Tag Archives: Matthew

Bittersweet Changes

Dear Sweet Matthew,

When Katie was a baby, I delayed solids until I felt increasing  pressure from others to introduce her to cereal.  I held my ground until she was 8 months old, when I caved because her pediatrician suggested that I have her iron levels tested.  The thought of a blood draw was enough for me to cringe and immediately introduce her to cereal. 

Though she liked eating and did well, I have always second guessed that decision and wondered if I should have held out a bit longer.  Before you were born, I decided that I would wait until you were 12 months old to begin solids. 

For the past couple of weeks, you have been wanting to nurse every two hours and have seemed truly unsettled after nursing.  You have also begun waking up at 5:30 every morning to nurse.  You’ve been crying so often and lunging for me, hoping to eat.

So, after a great deal of internal debate, we did this:

And you absolutely loved it. 

You get so excited when we place you in your high chair.  You smile between every bite and you are happier throughout the entire day.  You were hungry and it breaks my heart that my determination to make it to a certain date kept me from doing what was right for you earlier than I did. 

As much as I know that you were ready for solids, I can’t express how sad it makes me.  You are quite possibly our last baby and with each milestone that you reach, you are less my baby. 

Nursing is such an emotional experience, one that unites us in such an amazing way.  And if I’m honest, I have to admit that I like that I have been giving you something that no one else could.  We never gave you a bottle, so every single bit of your nourishment up to this point has come directly from me. 

You were 8 months and 12 days old when you first had cereal. 

And for 8 months and 12 days, I could look at you and know that it was my milk that helped you to grow and to thrive.

I love you, Matthew, and I am so grateful for the connection that we have.  I promise to always do what is best for you, even if it isn’t the easy choice for me.

With love and snuggles,

Mommy

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Knees of a New Crawler

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Sometimes You Get the Opposite of What You Expect

I love my children.

I love playing, reading, and snuggling with them.

But you know what else I really love?  Naptime.

These moments allow me to rest and recharge for more playing, reading, and snuggling.

Matthew chose not to nap today.  It could be his teeth that are bothering him, or perhaps the ever-present reflux, but he absolutely refused to succumb to a good afternoon nap.

Fearing the worst–a crabby, clingy baby–I somewhat begrudgingly retrieved him from his bed. I was rewarded with hugs and smooches and we ended up having a wonderful time together.

He was calm and happy, interactive and pleasant.

Obviously, he and I don’t have as much time alone together as I had with Katie when she was small.  But this afternoon it was just the two of us.

It was one of those small moments that I speak about so often…and though I am still a huge fan of naps, I have to admit that having him all to myself wasn’t so bad.

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Pure Joy

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Black and White, or Shades of Gray? Alcohol and Raising Children

Craig and I drink in moderation in front of our kids. 

It seems to me that there are two schools of thought on this topic, those who do and those who don’t drink in front of their children.

Either way, it’s really just about setting an example, if you really think about it.  Right?

Those who opt not to drink in front of their children argue that it is unseemly and a bad influence on them, and that they don’t want to glamorize drinking.

Then there are those who, like myself, think that responsible drinking can help to foster a healthy attitude towards alcohol, as children learn about moderation and responsible behavior.

I grew up in a home where drinking wasn’t “allowed” until we were eighteen and then it was only on holidays and it was something revolting like white wine mixed with ginger ale.  

I did, however, drink regularly with my friends in my later high school years.  Regrettably, I have far too many (very hazy) memories of getting drunk, throwing up, acting irresponsibly, and even passing out a handful of times.  Based on my experience, there goes the theory that if teens don’t see it, they won’t try it.  There’s no way to say with certainty that if my mother enjoyed a glass of wine in the evening or a few beers on the weekend I would have handled myself differently, but I do wonder.

What I do know is that I want to prevent our kids from irresponsible underage drinking.  The thought of Katie or Matthew drinking at a high school party and then getting into a car with someone unfit to drive sends me into a complete panic.

I’m curious and would really love to hear your thoughts.  Which way do you see it?  Is it black and white or are there shades of gray?  Do you drink in front of your children?  Did your parents drink in front of you?

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How Do I Do This Again?

I have sat down to write no fewer than what feels like a thousand times and I can’t formulate my thoughts into a whole.  My writing has become stream-of-consciousness at best.  I sit down to write, I struggle through a few sentences, and then I walk away.

So, in an attempt to get back in the swing of things, I’m going to just go with my stream-of-consciousness writing and I’m hoping that you’ll all bear with me.

I feel like I’m betraying my mother-in-law’s memory by blogging so soon after her death.  How can I write about everyday things when I have the gravity of her death on my mind?

I want to be able to write about the joys of summer, ice cream sandwiches, kiddie pools, and bike rides, but my mind is consumed with the fragility of life, fear of more heartache, and ways to hold my family even tighter.

I was lying in bed last night, thinking about how much fun it would be to go camping.  My mind wandered to when the kids are a little older and I had visions of them wanting to sleep in their own tent.  My heart started to race and I nearly had a panic attack lying there.  I realized that I truly doubt that I will ever be able to let them have that kind of freedom.

When we were at the dentist today for Katie’s check-up, the dental hygienist led her out of the room without me to choose a reward for being so well-behaved.  Anxiety gripped me immediately.

I’ve always struggled with anxiety, with fears of the worst possible thing happening and I’ve spent my share of hours talking to a professional about it.  But now, I am feeling that familiar panicky undercurrent, nipping at my feet and it scares me.

My mother-in-law had struggled with health problems for quite some time and I think in some strange way, we took for granted that she’d always get through her challenges.  She was so upbeat and determined.  The latest hospital stay and her subsequent death truly caught me off-guard.

Now I’m feeling afraid of my own shadow.

I want to be carefree, I want my to make my children laugh, and I want to loosen my hold on them just a bit.

I want to blog again about happy and trivial things.

I’m going to keep writing and hope that little by little, I’m able to breathe a little easier and laugh a little quicker.

Thanks for hearing me out.

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Gender Disappointment, Unanswered Prayers, and Getting Lost

Today I looked at my sweet boy and I realized that there is simply no way to express just happy he has made me.  He is sweet, he is soft, and he is incredibly affectionate.  I cannot believe how lucky I am to have him and to be the mother of this baby boy.

I haven’t always felt this way.

When we had our nuchal translucency test at twelve weeks pregnant, the sonographer was certain that we were having a boy.  I remember feeling as though she had punched me in the stomach.  {I had honestly never even contemplated having a boy.}  I was choked up, but managed to hold it together until I was safely in the hallway with my husband, at which point I completely fell apart.  I had just been told that we were having a healthy child and I was crying like a lunatic because that healthy child was a boy.*

Then I remembered reading that those early ultrasounds were unreliable, and we couldn’t possibly know for sure what we were having until we were eighteen weeks along, at the earliest.  I told myself that if the baby was, in fact a boy, we would, of course, accept him and love him.

A friend of mine, when her child is pouting or having a tantrum over something, says, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”  This is the mindset I had, I reminded myself to be grateful, but it the back of my mind, I prayed that we would learn that we were having a girl afterall.

Then, at the eighteen week ultrasound, the sonographer showed us the irrefutable proof that we were having a son.  There was no doubt. 

As I was coming to grips with the idea of having a boy and grieving the fact that we weren’t having another girl, I told myself that we would have to try for another baby.  I felt as though I wouldn’t be complete until I had another daughter.

Then, after a long pregnancy and many difficult months after his birth, I grew to love this little boy every bit as much as I love his sister.  This didn’t surprise me, as I never questioned whether or not I would love him.  I had just always questioned whether he would be enough.  Day by day, the love I feel for him has grown to a point where I shudder at the idea that I was ever disappointed. 

In the About section of this blog, I described my love for my children this way:  “Katie is everything I always knew that I needed and Matthew is exactly what I always needed, without knowing that I needed it.”  I couldn’t have known how my heart would swell at the thought of him.  

There is a part of Garth Brooks’ song, “Unanswered Prayers” that speaks beautifully to the way I feel now.  He sings:

     Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
     Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
     That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
     Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.

This is exactly what Matthew is–one of my greatest gifts.  I could have never imagined just how much I needed him and how much he would fill a spot inside of me that I didn’t realize was empty.

When I was young, my mother used to say that the best part of going on a road trip was getting lost.  She said that when you stray from your route, you see and experience amazing things that you hadn’t planned for.  She couldn’t have been more correct. Though Matthew wasn’t on the route that I had mapped out for us, he has proven to be the most amazing of surprises.

Would I trade him for a girl? Not in a million years.

We never lost sight of just how fortunate we were to be having a healthy baby.  We miscarried a child just three months prior to getting pregnant for Matthew and we were so incredibly grateful to be given another chance.

 

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