Friday, April 19, 2013

Trial and Error

Being a mom is tough, like super tough.  Like hardest job I'll ever have tough.  It's not just the physical demands (birthing, feeding, sleep deprivation, etc.) but it's the emotional toll it takes too.  I am now responsible for another human being.  That's intense.

So yesterday, I was sitting in the toy room playing with the baby that I watch.  Karter was over sitting by the spot where we change him.  He had picked up a pair of shorts that I had brought down in case it was too warm for pants.  I watched him as he tried and tried to get these shorts on.  He got them on over his head and realized it wasn't right.  He tried to stick his hands through the holes and it wasn't right.  He finally got his legs through but couldn't figure out how to pull them up. 

I just sat there, wanting to jump up and put the shorts on for him.  He was so serious and so determined to achieve his goal that it broke my heart to see him struggle with trying to figure out how they go on.  I know it seems silly, but it just hit me then that this is one of the hardest things of being a mom.  Watching your child struggle through trial and error, when you know just what to do, is so difficult.  I don't want  him to fail, but I know that I need to let him so that he can deal with failure as he grows.  I won't always be there to help him put on his shorts, do his math home work or to yell at the girls who break his heart.

What I can do is to instill in him early on that when he succeeds, I love him and when he fails, I love him too.  What matters is that he tries  It's amazing how such everyday, simple things can teach you life lessons. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

So Sweet...Kind Of

You know what is so sweet?  Like fall in love with my husband a little bit more sweet (which makes a total of a lot a bit.)  The other day he told me that when he rocks Karter before bed at night, he asks him if he wants momma to have a baby.  Then they pray together (ok, Mark prays) for a baby for momma's belly.  I mean, that's precious, right?

What is not so fantastic is that the reason Mark shared this fact with me is because Karter is now constantly pointing at my belly and saying "baby."  This would be great, except for the fact that my reproductive system sucks at life (well it sucks at creating life.)

The moral of the story is...don't trust my 19 month old if you hear him saying there is a baby in momma's belly.  There isn't.  Yet.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Performance Review

I've said it before and I will say it again, I am so blessed to be able to stay at home with Karter. I can't imagine trading this time with him for any amount of money, possessions or hours of sleep.  Can it get monotonous?  Sure.  But it's so worth it. 

Today as we were playing, I was thinking to myself how I haven't had to have a performance review for a job in a year and a half.  Mentally, I started reviewing myself in my role as a mother.  There were areas that definitely need improving (but who doesn't, right?) but I tried to focus on my strengths.  I decided that there was one area that I would get an A+ on, and that's loving him.

I love him so much that words wouldn't do it justice to try and describe.  I must tell him 500 times a day how much I love him and follow each of these with a kiss (mixed with a little snot, on his end at least.)  If I do one thing for him as a mother, I want him to know that I love him and I will love him unconditionally.

I may let a Happy Meal or two slip in, his pants may get covered in dog hair because I haven't vacuumed the basement stairs in forever, but he's loved and he knows it.  And that's way more important.

Friday, February 22, 2013

I Appreciate...

Days are getting tough here in the Gariety household.  Tantrums are many and patience is few.  Today, in one of Karter's nicer moments, I just looked at my little guy and my heart overflowed with love for him.  So instead of focusing on his never ceasing climbing and karate kicking diaper changes, I decided to think of all the positives...

18 month old Karter, the things I appreciate about you are...

-The fact that you cleaned up the crayons you purposefully spilled all over the floor today.  While this did not come without a battle, I appreciate that at only the promise of a double high five you finally gave in.  I was only a slightly less appreciative when the high five went on for 10 minutes and when each one began with a running start and ended with a dive, but that's besides the point.

-Your desire to keep a clean household (well you want me to keep a clean household.)  Your new favorite word is "dirt" and I'd be lying if I said I heard you utter it less than 100 times today.  Yes, I see that fuzz on the floor.  No, I don't want to pick it up and take it to the trash can.  But after your insist upon it for several minutes, I give in and pick it up...then throw it across the room to where you can't see it (the trash can was too far.)

-Your ability to make your dad do silly things.  Your second favorite word right now is "hat" and it's the only thing you care about it.  If I ask you if you want daddy to come home, all you say is "hat" because you want dad to come in wearing it. There have been several nights in the last few weeks when we had to bribe you to eat your dinner by having your dad wear his knit hat at the dinner table.  Tonight, after I got home from the store, your dad told me his cold got worse tonight because he was so hot while giving you a bath due to you demanding he wear his knit hat while the space heater was on.  Makes me chuckle just thinking about it.

-You are just turning into such a little man.  Everyday I am more amazed at who you are and what you are becoming.  I knew it was inevitable that you would grow up, but now that it's starting to happen, I am trying to savor every moment.  Sure, the days are tough, but I wouldn't trade these days with you for anything!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Patience Is A Virtue I Don't Posess

Yesterday, I was lamenting to Mark about my hatred for my reproductive system and was seriously considering firing my ovaries or my uterus, or whatever it is that doesn't make babies as quickly as I want it to.  You could say that Mark is the more reasonable and logical one in the relationship and he didn't really see that as an effective reaction.  Mark doesn't let his disappointment over not getting pregnant right away show and his reaction is to say "I didn't pray enough for it this month.  I have to do better next month."  I appreciate this and the fact that he verbalizes what I think but don't necessarily say. 

So anyway, we were standing in the kitchen yesterday discussing this and Mark said to me "Megan, the best things are worth the wait.  We had to wait for Karter and he brings me so much joy."  Those words melted my heart.  As I looked over at my baby boy dragging around my clean rolling pin on my very dirty floors, I knew what Mark said was true.  My heart overflows with joy every time I look at him (even though my current view of him is on the video monitor refusing his nap for the second time in two days.)  I could not picture a more perfect boy for us nor could I imagine loving something as much as I love him.

I may not understand God's timing or want it to be that way in the moment, but looking back I always recognize that it is for my own good that God works the way He does.  I may never get to be pregnant again (ok, that's a little Debbie Downerish after only 4 months) but I have a little man that brings me so much joy already and that's enough for me.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The 7 Wonders of Toddlerhood

Today, as I was watching Karter run around like a crazy man in the basement, I thought about how my life has changed since having him.  You could say it's been overtaken by a 17 month old that is more stubborn than me, more determined than me and a lot cuter than me.  As I watched him standing on the DVR player turning on and off the TV, I realized that there's no need for me to see the 7 Wonders of the World, because I've got the 7 Wonders of Toddlerhood right here in my house (and anyway, we're never traveling outside a 6 hour driving radius again!)

The 7 Wonders of Toddlerhood (at least in this house)

The Wonder of the Dish Rag.  Maybe Karter is really dirty or maybe I'm a terrible laundrist (is that a word?) but there is nothing more rank than the smell of the dish rag that I wipe his face with.  Everytime I step into the kitchen, I am overwhelmed by this terrible smell.  I usually check the compost buckets to see if that is the origin and it never is.  It's always his dish rag.  I mean, it's not like I don't change them out daily (ok, every other day) or never rinse them off.  They just smell. Terribly.

The Wonder of the Iron Belly. Karter starts the day with a regular sized belly, but come bedtime it is sticking way over his pants and hard as a rock.  It's likely that if you ran into it, it would bruise you.  From what I've heard, this isn't totally's just shocking to see and feel.  Sure, when I eat a lot I can see my belly grow, but this is on a totally different level.  It's like he has a steel plate inside him that only comes out at night to protect what he has eaten during the day.  Freaky.

The Wonder of Simplicity.  Silly me, I thought Karter "needed" toys for Christmas.  In actuality, I could have wrapped him up a mixing spoon, pen and an electrical outlet cover and he would have been happy.  The child has a toy room on every floor and rarely touches anything in it.  I need to realize that he doesn't "need" anything in the form of materialistic things and I need to stop making him feel that he does.

The Wonder of the Laundry Basket.  I feel like his laundry basket is always full.  How does one acquire so much laundry?  I mean, we're past the stage where he is pooping on every outfit.  I do more of his laundry than Mark and I's combined.  Then it hits me.  I have different standards of hygiene for him than I do for myself.  Mark and I will wear the same thing to bed several nights in a row, but if Karter so much as sweats in his pj's I demand a new pair for the next night.  And I'm not going to lie, Mark and I will sweat in the same set of sheets for at least a month before I wash them...but as soon as baby boogers hit Karter's sheets I am ripping them off and putting them in the laundry.  This would all be well and good if only there was someone to put the clean laundry away...

The Wonder of Momma's Plate.  Apparently, food tastes better if is comes off of my plate and my utensils.  We gave Karter some cooked carrots tonight in his bowl and he refused to eat them.  As soon as he saw some on mine, he wanted them...with my fork.  So being the fool that I am, I gave him my fork (when he had a perfectly good Karter sized one on his plate) and I ate with my hands.  True story.

The Wonder of The Climb.  I've realized within the last few weeks that it is a shame that I have anything in my house that is higher than 4 inches off the ground.  I'm pretty sure that Karter carries a tape measure in his pocket and goes around finding things that are high enough that if he stands on it that I will freak.  And it's working.  Yesterday, he started standing on the toy box.  He only had one fall, but it was enough to scar me for awhile.

The Wonder of the Trash Can.  For some reason, as soon as I throw something away, it's value multiplies astronomically.  Or at least that is what I tell myself every time Karter digs something out that I have thrown away (which is all the time.)  I can't even tell you how many times I have walked in on him blowing his nose on a used tissue from the trash can (I just threw up a little in my mouth picturing this.)  It's gross.  Super gross.  Well, not as gross as when he takes my used straws out of the trash can and licks them...

I guess really, the biggest wonder of them all is that after a day filled with all this, I love him even more than I did the day before.  We can have the most frustrating, tantrum filled day but as soon as I realize I have to be without him for the next 12 hours, my heart aches for him.  But then I think about all the good tv I can get caught up on, and it doesn't ache so much...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Doing It All Backwards

For the last 11 days, Mark and I have been off work for Christmas Break.  It's been wonderful, minus the stomach flu that plagued us both.  I love having him home and I think that Karter loves having us both around even if he does go around shouting "mum mum" if I am not within 5 feet of him.  Mark goes back to work tomorrow and I start watching kids again, and while we both love what we do, I will miss having him around (and not just so I can trick him into unloading the dishwasher.)

Today, as I was watching Karter mimic Mark as he was working on the spare bedroom, I just wished that we could reverse the order of things.  Why can't we be "retired" when we are younger, with young children we want to spend time with, with spouses we still like (well, I will probably like Mark for the next 387839 years)?  Why can't we enter the workforce when our kids are off in college or starting their own families.

I mean sure, this isn't the most ideal situation.  Having 60 and 70 year olds doing work meant for young bodies probably isn't realistic.  But I wish there was another way to have more time for family and less for work.  Winning the lottery?  Getting my own reality show?  Ok, so those probably aren't very realistic either.

I suppose since it's not likely that Mark will find a position that requires him to work 20 hours for the same amount of pay, it's up to us to make the most of the time we have together.  I thought Mark was on board with my retire when you're young idea too, but after he was with a temper-tantrum-throwing Karter for most of the day, I think he was excited our break was coming to an end tomorrow...