laborofwonder

Where Whine Meets Wine

Love The Ones I’m With


This last week, I have been a terrible mother. Ok, so maybe not like worst mother in the universe, terrible, but the kind of terrible where if you knew me, and you witnessed my mothering this last week, you’d think I lost my marbles. Maybe I have.

This week is the 3rd due date anniversary to our sweet baby we have yet to meet. I have been preparing myself for about a month, and this week I have been so busy busy-ing myself and being so wrapped up in my own inner stuff. Grieving a life not known, but not unloved. I became so focused on what I had lost, that I’d all but forgotten to pay attention to the ones things I still have. I don’t mean that to say they take the place, or make up for, the baby we lost. Because as any parent knows, one child can never replace another. No matter how much you love any of them.

This week, I have taken my loves for granted. I have cried, and moped, and yelled, and been all around cantankerous. I did not explain it to my husband, until yesterday, because I was in my dark place, and in that dark, cavernous room, I expect him to remember and to know, even though his body doesn’t remind him the way that mine does. I have wanted all my closests to just know what I was going through, and to not have to explain it. So instead, I spent my days in the dark place and cried to myself.

And then there’s the people kids things that are too young to understand, even had I explained why mommy was behaving like a crazy person… when my irrationality, my irritability, my lack of patience… none of that was their fault, although I’m sure, at least at times, it must’ve felt that way to them. :/ Although they do understand so much more than we give them credit for. Littlest has been in a mood that can only be compared to my own, and yet I still wonder why he seems so out of control. (Hello, pot, I’m kettle.) Miss, well she keeps looking at me, with a look that can only be described as one that says, I will be tiptoeing around this crazy lady. And she has asked me repeatedly, You’re just sad, aren’t you? And Biggest… well, he’s always been the most intuitive. Last year, around this time, he came up to me crying, big, crocodile tears. When asked why he was crying he said, I just really miss my sister. When I was very confused and said, but she’s just in her room. To which he replied, “No, not Miss, the sister that was the baby in your belly that went to go be with God.” Yeah, that happened. A little Heaven is For Real, right? {sidenote: we do not know the gender of the baby we lost, but I have always felt that it was a girl, but Biggest did not know that.}

Ok, so back to me… I’m out of control. I finally told hubbyman yesterday. He came home with a big thing of bright, cheery flowers for my table. I love them. And him. And strangely, as soon as I told him…I felt so much more at peace. Maybe the whole problem was that I’d convinced myself I was in it alone, and I’m not.

But in the midst of all the emotion, I was so focused on what I didn’t have, what I couldn’t have, that I lost sight of the blessings that I do have.

Biggest's teeth are falling out! It's so cute!

Biggest’s teeth are falling out! It’s so cute!

oh, my Miss.

oh, my Miss.

Littlest. He's not staying so little. But he's still napping. Hallelujah!

Littlest. He’s not staying so little. But he’s still napping. Hallelujah!

My E's

My E’s

Today, I’m going to just love them, hug them, encourage them, support them, laugh at with them, chase them, run  them ragged with them, hide with them, seek with them, and enjoy them. And then put them to bed before they can drive me too crazy early.

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The Dog Is Wet


This will kind of go along with my last post, but you know those days where you wake up gently, you stretch, yawn, and smile… embracing your day happily? I think I can remember waking up like that. But I was probably 11. How did I wake up this morning, you ask…

Moooom, I peed!

What?

I think I peed on the dog!

What?

I was cuddled up with him and I peed.

I’m going back to bed.

What?

Go get in the bath while I get my coffee.

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The Lowest Of Blows


I know, I know… I’ve been MIA, continuously. And I’m still clinging to the fact that I will be back to blogging on a more regular basis! Last weekend (yes, just shy of two weeks from when hubbyman fixed my laptop) hubbyman accidentally knelt on top of my laptop’s screen. Don’t ask how it happened, I’m still not sure. I saw it coming, and even though it seemed to happen in slow motion, I was not able to react in time. Sadness. But at least he had practice in fixing it. I teased joked half-joked seriously told him to buy two screens, just so we were prepared. As a good hubbyman, he immediately ordered a new screen the next morning. And yesterday, it arrived! He tried to tell me he wasn’t sure if he had the tools to fix it at home, but I caught him trying to fix it a short time later. And he did! Yay! So now he’s not allowed to use it. I may have to hide it from him.

That fun stuff said… I couldn’t help but include you lovely in something I witnessed in our crazy household this morning; I heard some yelling and went to investigate and this is what I witnessed:

MissE is standing at the top of the stairs and delivers what those who know her best is the lowest of all blows, yells down to her brother:

FINE! You are NOT handsome anymore!

When there’s no response, she continues yelling it again.

Finally, her smart brother responded by yelling back up to her,

FINE! You ARE the prettiest girl!

Oh, I am so thankful for those funny, fleeting moments that get me through the day! And the kids who spurt them! And I’m also thankful that I get to go and babysit my nephew tonight! A few days ago- he smiled at me! I need to keep up with that trend and since I won’t see him for a month! (He’s only just a month old, so the idea of not seeing him for a whole month is a little devastating!) Anyhow, so I’m thankful for the opportunity to get a few more smiles, solidify my role as Queen of all Aunties, and maybe give his parents a bit of a break. I’m also thankful for the Kings of the Uncles who will have my kiddos on Saturday while we go have a day/afternoon/evening of fun and outdoor games with friends (and cocktails)! And I’m thankful for a hubbyman who is able to fix most of the things that he breaks.

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Cherish It All


I should get a tattoo of this. Ok, maybe not seriously, but seriously…  I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that I love me some coffee.

So as I was sipping coffee I was thinking about/listening to my children talking amongst themselves, and just so I don’t forget one precious minute, I’m going to share some of our latest things.

Big kids, older siblings, teach their younger ones lots of new things. Occasionally, it works backwards. Littlest says thank you as soon as you give him anything or do anything for him (dress him? thank you. change his diaper? thank you? feed him? thank you. kiss an owwie? thank you.). It’s very sweet, and an obvious homage to my parenting prowess. Or he’s just a big copycat. One of those. But lately, it gets better. Every thank you is followed by a Wuv Uuuu! (= love you… obviously!). Heart melting. And his siblings have taken note. They all now follow all their thank yous with Love Yous. And this mama is totally lovin’ it!

Another thing that has passed from one kid to another. When saying our I love you’s, I frequently followed it with a series of questions: the most? forever? always? 16? (It was Biggest’s favorite number and when he was under 2, 16 was the biggest number he could think of, when asked… and it just kinda stuck. He occasionally tells me that it’s now one hundred and 81 hundreds. His love for his mama is growing. Or he’s more aware of higher numbers, one of the two. I’m picking his love is growing.) Anyways, Littlest now does this too and it is just sooo cute. Even daddy can’t help but stop whatever project he’s working on to listen to littlest say these things. I tried to catch it on video to share with you all, but his siblings kept chasing him by trying to get themselves in the picture. Aaaand, all his kisses still end with the MWAH! sound. I love that boy.

And Miss, well she eats like a 14 year old boy. And I am not kidding you. My MIL says that she’d put my Miss up against any teenage boy in an eating contest, and that my girl would win. She eats a million times a day. It’s to the point that by the time I need to be making dinner I am so burnt out from getting meals together allllllllllll day that it’s not as fun as I usually find it. And she’s freakin’ tiny. Seriously. Found an outfit she wore as a baby (it’s 3 months I believe) and she could get it on her little body. Granted it’s capris instead of pants and the shirt is more of a belly shirt, but it fits. Metabolism of a horse, I tell ya!  We can frequently be overheard muttering the words So much attitude in someone so  tiny! Seriously!  The way this girl can express herself and articulate her thoughts is amazing. Especially when you remember that she’s still only 3! And she’s so literal, in a way that you would never expect/believe from a 3 year old. I’m telling you- It’s mind blowing!

And Biggest, well, he’s going through a stage that he finds exciting and scary. He’s growing and learning. Becoming more independent, even. Stages where more independence is learned is usually accompanied by some clingy-ness/whining while they adjust. Lately, he’s been declaring that I love Littlest more than him. I respond with, I love all my babies, and you were the very first baby I ever loved. He hasn’t been saying I love Littlest more lately, but I still get an occasional, Was I really the first baby you loved? And he’s becoming embarrassed about things. He doesn’t like me to share things he’s said and especially to be laughed at. And he’s starting to notice that girls are cute. He and I  had a date last night and I caught him staring at a little girl. When I turned to look at her, he turned red, grabbed my hand, and said Mooom, don’t look at her! I looked at him, smiled, and just said, What, it’s ok! To which he sighed and said, ok you can look at her, but it’s just one of my big kid friends. (We’ve never seen this girl before.) When recounting this story to his daddy, he walked into the room midstory, and was pretty horrified that I would tell daddy about it. Hubbyman had a good laugh and was like, Ah! He’s starting to think girls are cute! He then told Biggest that he thinks girls are cute. Which made Biggest eye his daddy curiously. Hubbyman responded with, Yeah, I think Mommy’s cute. Biggest rolled his eyes and said, Dad! Mom is not cute, she’s just a mom! (Thank you, very much, for that ego boost, son I labored with for over 24 hours.) *Sigh*

My babies are growing and changing. And really, none of them are babies anymore. How did that happen?! When did that happen?! Moments, all these little, tiny, lovely moments… they go fleeting by. I hope I cherish all that I possibly can.

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Just Run


I woke up this morning not feeling so hot. I’m hoping it’s just my allergies, and not whatever Biggest had. Because a)Hubby got a promotion/new position and they’re having a happy hour for him that I get to attend (which means we also have a babysitter! Thanks My Big Cloth Adventure!), b)I’m supposed to watch the Little Pumpkin that belongs to the mama from My Big Cloth Adventure on Friday night. and lastly (and probably most importantly!) I am awaiting “the call” from my sister-in-law to let me know it’s time to get my doula shoes on and go! So let’s all cross our fingers, say a prayer, send out some light and love… and have me not be sick! I am actually feeling a ton better than when I woke up, so I *think* I’m in the clear! My grandma is in town from another state, to hopefully be around for the baby’s birth, so I have been staying up late trying to get things in order and cleaned and prepared so that I can steal her away from my parents for a couple of days! Things are now all organized! (I even reorganized my pantry closets!)  I just have some CLEANING to do (you know, dusting, vacuuming, mopping… the fun stuff.) Anyways, I thought maybe you would enjoy this snippet of conversation as much as I did!

MissE: Why do we have to walk everywhere?

Me: We don’t have to. We like to. And the store is really close, so why not walk.

MissE: Can’t we just drive?

Me: Well, Daddy’s at work, so he has the truck.

MissE: Can’t Daddy just walk to work?

Me: No, it’s too far to walk. It would take too long.

MissE: Then he should just run.          

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My Eyes! My Ears! They’re Everywhere!


There’s something about this last week that has left me feeling like I have a newborn. Up in the night, crowded bed, awakened by crying… except with a newborn all you have to do is feed them and they’re happy again, and you get to have a teeny-tiny personal all snuggled up to you. These things need specific foods, and it’s never what I’m trying to give them. And where did that stupid box of Kleenexes go? Or the other three of them I just bought? And Littlest pinched Miss. And Miss is trying to shove Biggest out of the rocking chair because she was sitting in it first. Because she was the last to sit in it last night, that counts as first for today. Even though her older brother has been cozied up in it, quietly reading a book for the last half hour. Other than that book he just threw as I walked by- so that I could put it away for him and get him another one.

Suddenly, I find myself wide-eyed, and frustration burning in my ears. They get very quiet and lean as far back as they can, away from me. They know it’s coming. They can hear the kettle’s steam whistle a’whistlin’… I take a very long, deep breath. I close my eyes and I pray outloud. Lord, let me love these crazy, little children. Let me see them the way you see them today. 

They looked back and forth between each other. They looked at me skeptically. Are your eyes not working? I hear a small voice ask. Another one chimes in with, Do you not have eyes everywhere anymore? Followed by a whisper between them, Maybe she won’t be able to see us when we’re playing in my room anymore. C’mon, let’s go.

I don’t even bother suppressing my laugh. I just laugh. And I see them. Finally starting to see some relief from the cold/allergy plague that’s kept them down this past week. Tired from their coughing waking them up at night. Stir crazy from being trapped inside, between the sudden cold snap and their colds. But from amid all of that, they see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Mom may have gone crazy enough that she no longer can see us getting into trouble when she’s not there. 

And just like that, I am snapped back to reality. I see kids who are tired of not feeling well. MissE has asked several times in the last few days, What can I do to feel better? or Will this make it so I don’t feel like this anymore? And I have made homemade chicken noodle soup, which then turned into chicken pot pie (apparently adding peas and corn made it the most amazing meal for them!). I have made fruit smoothies and poured countless glasses of orange juice. I  have taken more showers in the last week (while holding a little one) than I normally do in a month. Ok, that may be an embellishment. But honestly, not by much. And finally I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Snot is drying, coughs are abating, and a little bit of sleep was even to be had. So there is the light. I may have to drag them by their shoestrings, or lure them with chocolate… but I’m dragging them to that light.

{Overheard}

(Biggest E:)You need to flap your wings some more.

(MissE:) Like this? Ok, here I come.

(LittlestE: )Turn! Turn! Mine! Fly! Me!

(MissE:) Do you think Littlest should take a turn?

(Biggest:) No, MissE, he’s too little to fly. Oh, I guess he wants to. Ok, let him try.

(Me:)  No more jumping off the top bunk, and for the hundredth time, do not teach your brother to fly!

(Biggest:) Do you think all her eyes are working again?

(MissE:) Yeah. [whispers] Least she doesn’t have ears everywhere so can’t hear us being naughty.

(Me:) Yes, I do. And I heard that.

(All): Scream.

Biggest: We’re never going to have any fun!

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The Boy That Named Me Mommy


Tomorrow, my biggest boy, my oldest child, my Big E will be turning 5. There has been so much fit into such a tiny time space, so much that it has flown by in the blink of an eye. Just another thing you can add to the “Things My Parents Were Right About” file. It does go by in the blink of an eye. His pregnancy felt like it took forever, while we were waiting his arrival (thank you hyperemesis gravidarum for months spent on the bathroom floor and ER rooms). Once he was in arms, it was as if the pregnancy had flown right by.  Before I knew it he was crawling, then walking, talking, climbing, destroying (he was formerly known as The Master of Disaster). And here I sit, five very short years later.

Here are some of my favorite things about the boy who turned me into a mother:

  • He loooves Chinese food. He refers to sweet & sour chicken as “the chicken I like.” In fact, his favorite restaurant is also my favorite. (Score one for mommy!)
  • He looooves his siblings. He and MissE always climb into bed with me first thing in the morning. (Littlest is already next to me at that point.) And he always says, Can I watch Littlest while you get ready? And while they may fight like brother and sister, they are well on their way to growing up to becoming much like my brothers & I are- best friends.
  • He is a fantastic helper. He was just 18 months old when Miss E was born, and while looking back we feel badly that we missed (and he too, for that matter) the end of his “babyness” and overnight he turned into a little boy, helping to fetch diapers, and throw away dirty ones. He now takes the cups off the table and puts them in the fridge to “save” their drinks for  later. And I have never once asked him to do this, he just does. And he gets them out too. He puts away the “kid dishes” (they have their own drawer within reach to set the table and put them away.) when they’re clean, and gets them  out when it’s time to eat. And he’s frequently found in his brother’s cross-hairs for not letting him get into something (like the toilet) when he wants to. He also is the one who lets the dog out first thing in the morning.
  • He loves learning. Whenever we get his school things out, he is excited and willing. And he catches on quick. It’s amazing to watch him learn to write and grow into someone who’s thinking about why things are the way they are.
  • He is a feeler. Out of all 3 of our kids, his temperament is the closest to my own. He does not like it when you are upset, especially with him. And he is quick to notice if someone is not talking to him, or even looking at him, in a way that promotes smiles and laughter. And his attitude generally corresponds those he’s interacting with. If you’re happy, he’s happy. If you’re cranky, he’s cranky.
  • He is a snuggler. He’s good about bed time, although he needs a long wind down period. But if he had it his way, he’d just cuddle his way to sleep. Just last night I heard him whispering for his sister, when everyone else in the house was asleep- long past his own bedtime. I went in and he was just laying there and simply asked, could we cuddle just for a few minutes. I laid down, and he promptly rolled over, threw his hands around my neck, gave me a kiss, and said I love you, Mommy. Goodnight. And then rolled over and went to sleep. (This is another area we are similar. I want a quick snuggle and reassurance before sleep, and then roll over to my own space.)
  • He has a huge, vivid imagination. We often joke that he is a one kid zoo, because you can never be sure what animal he’ll be at any given moment. He can make up the most interesting stories. (My brother stopped by for a visit during Christmas time and was pulled aside to tell him a “secret” story that included Santa, a dragon, and things turning into bacon and being eaten. I only wish I could remember the details. It was hilarious and so imaginative that when recounted to one of my other brothers, he thought for sure we’d made it up instead of the boy.)
  • While he wants a birthday party (and I’m not sure we’ve settled on an outcome of that), what he really wants for his birthday is for hubbyman and I to take him (and only him) to a movie. So tomorrow we are packing the kids up, dropping Miss E and Littlest off with their Tia (Auntie), and taking him to the place with the chicken he likes and a movie. I think hubbyman and I are equally as excited about this. Or at least I am. While hubbyman and I frequently rotate taking kids on errands disguised as dates (they don’t care where we go as long as it’s one-on-one), I cannot remember the last time we did anything with JUST our biggest boy. Littlest gets those times when the bigger ones go on “dates” with Uncles, or Grandparents, and sometimes we have just Miss E and littlest, because the Big Boy is always up for going and doing something, and is always fine with doing an overnight (in fact, when we go to hubbyman’s parents’ home, he’s disappointed when he finds out that we’re staying too.).

Hubbyman had a “boys’ night” this weekend, and I found myself thinking that it’s so strange to think about the lifetime ago that 5 years was. I wasn’t a mom yet. My idea of a fun Saturday night did not involve playing numerous games of Madagascar or Sesame Street on the wii, nor did it involve strange editions of candy land followed by movies of the cartoon persuasion. But there I sat, after a night of just me and the kids, playing games, laughing, and loving. And thinking about what a great night it was.

the day before he was born we walked the beach, picking shells

5 years ago, I was 41+ weeks pregnant, thinking about how my back hurt beyond belief, my ribs were bruised from the inside, and that the little boy inside me was never going to come out. 5 years ago, I had no idea how my world would be flipped upside down, or that my eyes would see everything in a different light. Just goes to show you the difference one day can make. I had no idea that 24 hours later I would be holding the sweet, perfect little person who not only made me a mother, but taught me how to be Mommy. And to love almost every second of it.

the day before Big E was born

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There Are No (Appropriate) Words


Today I’ve been feeling a little sub par, and it seemed like no matter how I tried to pretend I was feeling good and could be productive (we’ll have around 13 adults and 6 children under 5 in a week and a half in our home to celebrate Christmas!), every time I turned around, I’d run smack into something to remind me of how crappy I was feeling, along with unproductive. Like how I heard Littlest scamper down the stairs to join his siblings in play, and thought it would be a good time to throw some things in the laundry. By the time I’d switched out clothes from the dryer and the washer and reloaded the washer… I came upstairs to this pleasant surprise. We had girl cheese (as my MissE pronounces it) with tomato soup for lunch only minutes earlier, and the table had yet to be cleared. Littlest found a spoon and was feeding himself a slurp from every cup… unfortunately most of it ran down his front and onto the table, where he discovered he liked the feeling of it squishing between his toes. Needless to say, a bath ensued as he had tomato soup from head to toe and a plethora of places in between. And as this is just one example for the day (he also pulled over the Christmas tree…), these are all the words I care to say out loud. I hope you can understand, and maybe even sympathize. If you can babysit, that would even be better

Just in case you couldn't clearly see the mess

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Signs My Children Are Evil Geniuses


Ok, maybe they’re not evil…. and maybe they’re not geniuses (I’m saying that for the sole reason that there are parents out there whose children are not geniuses, and if that’s you, I want you to keep reading with a clear mind, instead of one muddled with thoughts of how your children are under-achievers.. Obviously, mine actually are geniuses.)

Sign #1. As I typed of them truly being geniuses, my youngest stripped off his diaper, only to immediately pee on the floor. And then cry about being wet. My children love to make a liar out of me, or maybe just a fool. Either way they win; I lose.

Sign #2. The men on my husband’s side all need to be fed before they get hungry or disaster ensues. So if one of my boys says they’re hungry, for the love of all things peaceful, feed them and feed them quick! My oldest always seems to get hungry just as I’m in the middle of doing something tedious/time consuming/I have to get done which means that I’ll make him something fast like a PB&J (this kid would live on it if he had the choice) instead of cooking an entire meal.

Sign #3. They keep me guessing. MissE will whine and whine and whine. Just when I think I’m, going to lose it with her, and the constant questions, requests, and flat out whining, she’ll respond with, I was asking if I could have this orange to share with Big E, because we’re hungry and it’s healthy for us so we’ll grow big and strong. They do all these childish things and then spout out some grown up paraphernalia. Yesterday, MissE’s complaint was that Littlest E just didn’t appreciate her. Yes, those were her words.

Sign #4. I’m guessing most people with a dog probably also have this problem, but I’m adding it in as collective evidence. Something they don’t want to eat but have been told they have to?  It inevitably gets spilled on the floor where the dog lay in wait, before I could even think about the possibility of making them eat it anyways. (I’m not specifically saying I would, just saying it’s gone before I could even process that thought!)

Sign #. This may be the most telling sign of all. My children are good helpers. Big E wakes up and lets the dog out, often all on his own. Miss E is my “fetcher” (as she woman looks for objects where as my boys “man look”- which either means that it truly is genetic, or Big E is a bigger evil genius than I realized), and even Littlest E loves to help put away toys. They love to help so much that they often argue over who gets to do what. If I ask someone to let the dog back in and one keeps playing, while the other goes running… the one left behind falls into hysterics as they obviously wanted to be the one to do it. And heaven forbid I ask one of them specifically to do something for me, the other is always hurt that I didn’t ask them to do it. Which means that sometimes I weigh the time spent calming them down vs. time spent doing the job itself. And I admit there are times when I just do things myself because that’s easier than dealing with the but-I-wanted-to-do-it fall out. Which just may be exactly what they wanted….

She *looks* so unsuspecting, doesn't she?

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The White Fluffy Stuff (that isn’t marshmallows)


Can I just say that the Saturday before Thanksgiving is not a great time for a quick trip to the grocery store?? I spent twice as long in line as I did shopping. After returning from our outing, I sat down for a(nother) cup of coffee. When I filled my cup, there was nothing going on outside. By the time my cup was empty (like 30 minutes, maybe 45), I glanced out the door and scared hubbyman by gasping, Look! The deck was covered, along with all the roofs of our neighbors and most of the yards. (Backstory; Big E has been asking every morning if today will be the day it will snow. I’d been telling him all week that Saturday would be the day. And he’d already asked a couple times on our trip out if it was time for the snow yet.) So I flew downstairs and grabbed my biggest boy, covered his eyes, and brought him to the window. His eyes widened and he shrieked, It’s snow!!  He helped his daddy shovel the driveway and made a snowman. He has since been very concerned about doing everything possible to not let the snow melt. Including trying to convince his parents to move his snowman into the freezer. That’s a reasonable request, right?

Another thing keeping me laughing during all the craziness that the holidays can bring on… every time I’ve looked at Littlest E this morning he says, Shake! Booty! And then starts dancing. Highly entertaining!

A few days ago Littlest E did some raking. This weekend Big E shoveled the walkway. Wonder what child labor I can find for Miss E this week?

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