Monday, August 13, 2012

Happy First Birthday, Baby

Dear little baby toddler Karter.

So today is your first birthday.  Can you believe it?  Just 366 days ago you were still in my belly kicking around like it was your first jungle gym.  Now you are a walking, talking real boy.  Who would have thought, at 3 am in your first weeks of life, that this time would go by so fast?  Sometimes I am afraid I didn't soak up every moment that I could of you this first year.  You are no longer a baby, you are on your way to toddler hood, and I'm not sure I can handle it.  Your grammie gave me a book for Mother's Day called "If I Could Keep You Little" and it's the story of my life.  I just want you to be little forever, but know it's my job as a mom to guide and watch you as your grow.

Consider this letter a reminder of all that you have meant to me this first year. 

You are...

-an answer to a prayer.  "I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him." 1 Samuel 1:27.  This verse is so true.  We prayed so hard that one day we would have you, and here you are!  After a year of negative pregnancy tests, you were a positive-just the baby that God picked out for us.

-a miracle.  I had worried during the first trimester that something would happen (hence the paper chain countdown I made until it was over), never thinking that I had much to worry about after that.  Wrong.  In case I haven't told you a million times what a miracle you are, you can read your birth story here.

-a lesson in unconditional love.  I will never not love you.  Even when you throw all of your dinner on the floor, bite me numerous times in the same spot or wake me up in the middle of the night for no reason, I will still love you more every day.  There is not a decision you can make in life that will make me not love you.  Oh, I may not agree with them all, but I will love you and support you in all your walks of life.  Though I thought I had an idea of what God's love for us was like, now that I have had you, I have such a greater appreciation for His unconditional love.

-what I was made for.  I have always wanted to be a mother.  Always.  Thank you for giving me that chance.  I may make mistakes and may let you down sometimes (like when I won't let you date until you are like 28), but always know that I wouldn't trade being your mom for anything in the world.  Not even a Hot Now from Krispy Kreme (and that's saying a lot.)

-a reminder of the simpler things.  It's amazing to see how much joy an empty container of sour cream can bring you.  When you hear me say "outside" you get so excited and kick your feet as if you had just won the baby lottery.  You remind me that life isn't about things, it's about living in the moment and making the most of it.

-so much more than I can put into words.  At times, this first year has been hard, trying and a learning experience.  But it was worth it.  So worth it. 

I've loved seeing you grow and change this first year, little K bug.  I can't wait to see what this next year has in store for us (crossing my fingers that it includes a lot of sleep.)

Love you more each day,
Your Momma

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Dilemna

Sometimes I think maybe I over think things.  Or I just worry that I will make a wrong choice which will negatively affect Karter and he will end up on a therapist's couch one day reminiscing about his rough childhood (I mean, today I only gave him 2 crackers when he was clearly signing "more".)  Whatever it may be, I've been thinking about something for awhile and trying to decide what the right choice's not really a big thing, but it's been weighing on my mind.

As a stay at home mom, I am blessed with the opportunity to be with Karter 99.9% of his waking hours (along with the other kids I watch.)  I love being able to be with him all day and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.  To me, the pros of being a stay at home mom outweigh the cons of it, but sometimes I do worry that he will be 15 and still hanging on to my leg when someone new comes over.

I just feel this inner conflict of guilt sometimes that since I am home with him, he deserves every second of my time playing and engaging him in activities because it's my job...while the other part of me feels like I am doing him a disservice by not promoting independent play.  Sure, there are times that he goes off and plays on his own, but probably not enough.  But I just feel like a bad mom if I step away from him, wanting him to drive the trucks on his own. 

To make matters worse, I can't complete any household chores even if I can step away...if he hears the dishwasher open, he rushes over to it to climb; if he hears me in the laundry room., he runs over to open and shut the door and if I try to sweep, he comes over and messes up my pile.  So what am I left to do for the few minutes he plays on his own?  Facebook.  I mean, I guess I could take up knitting again, but there's a good chance he would just come over and unravel what I had accomplished.

So maybe I am just making a mountain out of a mole hill (seriously, who uses that phrase??) but it's been weighing on my mind.  It seems like a lose-lose...he plays independently and I have guilty feelings of being a subpar mom or I play with him constantly and he never learns independence.  Perhaps I just need to change my mindset and view it as a win win...he plays independently and I have a chance to broaden my vocabulary with Words with Friends.  Yes, that seems like a better perspective.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Haircut

What I am about to say may shock you, disappoint you or disgust you:  Kendra Wilkinson Baskett (or whatever name she goes by) was right about something (let's emphasize, one thing, she was only right about one thing.) I remember, on the one (lie) episode I watched, she was a mess about the thought of getting her child's hair cut.  She didn't want it cut and thought of it as he was losing the hair that he had while in her belly.  At the time, I thought she was being ridiculous, as her child looked like a chia pet was growing on his head, but now I get it.  Totally get it.

Mark has been on my case about cutting Karter's hair from about 5-6 months.  As soon as Karter started to sport curls, Mark thought it was time to cut it off.  I, on the other hand, loved his curls.  They were like his trademark.  What would Karter be without his curls?  Would he lose his baby super powers like Samson?  Most importantly, in a time when he is becoming more like a little boy every day, would this hair cut make him look like a little boy instead of a baby?

I finally gave in today.  I mean, I couldn't pass up a free hair cut at JCP.  So I called this morning and made my appointment.  I felt like I was going into it prepared, I had suckers for him and was going to have him sit in my lap.  We get to JCP and I then realize that I am not prepared in the slightest (I forgot the camera and a bag to take hair home in.)  I suppose Karter sensed this and decided to scream and flop around.  The hairdresser looked at me helplessly and Mark and I admitted defeat.  We packed up our stuff and headed out with the unlicked sucker and crying baby.  No joke, as soon as we stepped out of there, he took the sucker and happily licked it all the way home (and by happily licked I mean he got it nice and gooey and then rubbed it everywhere.)

By the time we got home, I was deadset on cutting this child's hair.  We strapped him into his high chair, gave him some cheese, got the clippers out and buzzed away.  What's funny, is that I thought it would be so much more traumatic than it really was.  I was fine.  Completely fine.  Sure, it made him look a little older, but he is getting older.  I can't stop it, I just have to deal with it. 

His first haircut may not have gone as I planned (I wanted it to be a big production), but I can not apply sunscreen to him without it getting stuck in his hair creating knots.  What more could I ask for?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Just Like Dad

The day has finally come...Karter is lengthening the leash that binds us together and is now actively seeking out Mark as his playmate.  It seems now that dad is the new cool and mom is old news.  I have to admit, there is nothing more endearing than watching Karter and Mark create their own inside jokes that I am not allowed to take part in (seriously, why is it not as funny when I put that stupid star toy in my mouth during diaper changes??) 

I feel like this weekend really solidified their bond.  Karter spent the weekend 'picking weeds' (aka strawberry plants) and husking corn with Mark.  As soon as I came over to join in the corn husking festivities, Karter wanted nothing to do with it and instead tried to eat the already husked corn.  I'm trying not to take it personally.  I don't mean to encourage gender stereotypes, but it's adorable to see them doing "boy" things together (but really, I'd be ok if they were doing cartwheels in the front yard instead.)

Last night, I was about to put Karter down for bed and Mark came home.  Karter was so excited and felt the need to show off.  As a result, he was up an hour later than expected, running from room to room getting into things he shouldn't (note to self: remove steak knife in my nightstand drawer that Karter now gets into-hey, you never know when someone is going to break in.)  Anyway, it was adorable to see how Karter's face lit up as soon as he saw his 'dada' was like he received a second wind.

While I'm not too eager to lose my title of "coolest parent Karter has ever had", I won't lie, it's quite nice when Karter prefers his 20lb self to be carried by his dad instead of me.