nevertheless, she persisted

I watched my daughter climbing up the rock wall on the back of our swingset a couple of days ago.  She has gotten fairly good at it, but it takes a few tries and she sometimes falls a couple of times before she is able to hoist herself all the way up.

“Mama watch this!” she said as she put one foot at a time on a foothold.  She got stuck, not sure what her next move should be, and I reminded her to move her arms up the rope to help pull herself up for the next step. She slipped, and determined to make it to the top, started back up from the ground.  Two more tries and she was up in the clubhouse.

I hope she never loses that persistence.  That sense of determination she has is something I’m so proud of. Sometimes it comes across as defiance; when she wants to finish coloring her picture just perfectly even though it’s bathtime,  for example. But if I really think about it, I never want her to lose it.

There will be so many challenges in her life, that I want to find a way to keep encouraging her to try and try again.  That desire to succeed, to make it, to accomplish something she sets her mind to is SO important, I think, especially for young girls. I never want her to think she can’t do something because of her gender. I’m not sure if the current climate has me thinking more about this, or just the fact that I have a young girl now.

So I’ll have to remember that, the next time she is trying to get a stubborn zipper up by herself and I’m standing by the door keys in hand rushing her out the door…I should stop to recognize her persistence when she succeeds. Persistence and determination will get her a lot farther in life than simply hurrying to the next thing on our list.

Our first baby

I have a lot of guilt about this one. 

My husband and I adopted our dog from a rescue the year we got engaged, and he was our first baby. We would rush home to let him out and feed him, he slept in our room with us, and we would take him to all our family gatherings. 
Plenty of people warned me that when we had kids, our dog would likely be neglected. I didn’t believe them – why would someone neglect a dog? They weren’t even that much work. You love on them, walk them, feed them, let them out. I said I would never let that happen to our sweet dog. 

Fast forward about 12 years later. We have a 4 1/2 year old and a 14 month old, and our lives have completely changed. Our kids naturally take up all of our waking hours, and we find ourselves asking each other before bed “did you feed the dog?” I’m not saying we ignore him – he usually accompanies us out on our walks and playtime in the backyard and hangs out with us wherever we are in the house. But I can admit he has taken a back seat….and sometimes I look at him and wonder if he actually, in a doggy sort of way, feels sad. 

He’s getting older…he can’t really hear anymore and he’s moving a little slower. So I find myself hoping that we have given him a good life, even if he doesn’t get as much attention as he used to. I dread the day he passes and I’m sure I’ll have some regrets.

I still love our sweet dog so much, our first baby. And oh he does still get to sleep in our bedroom, we never changed that. 

learning to read!

Figuring out exactly how to teach my daughter to read has been tough. She’s a little over 4 1/2, and starting kindergarten in September.  She does attend preschool, and of course they learn letters and sounds there. But I wanted some tools to teach her at home.

After looking into different methods, I settled on the one I myself used almost 40 years ago, when I was learning to read.  I know it sounds like there has got to be SOME progress since then in the “ways to learn how to read” department, but I swear this one is working.

It’s a book called Let’s Read (I got mine from amazon, link here). I’ll admit it may seem a bit overwhelming at first – it’s quite large and has a gazillion pages. But, it’s set up in a very logical way.

The rhyming and word patterns seem to give my daughter some confidence, and she is thrilled when she works through a page. She regularly asks me when she’s going to be at “page 100.” We read for about 5-10 min before bed each night. That seems to be a good time of day for us when there isn’t something else she’d rather be doing.

One other tool we use are the BOB books (again, I got mine from Amazon, link here). These employ a similar concept – patterns and a gradual progression in level of difficulty. And my daughter loves the fact that she can hold the book and read the entire thing, front to back. She’s so proud when she finishes one.

Anyway, thought I’d share!

day is done.

Ah, what a nice feeling. The kids are in bed. I’ve finally got my feet up and am laying in bed on my laptop.

But then tomorrow, we do it all again.  But that’s okay, because as long as these days can seem and as tiring as they are, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I know that I will never get these days back with my little ones.  That they will need me a little less tomorrow than they did today. That someday, I will miss having the sound of the baby monitor on my nightstand as I fall asleep.

So for today, day is done. Until tomorrow, that is.

am i enough?

I, like many moms, often question myself. I found myself staring out the window on a work trip to new york and the thoughts were swirling through my mind.

  • Am I doing enough?
  • Did I give them the right nutrition today?
  • Did they get too much screentime?
  • Should I have sent a different coat to preschool with my daughter?
  • Did we do enough reading?
  • Is my baby getting enough opportunities for sensory exploration?

And the list goes on. I’m sure other moms do this every day as well, but it’s hard. It’s hard not knowing if the little beings I’m entrusted to raise into big people are getting everything they need from me.

It’s a huge responsibility, right? Being responsible for raising another human being? My husband and I certainly do what we feel is right. We put them first.  They are the absolute center of our universe, but somehow it still seems like it’s not enough.

These little people that are so completely dependent on me is a huge weight. Sometimes as I watch them sleeping, I wonder if they feel they have everything they need. Or if they know any different. Or if some day, when they are older, they’ll feel that something was missing.

It probably never goes away – the self doubt of whether I am enough for them. But today, I choose to continue giving my little ones 110% of myself, until I crawl into bed at the end of a long day and miss their little heads and bodies until I see them again in the morning.

He’s not a baby anymore

I sat with my baby boy last night, rocking him while he had his bedtime milk.

As he sipped his milk in his tired state, I took a few minutes to look him over as I held him close.  I noticed his hair was coming in thicker…he was no longer my bald little baby.  I noticed his hands were getting bigger. He still has those chubby dimpled fingers, but as I stroked the back of his hand it just looked like it had grown.

I became conscious of how he fit differently against my body.  He was so long that his legs didn’t fit across my lap anymore. He felt more sturdy, more solid, more, well, like a little boy. I suddenly felt like I was holding not a baby, but a little boy.

I thought about the last time he had his milk in a bottle; it had been a couple of months. I thought about the last time he had a midnight feeding, with myself or my husband holding him with heavy lids and in a dazed state.  It had been so long, that although I was grateful we were getting more sleep, I missed it.

These days are going by so fast, it’s true what they say – that your second child seems to grow so much faster than your first. I feel like I’ve blinked and he’s 14 months old. And as I sat here holding him, rocking him, getting him ready for bed – I became aware that he’s not a baby anymore. He’s an official toddler, and I can see the boyhood emerging before my eyes.