Crazy Things Moms Do With Their First Baby

 

Bless our bones, we all have a first child experience.  We’ve all been the crazed overprotective mom doing something totally un-necessary with our first baby.  Hey, we were worried about them and didn’t know any better.  You know, like a mom spraying the air with Lysol after someone sneezed to prevent sneeze inhalation of the invisible particles via the wrinkly ball of baby in the corner.

This post was compiled of stories submitted to me and I enjoyed the diapers off of reading them.  Thanks to everyone who messaged me their stories and thanks to Dawn for the blog idea!  Send me ideas anytime you have something you would like to see me write about.  I’m on it.  Now enjoy the crazy…..

 

“I work with a girl that has an eight month old and a week or so ago she accidentally scratched the baby’s face with her fingernail and she felt so bad that she called both sets of the baby’s grandparents and asked them each to get her a new toy and she herself went out and bought her a new toy. So the little girl got THREE new toys all because her mom accidentally scratched her and it wasn’t even that bad of a scratch.”

 

“I made my husband get up with me in the middle of the night when I nursed.  You know, it was a special moment to share…4 times a night.”

 

“With my first, I refused to eat peanut butter for months in fear of accidentally touching her with it on my hands and triggering an anaphylactic reaction. With my second, I’m pretty sure I dropped peanut butter on her head on several occasions while nursing….”

 

“I use to ride everywhere in the backseat with my newborn while my husband drove and now, I’m not sure why.  Afraid the 5-point, rear-facing, safety harnessed car seat wouldn’t hold him?  Maybe.  Spontaneous combustion?  Always possible.”

 

“A friend of mine was so afraid her child would choke on any food that she used to cut puffs into fourths to feed him. She didn’t let him have Cheerios until he was nearly a year old.”

 

“I ironed my baby’s onesies.”

 

“I took my first baby to the doctor because they cried all night.  Diagnosis: newborn baby.”

 

“With my first baby I would sanitize all of her passies after company left just in case they breathed on them. Seriously.”

 

“I had so many gadgets for my first baby that I was like a CIA agent.  I had gadgets for my gadgets and I went in the hospital to give birth with enough paraphernalia that I was more prepared than the E.R.”

 

“We went to some extreme measures so my 1 year old firstborn could take a nap. We left Holiday World & my parents drove up from out of town and met us to take the baby so they could take him to nap while we rode rides! My parents drove to a hotel lobby and set up a pack n-play. I don’t know if he actually slept in the bed or just on a couch in the lobby. It was a nice, cool place! Why not?! And to get my parents off the hook…it was my idea! Not theirs. I had them come and suggested they drive to a park or the hotel lobby for the nap. It seems so odd to go to those measures now that I have 3 kids!”

 

“A friend of mine would make sure her baby’s ears were folded a certain way when you held him because she was afraid his ears would stick out if they were pressed the wrong way.”

 

“My cousin made his mother gargle with Listerine, put on a hospital gown, shoes and hat before holding his newborn daughter!”

 

Things Mothers of Babies Need to Know In The First Year

Several times I have searched the web for the below, practical information on my children and sorely was met with only message boards and mothers swapping info.  While that can be helpful, I wanted reliable “text book” professional information on my questions and concerns.  Below I’ve complied information from reputable sites with easy to read charts and to the point info of what all mothers wonder in their child’s first year and then wonder again when they forget with their second!  Hope you, moms-to-be, and mothers you know find this helpful! Pass it around! (links of info used all included)

Growth Spurts

Sometimes your baby is going through a fussy stage and you don’t know why.  You’ve burped them, changed them, fed them until your arm or other apendeges fall off, but they are still fussy.  A lot of times in the madness of a crying baby, moms forget that a growth spurt may be the culprit.  I know for me, my babies tend to be text book in these ranges, however, growth spurts can occur at different times for different babies.  Below are typical ranges for the average baby.  Any spurt can hit within these markers. Growth spurt ranges are a good refernce to have and the info isn’t always easy to find.  Alas, here it is:

Growth spurts usually happen in 5 intense bursts in the first year according to Whattoexpect.com and ehow.com who restated the info from the whattoexpect.com site.
Bursts usually occur one at a time for two to seven day periods between…
– one and three weeks
-between six and eight weeks
– three months
-six months
-nine months
How Much Should My Baby Eat?

This info is just for bottle feeding whether it be formula or expressed breastmilk.  Their consumption averages change with age and it can be hard to know if you are giving your baby enough or too much.  For the breastfed baby, when a mom switches to a bottle so that she can run errands, it’s hard to know how much of your milk to thaw.  Here is a reference for that information:

Age:                                                                                                                     # of Feedings                Ounces


Birth to 1 week 6 to 10 1 to 3 ounces
1 week to 1 month 7 to 8 2 to 4 ounces
1 month to 3 months 5 to 7 4 to 6 ounces
3 months to 6 months* 4 to 5 6 to 7 ounces
6 months to 9 months 3 to 4 7 to 8 ounces
10 months to 12 months 3 7 to 8 ounces

*You can begin feeding your child solid foods such as iron-fortified infant cereal at four months of age. Formula consumption tends to begin declining after six months because it’s assumed that your baby will be eating more solid foods as time goes on.

Source: Manual of Pediatric Nutrition, D. G. Kelts and E. G. Jones. (Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1984).

Read more on FamilyEducation: http://life.familyeducation.com/formula-feeding/baby/39374.html#ixzz1wmhMFdbn

 

Is My Baby Teething?  When Do Teeth Come In?

As seen from the chart, the first teeth begin to break through the gums at about 6 months of age. Usually, the first two teeth to erupt are the two bottom central incisors (the two bottom front teeth). Next, the top four front teeth emerge. After that, other teeth slowly begin to fill in, usually in pairs — one each side of the upper or lower jaw — until all 20 teeth (10 in the upper jaw and 10 in the lower jaw) have come in by the time the child is 2 ½ to 3 years old. The complete set of primary teeth is in the mouth from the age of 2 ½ to 3 years of age to 6 to 7 years of age.

 

Primary Teeth Development Chart
Upper Teeth When tooth emerges When tooth falls out
Central incisor 8 to 12 months 6 to 7 years
Lateral incisor 9 to 13 months 7 to 8 years
Canine (cuspid) 16 to 22 months 10 to 12 years
First molar 13 to 19 months 9 to 11 years
Second molar 25 to 33 months 10 to 12 years
Lower Teeth
Second molar 23 to 31 months 10 to 12 years
First molar 14 to 18 months 9 to 11 years
Canine (cuspid) 17 to 23 months 9 to 12 years
Lateral incisor 10 to 16 months 7 to 8 years
Central incisor 6 to 10 months 6 to 7 years

Other primary tooth eruption facts:

  • A general rule of thumb is that for every 6 months of life, approximately 4 teeth will erupt.
  • Girls generally precede boys in tooth eruption.
  • Lower teeth usually erupt before upper teeth.
  • Teeth in both jaws usually erupt in pairs — one on the right and one on the left.
  • Primary teeth are smaller in size and whiter in color than the permanent teeth that will follow.
  • By the time a child is 2 to 3 years of age, all primary teeth should have erupted.

Shortly after age 4, the jaw and facial bones of the child begin to grow, creating spaces between the primary teeth. This is a perfectly natural growth process that provides the necessary space for the larger permanent teeth to emerge. Between the ages of 6 and 12, a mixture of both primary teeth and permanent teeth reside in the mouth.

All info and chart were extracted from:  http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/dental-health-your-childs-teeth

Terribly 2

We’ve eaten the same things for breakfast and put on the same clothes. I’ve parented the same way, but still for some reason Eden woke up two years old, 2 weeks ago and learned the words “mine” and a love for saying, “I do it allllllll by myself!”  I was a little worried she wasn’t going to have a backbone when other kids played tough (which she would have gotten honestly from me) but now, there are no reservations.  “That is mine!”  “Let me have that!”  “Let me do it!”

What happened to my little girl?! It truly is the terrible twos and I swear it came on like a light switch.

She is still a sweet, precious girl, but she can be a beast when gets to acting her age.  I am very consistent at discipline but she has been wearing me out and getting on the floor on her level and talking to her now at 37 weeks pregnant has been exhausting.  I have slacked some this week for sure.

I know it’s normal and a good thing for a kid to assert themselves and seek their own independence.  In many ways, it’s just straight up helpful.  I’m glad she insists on getting down from her seat alone or that she wants to do the stairs by herself because in a few weeks, a lot of times I’ll need her to be able to.  But all that said, these past two weeks have been harder than I expected this stage to be.

I’ve found myself being paranoid of things like, what will people think of how she is acting or how will they judge me because of how she is acting?  I know it’s all dumb but people do it constantly.  Being a mom is humbling and hopefully forms in you grace for all mothers as a whole.  It’s hard to go through a grocery store with a fussing, crying child but NO mother escapes that happening so why does anyone ever have a “My kid would never…” , “If I were her mother….” mentality?  I was in Toys R Us a month ago while a kid screamed and cried so loudly that everyone in the entire store was hearing his fuss and every where I went, I heard people talking about it in every aisle.  The mother just continued to calmly shop and check out.  I’m not sure what everyone wanted her to do, but I’m also not sure why everyone was so surprised that a kid may scream and cry.  Maybe he was hungry, tired, or maybe wasn’t getting his way…all acceptable reasons to cry and if it was because he didn’t get his way, more power to the mom for ignoring the behavior and finishing what she needed to do.

I think the chatter in the aisles I heard that day has been ringing in my head because I know how people think.  I wonder if my friends who don’t have 2 year olds yet would puff up in protecting parent mode when my child tells their child “mine” or if they think, “my kid would never do that”.  It’s ignorance on their part but a common ignorance at that.  Honestly though, who of us has not had a judgmental thought towards another mom or child at some point in our lives?

I know I’m making Eden sound like a tantrum train wreck which she is not but I didn’t expect ( ignorantly) that she would do these things or that it would be so draining.

I was nervous to leave her in the nursery this Sunday because I was afraid she would go on a “no” “mine” binge but was relieved to find the nursery worker, a friend and a mother of 4.  It was so encouraging to listen to someone who has gone through it several times before me encourage me that one day, the discipline will pay off and they will get it.  They do learn.  She told me as far as judgmental strangers, other moms and non moms whether they be friends or not, that you can’t worry about what someone else is thinking and that only you know what you are doing to work with your child.  Other things people see are snippets of a whole picture.

Sometimes other moms are discouragers and sometimes, they sit beside you and say, “Me too, kid.”  I wish we could all be so graceful towards other moms and other children.  I mean, if you’ve ever done it, you no it’s not all straightforward and definitely not easy.

Sometimes there are parents who are making poor choices or not disciplining their kids but then “we” blame the child for their attitude instead of having some compassion for the reason they may be acting out.  Their kids become the ones we dread seeing in the nursery.  Other times we may judge another mom for not doing something that we think may be best when in reality she could be overwhelmed with a bad marriage, stressful job, feeling sick, etc.  Yes, some moms miss the mark and some kids bear the mark of those choices but why are we so unforgiving as people?  Not only are we unforgiving but boastful to think that our children or our ways are superior to others.  We will all have a cross to bear as a mom or dad in this road of parenting.  Some children will test us at different times and different ways but no matter how well you parent or how hard you try, at the end of the day, our children are separate people who will have their own wills and temperaments to hash out as they grow into young adults and we will be along for the whole ride.

Eden turning “terrible twos” has been a sudden reality shock over the past two weeks that no matter how sweet the child or how good the discipline, we are dealing with small people who need to be taught and redirected a million ways, a million times and that doesn’t always look like please, thank you, and yes ma’am.   I admit, I never expected some of these things from my child and especially not out of no where overnight.  I welcome the humility though and the lessons it brings.  I welcome it until I have a newborn in a few weeks and then I’ll need it to be over, haha.  Fingers crossed?  Time out squares crossed?  Spankings crossed?  Nothing?  Not possible?  Dang.

If the terrible twos bring nothing else to me, I promise it will bring something to you. I have more grace for more moms each time my own wears me out and humbles me.  SO, come one, come all to the attitude kid ball and I will not judge your child or you if you ignore a few things and finish your hamburger.

Disclaimer:  When her aunt and grandmother reads this, I know.  I know.  She’s good.  It’s normal.  And she’s the best child on the face of the earth.  And yes, she looks like you, too, and you’re her favorite.  There is no child like her.  She’s a super-hero.  Amen.

 

Down with the Crib! Literally.

Tonight is Eden’s last night in the crib.  (sighs and head shaking and possibly tears on my eye balls).  We’ve been prepping her for several days and her new mattress and box spring have been looming in the corner of the room letting her know that they are coming.

When we laid her down this evening, Lance came with me since it’s her last time in the crib.  We told her that tomorrow that daddy was going to take her crib to Salem’s room and that she would get to sleep in a big girl bed like mommy and daddy and that she could jump on it!  You may think that telling her she can jump on the bed was a bad idea but she jumps in the crib every night and hey, whatever makes a big bed exciting.

I must say though, all this big girl talk is making me barf!  She’s still a little girl, people! She won’t be 2 until next month and 2 is still very little sooooo she’s still my tiny little girl.  Even though she has been on a constant binge of saying, “I do it alllll by myself!”, over the past 3 days, she is still a little toddler and I won’t let her in on that secret.  My sister reminded me how much I’ll appreciate her assertive independence when I have a new baby next month.  True that, sister, true that…

Lance must not be liking the big girl talk either because when I told him tonight that we need to move her to her big bed tomorrow, he said in most genius fashion, “Why don’t we just wait until Salem comes to move her?”

Let that idea marinate in your head walls for a minute.

I laughed and said, “I challenge you to give me one reason why that’s a good idea.”  He sincerely tried to come up with a reason and he delivered with, “Because I figured Salem can just be in a bassinet and she can stay in her crib until she’s ready.  She’s just so young, still.  I don’t feel like she’s ready.”  He smiled and went on to say that if she isn’t ready that it was going to be a big battle.  The reason he smiled when he said that is because we both knew what he meant.  What he meant was, “It’s so much easier to leave her in her crib rather than try to battle with her getting up and down.”  Another translation could be:  We are going to be tired.

Amen and amen.

I can’t say I’m looking forward to the battle, but I did strategically choose a weekend battle so that Lance can go down for the count with me. =0)

The truth is, it’s going to be tiring for at least a few days which is why we need to do it pre-baby madness.  Not to mention, I don’t want Eden to feel like a new baby invaded the house and took over her furniture.  I want everyone to be settled before Salem arrives.

All good logic aside, I was sad to lay her down for the last time in her crib tonight.  I stayed in the doorway a little longer and talked with her a bit more while she jumped up and down and said, “but…but…but…” while she stalled and smiled behind her passy.  I just sort of laughed and smiled longingly at my firstborn, in our first nursery, in her first crib.  I looked back and forth between Eden bouncing behind the crib slats to the pics of her on the wall:  one of her when she was first born on my chest and another one when she was about 10 weeks with baby fine black hair and pursed lips.  You know they are growing up and that one day you’ll stand in their doorway with tears in your eyes and a laugh in your mouth  as you see them in the crib for the last time, but it’s hard to remember how you got there.

I’ll miss the ease of the confinement of the crib and the preciousness of laying a little girl down within in.  But, kids are made for growing and parents are made for helping them do so.  One day I’ll relive a moment like tonight in a different room, for a different milestone, a different reason, a million different times.  Parenting feels like a lot of letting go sometimes and I’ve only just started.

Still, I’m so proud she is growing up and I adore the small, wonderful person she is. And that…

is something I’ll never have to stop doing.

 

The Real Inconvenient Truth and I Don’t Mean Global Warming Although I’m really Serious About Polar Bears

It’s funny how giving your toddler independence is both convenient and inconvenient for a mother.  Sure, it’s great if they can feed themselves with utensils and not their hands but that can be a messy conquest.  It literally stresses me out (because I’m type A) trying to eat dinner, hoping Eden will eat well, and seeing her aimlessly stab things with her fork and then turning her spoonful of food upside down before it hits her mouth and watching it all fall down to the tray repeatedly.  I’m pretty sure I should have introduced utensils to her a while before now but dang, it’s so easy for them to just use their hands.  The proportion of broccoli they can hold in their hand compared to what they can get on a tiny baby fork is astonishing.  It’s not that I’m impatient with her learning, it’s just that I’m sort of an” immediate gratification-most efficient way” kind of gal on long days.

Currently, I’m staring down several mommy feats in the face:  transitioning her out of her crib into a real bed, weaning down the passy (not off, are you crazy?), and potty training.

First on the list: getting her out of the crib.  Luckily, there is a baby coming which requires this of me or I might just let my 31 week pregnant butt enjoy the peaceful nights and nap times for an excessive amount of time.

The passy I’m just hoping to get down to the car and nap time but, I’m only so committed.  I’m sort of like a Milli Vanilli mom about these transitions right now:  singing the song, but only over a track.  I don’t want to exert too much energy on something that’s working sooo good.  It’s all fun and games until someone loses a grammy…..

The potty training I’m not all that worried about and I just plan on not even trying it until after we are settled with number 2.  And by number 2, I mean a second baby just in case you were drawing unnecessary potty training associations.  She will just be turning 2 in 9 weeks so I’m not all that concerned.  Most kids I know weren’t really potty trained until 3 anyways. Hallelujah because those statistics sound really appealing to me!

I’m very happy to be pregnant and to have 2 kids, 2 years apart, but I can definitely see the merit in having these transitions conquered before starting all over with another kid.  Sometimes I wonder where I’ll get the energy to do it all after we have another baby. “Well too bad”, says my uterus who grew the endometriosis that made me 27 and not 25 when I had my first.  If I would have started out in mommy-hood earlier, I may have spaced them a little more but these uteruses don’t mess around.  They are so some serious guys.

I know, I know, all of these temporary trials will end in me being so proud of Eden and ultimately, will be better for us both.  After all, it would be poor parenting to send my child to the 1st grade with a fairy princess passy.  BUT it’s so much easier to just let your baby be trapped in a crib where they get bored and sleep and can pee into diapers that act like little overnight toilets.  Who in their right mind thought we should get rid of diapers?  I would love a diaper right now.  As a matter of fact, I’ve peed in two of Eden’s diapers in the van in desperate pregnancy moments where a full bladder causing a contraction left me no option but diaper peeing.  Here Eden’s trying to get out of them and I’m trying to get in them…

Ah motherhood.

Just promise me if I get too tired after I have another baby that you won’t judge me if Eden sleeps in a crib in Huggies when she’s 12.  Adults still pick their nose so can’t these be like our secret habits we hang on to from childhood?  Who is with me?  Who will leave their kids in cribs with diapers and pacifiers until an unreasonable age?

I will!  I will go with you, Jerry Mcguire!

Wait.

Wrong speech.

I feel overwhelmed.  And tired.  There’s only one thing to do in moments like these.

I’m going to Pinterest.

Until then, Eden will sleep cozy in her crib with her Sam’s Club diapers and passy in her mouth and all the mother’s said…

Amen!  Say it while you can, sister, say it while you can….

 

 

 

The Freedom To Be

Do you remember the first time you realized that your parents were human? People. Real people, just like you. I think some people never realize this. Some haven’t had a moment of disappointment or failure where they have had to reconcile the heroes of their youth with the realization that your parents are just older versions of yourself.

There are people who hate their parents, resent their parents, and people who can’t let go of those few words said or that action or inaction that defined a part or even just a moment of who they were.

I think somewhere in college the mindset of parents being on another level than us as their children, began to work itself out for me.

We can all remember a way our parents let us down. For some people, this was a constant in their life and for others, a few shocking events. Either way, there are those moments.

Sometimes, these things you wish your parents would have done or not done aren’t even things you realized in the moment but rather, acknowledge when you are older: boundaries you wish they would have set or responsibilities or freedoms you feel they should have challenged you with.

Other times its the things your parents did in their personal lives when they were young adults or after they had you that shocked you. It’s a million different things to a billion different people.

I am so thankful that I can see my parents as human. We have these high standards and expectations for our parents and, understandably so because it’s a big responsibility, BUT at some point when you look any of their shortcomings or mistakes in the face, you have to be able to say, expectations or not, they are human. They will fail. We put almost an impossible standard on parents to perfectly child rear. We did that not only to our parents but all the time, parents judge other parents on the job they are doing.

I had to ask myself: What makes my parents different than me?

Okay, well, in college it would be that they have more life experience and have children. Neither of those things make them less capable of dropping the ball a time or two so why people hold a death grip onto resentment over the way their parents raised them is beyond me.

Of course, I’m excluding abuse and extreme situations from what I’m discussing here. I understand that those issues are a much bigger journey in and of themselves. What I’m talking about here is the average you and me who have lived a normal life with striving parents that probably hurt you in some along the ride.

I feel like the journey of giving grace to your parents continues over many, many years. Now that I have kids of my own, I fear the ways that I will inevitably let them down and these feelings keep close in my mind that my parents were well meaning people just like me who did the best that they could. Just like me.

I have excellent parents and I’ve always thought they raised me well. Unfortunately, my parents divorced which is where a lot of children pick up some sort of baggage and you can choose as an adult whether you will pack that on your back or unload it at the feet of grace and forgiveness.

By the grace of God, I laid mine down years ago. I can’t imagine what is more liberating for both a parent and a child than for a child to say, “I understand you were human. I have no bitterness towards you in my heart.” In that, a child can be free to understand and love their parents freely and a parent can be free from any burden of guilt that they may carry from ever disappointing their child. Parents don’t lay that down easily but what a peace to hear your child say, “It’s okay.”

I hope I can give Eden the stability and security of knowing she has parents who want to love, protect, and provide for her the best way they know how, with the balance of her knowing that we are both sinful humans who are professional ball droppers. I don’t want to be Eden’s hero. I can’t be. I wasn’t supposed to be. I want to give her a clear picture of who we are and who God is and what we both bring to the table in light of that.

I had a conversation with my parents once in clear, unmistakable words telling them that I have total forgiveness for anything they’ve done and that I understand now as an adult that they were 20 something kids just like me, had children, and figured it out all over and over again.

I wanted to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had laid that out for them verbal forgiveness in a moment I could pinpoint, so that when they die one day, I can be sure they knew I looked at them with the full grace that we all to easily give ourselves but don’t extend to others. I loved them like myself.

I don’t know for certain what it did for them. But I know what it did for me. I gained two friends that weren’t just older, wiser, and looked a lot like me around the eyes in their smile. I now had two friends who knew me well, loved me often, and were more like me than I ever had the pleasure of knowing: human.

In that, there is freedom.

In that, forgiveness.

Up

Eden has been enjoying standing at the base of my legs, holding on to my thighs, crying, and saying “up” every morning for the past three days, while I get ready.  It lasts for mostly the entire extent of my daily “get ready to leave” prep.  Only Eden knows why.  I think it’s because I’m her favorite but her hanging on to my leg like a desperate koala is not my favorite.  I’ll be throwing all sorts of things on the floor trying to get her to be distracted but no matter how many times I give her a tube of Neosporin, she wants me every time.

Her intense mommy love is awesome and for the bulk of the day, I love it but she has been wearing me over the past 72 hours.  A few days ago it was driving me Bonkers.  Aw, I just accidentally capitalized Bonkers as in Bonkers the late good man mister the cat.  Rest in peace, toe biter.  You were a gentle man.

What I meant to say was bonkers as in driving me crazy.  What makes your baby constantly following you around the house crying to be picked up even worse?  Well, at the point that you are trying to escape just for five seconds to boil a pot of water to get dinner started, you’ve resorted to doing all sorts of things to engage them or make them happy.  What does this mean?  It means that inevitably at your most fragile moment of sanity you have put on some sort of baby show and you have the soothing sounds of Old MacDonald to ease your nerves.  What’s worse than a fussy baby?  A fussy baby over the melodies of the low budget free OnDemand show that has every tone deaf 9 year old they could find singing the alphabet.  I’m convinced people have been driven to crime over nursery ryhmes.

She was wearing me out so finally, I sat on the floor and thought she would be content to sit next to me or in my lap.  That didn’t work because she began to climb me like Mount Everest thinking, I guess, that if she could just perch on my shoulders than she would at least feel like I was picking her up.  I literally couldn’t get anything done and there are only so many times you can play bubbles, read books, bounce balls, and hide things. Not to mention, there are only so many things you can do with a 20 pound baby on your hip. I HAD to get some stuff done.

Finally, I lie on the floor because then she would have to leave me be for a minute because there was nothing else she could do.

I call this picture “Defeat”.

Secret Gifts

It isn’t until you are an adult with kids of your own that you realize the gifts your parents gave you. When you are a child you think, “Uh, of course they want to play teacher and classroom for five hours.” Then you grow up and your kid wants to do the same things over and over and over…simple books, peek-a-boo, if they are older maybe Pretty, Pretty princess and you think, “Wow. They took time to do this stuff with me. This was investing in me and maybe wasn’t always the blast for them that I thought it was.”

Sentimental things aside, I think about how they gave me clothes, cars, braces, prom dresses, college tuition and text books, gas money, spending money, groceries, Christmas gifts…..

All I can think of when I see that last list is holy bank account and then a picture of me running off the edge of a cliff flashes through my mind. Parenting takes sacrifice. And money. But mainly just an overall sacrifice of everything.

I appreciate that my mom got up with me when I was sick and held my head and hair back over the toilet when I threw-up. I can truly see that for the gift that it was when I’m up all night with a snotty nosed little baby who cries all night because she can’t breathe. Of course you want to do those things for your child. Who wouldn’t take care of their baby? When you are kid though, you don’t know that it comes at a price of exhausted days and breaking points when you feel that you are going to lose it if your baby screams one more time. Sacrificing your comfort for your child is the mark of a loving parent and in that, becomes a gift to the child. You are better for having parents that nurtured your sniffles. Even though you needed it when you are young, you don’t know the gift of it till you’re grown.

I appreciate that she got with me every 2 to 3 hours when I was a newborn and took excellent care of me even with three other kids running around. I’m thankful for handmade birthday cakes and spectacular birthday parties and the ballon-a-gram bear that came to one of my birthdays, even though I was embarrassed when he hugged me. I was never too good with surprises. Still not. But being the classic last-born of the family, I’ve always been comfortable with attention so I don’t know what went wrong with the birthday ballon-a-gram bear surprise.

She gave me pizza and let my friends stay the night and watch TGIF on Friday nights. What I realize now is that having company over, while it might entertain your kid, is really just one more child to be responsible for. Not to mention, it’s all night giggles that you have to shush throughout the night.

When my parents got divorced and she became a single, working mom for the first time in her life, my mom’s love was shown in a black polyester shirt wrapped in a box for me. I really wanted that shirt and bank situation aside, hideous fabrics aside, she got it for me. I still remember getting the box and being so elated that I got that shirt.  Things meant more when money was tight and there is without a doubt a blessing in learning the value of the things you have and a lesson to see your parents give to you freely when they can.

My dad was a quick run to Waffle House in the wee hours of the morning when we both couldn’t sleep and always lived in the moment with me. And he is the same man who today gave me, a 28 year old, back $15.38 I paid him my freshmen year of college to reimburse him for something he bought me. At the time I barely had any money and he took it knowing he would give it back to me one day. Today at church he pulled out an old money envelope with the money inside, along with the pay stub from the childcare company I worked for. Printed on the stub was the measly amount of money I earned.  While kids aren’t the ones typically doing the sacrificing, sometimes they are and a parent can appreciate that too. They can even let you learn a lesson about living penny to penny and pay you back 10 years later when the lessons have been learned.

Dad was also a “move the furniture and blare Ice, Ice Baby and take turns watching each other do the M.C. Hammer” kind of dad.  The gift in that was basically humor which, while it isn’t necessarily a life changing lesson or moment, it’s a hilarious memory.  It was awesome to me because I was kid and the song and dance move all made sense.  He was an adult though so as I picture myself ‘hammering’ while he hollered and clapped, I don’t know what his excuse was.  Just a good ole’ dad, I guess.

There are gifts in everything good about your childhood and almost everything good has an element of something your parents did selflessly for you: sleepless nights, exhausted days, financial stress so that you could have, hours of playing childlike games so that you could have great days and good memories.  Most of your life they are secret gifts that the innocence of childhood and ignorance of youth conceals.  I think they are hidden to you then because you just expected it.  That’s just what parent’s do.  Then you get older you realize that while expected, it cost them.  Even if it joyfully cost them, it cost them.

I am so thankful for parents that loved me with obvious action in spite of the hidden obstacles of daily life. I guess the mark of them doing a job well done is that I can sit here at 28 years old and see it for what it is.  After all, you can’t fully appreciate what you don’t understand and kids don’t understand what’s been given to them.   But if you parent them right, they turn in to adults that do.

WP Like Button Plugin by Free WordPress Templates