon

“Look, Mommy! The MOON!”

I listen to my happy toddler exclaiming excitedly from the back seat of the car.

“Let’s try to touch it,” she says.

“Okay,” I say. “You go first.”

I hear Anna grunting. I look in the rear view mirror and watch her flailing her arms, trying to “reach” the sky.

“Now your turn, Mommy!”

So I flail my arms about in a silly way and say in an exaggerated voice, “I can’t reach it!”

She laughs. I laugh with her.

I enjoy the simplicity of our conversation. How easy it is to make her smile. How excited she is by something as simple as the moon in the sky.

And I try to remind myself to remember this. To hold onto it tightly. I know moments like this won’t last forever.

Anna is a typical 3 year-old. She’s curious. Inquisitive. Loves to “search for clues” with anything from a toilet paper roll to the top of her see-through sippy cup. The way she looks at the world constantly amazes me. Her imagination makes me smile.

But she tests me. Oh my goodness, can she test me.

On another recent car trip, she was grouchy, had a temper tantrum and screamed the entire way home from Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

The biggest, brightest moon in the world wouldn’t have brought her back from where she was. And it was all I could do not to scream back at her.

So on nights like this, when she is excited by the universe and everything in it, I try hard to remember her. My true Anna.

I try to mentally catalogue every cute thing she says and every funny thing she does.

I want to tell her about it one day.

When she’s a teen, and is undoubtedly testing me again, I want her to know all about how much fun we had together. How I could be silly, too. How easy it was to enjoy each other’s company.

I want her to know about yesterday morning, when she jumped into bed to wake me up, then insisted we hide under the covers because she could hear a “jungle bear” coming into the room.

Or the time last week, when she danced around the kitchen and instructed me to say “Woo hoo!” each time she completed a little move.

I can’t avoid the moments when I feel tested and grouchy and exhausted by her moodiness. But I promise to both myself and to Anna to remember the fun, happy, easy times.

I glance at her in the rear view mirror again, a giant goofy grin plastered on my face.

It’s times like these I vow to remember.