She gets it from her momma

Of course I’ve heard the saying “What goes around, comes around,” and parents are quick to remind you that payback is coming when you have children of your own, but this is plum ridiculous.

I was never very mischievous, not a prankster and not a bully. But I was most definitely mouthy. Oh, I would do what adults asked me, but not without stating my opinion on the matter first, even if I agreed. If you know me, clearly ain’t much changed. Never at a loss for words, they would say. She’s so articulate, they would say. But I also heard, “your mouth is going to get you in trouble,” and one of my favorites “don’t write a check your ass can’t cash.” Lord knows, my mouth has done both.

Having said all that, with sound mind and heart I still say I was not nearly as mouthy as my daughter. Yes, it’s true she came out of the womb speaking in correct sentences. She has always talked and for that I am grateful because it made my life as a new mommy easier. She was clear from the start on what she liked and what she didn’t like. What she would eat, what she wouldn’t wear, if her ear hurt, or her belly, she was always able to tell me.

Unfortunately, her communication skills are not limited to answering my questions and there lies our new issue. Sunday morning, I sent my articulate daughter into my bathroom to get a nail file. Of course despite seeing her play with it a thousand times and knowing exactly where it was she claimed she couldn’t find it. However, she did manage to find a box open it and take out a straight pin. So of course, I take it from her and tell her its dangerous and she shouldn’t have picked it up. She in turn without reservation says “well, it’s your fault, because you shouldn’t have left it where I can get it.” Wow…really, touche’.

Later that morning, she asks me if she can have some chocolate. “No babe, it’s too early in the morning for chocolate, maybe after you finish lunch,” I respond.” “But why is too early,” she asks? “I ate breakfast already.  I made my bed,” she says trying to make her case. And I interrupt her, cause I know where this is going and I repeat my position. She looks at me with her arms crossed, waits until I finish my sentence, and then says “mommy, I was talking first. You need to listen to me.”

I blink my eyes, cause I am starting to see red dots and I’m trying to remember what I learned in Anger Management class but it’s all a blur, so I just start praying. Lord, please give me the patience to deal with this child in a productive manner so that I don’t permanently injure her physically or emotionally. Please Lord I need you right now. So she must have figured out that momma praying in the middle of the kitchen is not a good sign and tabled her chocolate discussion until after lunch.

That night during our parental briefing, I bring my husband up to speed on how his daughter worked my nerves that day. We laugh at her responses and I can’t tell her but part of me is proud of how she made her case, argued effectively and raised a valid questions. I mean who said we shouldn’t have chocolate in morning?

I’m not sure what she will be when she grows up, hell I am not sure what she will say tomorrow and there are discrepancies on how much she looks like me, but one thing is for sure….pay back is a (well you fill in the blank).

Her Biggest Fan

My morning routine always start with Baby G yelling in the monitor for his DaDa….since that’s not me, I try not answer. However, the last few weeks his sister feels the need to “go check on him.” When she opens the door, I can hear his smile.

After a brief greeting, she pulls the diaper pail to the end of the crib and climbs in and hugs his neck. They sing Kumbaya and life is wonderful for at least 30 minutes. It’s during this time that I am grateful for two babies and can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. You know, that special time when they can play independently for a while and allow me to read the paper, have a cup of coffee or just pee without interruption.

Mondays are mommy days, so it’s time to run errands. Baby G meets the weight requirement, but not the age to turn his car seat around, so rear-facing it is. Fortunately for him his big sister, is front facing, but in the bucket seat next to him. When she’s not happy with the selection of the kiddie song on the radio she starts to make loud funny noises, with matching faces.

Just as I am about to shut her performance down, I happen to look in my review mirror and I see her make another noise and look to her right for approval. He looks at her, laughs, kicks his legs and claps with excitement. Without a doubt, he is her biggest fan.

When I found out I was having a boy, several women told me there was nothing like it. That he would look at me like I am the most beautiful woman in the world. And he does….occasionally. But it’s the 3-year-old big sister that he truly adores. When she wants to color; he wants to color. Even though he drives her crazy putting her crayons in his mouth. When she wants to read, so does he and when she wants to dance, and she always wants to dance; he wants to dance.

So with all this admiration, comes a lot of responsibility. I often wonder what that’s like for her, what kind of pressure she feels trying to keep her biggest fan happy. After all, her fan club President lives in the bedroom next door. I wonder if it will get old, if she will continue to look to her right to see him smiling or clapping for her.

Now, their special moments are abundant, but not without incident. There are times, they fuss, and times he asserts himself just enough for her to know she is not in complete control. He can take her down physically any time he wants, but those times are rare. He’d much rather, jump for her, clap for her and laugh with her. My mom says he walks around with her picture in a frame when she is not around and blows her kisses.

And every night in my little talk with Jesus I always ask for no sibling rivalry. I pray that they will work together, play together, encourage each other and love each other. I pray that they will be best friends. I pray that they will respect each other and give the world hell.

Vaccination Hesitation

Last Monday, my 11 month-old son was scheduled for vaccinations. We are on Dr. Sears schedule, so he only receives one or two vaccinations at a time, but it doesn’t relieve one bit of doubt or anxiety about these doses. I can never sleep the night before, I’m always nervous and go into serious prayer mode. No, I am not anti-vaccines, I believe they are necessary. But I have some serious reservations about them, as do most of my friends.

If you are over 30 and recently had children, statistics say you have undoubtedly asked yourself or physicians a ton of questions regarding your baby’s shots. My husband and I have never been opposed to vaccines, but we have chosen to control when they are administered. According to an article last week in the Huffington Post, that makes us, “shot-limiters.”

I remember when my daughter was born, and we were overwhelmed with information and decisions, we decided to choose a pediatrician that would at least allow us to alter the schedule. I was actually surprised by how many physicians do not allow parents this type of flexibility. We read vaccine books, baby books, researched online and surveyed friends.

On one of our first doctor visits, my husband asked about an alternate schedule. The pediatrician made sure to start her commentary about how there has been no scientific evidence linking vaccines to autism blah, blah, blah. And how they are completely safe, blah, blah, blah. So my husband then asked what’s the harm in administering them at a slower pace. I will never forget her response, “none, but it’s a major inconvenience for you two to keep having to come back.” We laughed at her concern for our scheduling “It’s okay, he said, we don’t mind the inconvenience.”

So I suppose now is a good time for a disclaimer. I am not a physician, I am not a vaccine expert and I don’t claim to be. I am a mother; one who simply wants to keep my children safe.

In the late 1970’s the US vaccine schedule included 7 shots, the current schedule calls for 32 shots from birth to 6 years old; sometimes calling for five or more vaccines per visit at some early childhood appointments.

Medical experts pro shot-limiting, argue that there is no immune memory until the child’s immune system develops between 6 and 18 months, so why vaccinate newborns? Others argue that other environmental factors, prenatal exposure and more accurate diagnoses share responsibility for the high numbers of Autism cases, not vaccines.

Now being a shot limiter comes with its own level of anxiety. Parents become solely responsible for researching which vaccine is administered at what age. Medical professionals are reluctant to answer your questions. When I arrive for vaccines, they ask me what shots he is having that day. There is no additional co-pay to return for vaccines, but there is also no discussion and no dialogue. Parents alone assume the responsibility. In addition, apparently you can no longer get measles, mumps and rubella vaccines separately in our area, so decisions, decisions, decisions. In our case, we delayed it until our daughter was almost two and then prayed real heard before the MMR was administered by her Pediatrician. In fact, last month an Italian Court ruled that the MMR was responsible for at least one autistic diagnosis (http://markcrispinmiller.com/2012/06/us-media-blacks-out-italian-court-ruling-that-mmr-vaccine-caused-childs-autism/).

Truthfully, I don’t know what to believe, but I do know if the only negative to Dr. Sear’s schedule is my inconvenience, I’ll gladly take it in lieu of “some” peace of mind.

The Secret

I admit I have a lot on my plate and to tell you the truth, that’s how I prefer it. An overachieving, workaholic may be a suitable title or a want-to-be superwoman may also fit. I have two babies, a husband and a house to take care of in addition to my jobs. Contrary to some of the hype, I do have a job, a few of them actually. I am a Substance Abuse Prevention Director, an adjunct English Instructor, a blogger and an entrepreneur. So the magic question has been, how do I fit it all in and the answer is simple, I have learned not to sweat the small stuff.

In the lengthy list of titles that apply to me, you won’t find, perfectionist. I removed that a long time ago. The perfectionist me would have anxiety attacks about being late. The perfectionist me wouldn’t ask my spouse to put the babies to bed. The perfectionist me would not dare go to bed with dishes in the sink and the list goes on and on. But the perfectionist me ended up with six ulcers. The perfectionist me would some time cry from pure exhaustion. Everything was a priority, which meant nothing out valued anything else.

So I made a list of what was most important to me; my marriage, my children, my health and my career. Then, I made a decision to let go of everything else. I decided I wanted to work from home to spend more time with my children. I decided I wanted to spend quality time with my husband. I decided I wanted to exercise and lose weight. And I decided I wanted to re-invent myself professionally. It was that simple.

Now with all those decisions came a whole lot of letting go. I no longer get upset if my family goes a whole week living out of laundry baskets. I no longer feel less than if I run to Sam’s Club for an already prepared chicken and bag salad for dinner versus cooking. I no longer get up in the middle of the night if I fell asleep with dishes in my sink. I no longer feel the need to prove I don’t need help raising my children and the list goes on.

Still my choices include what some would consider sacrifices. I only watch about an hour of television a day. No, House Wives of Atlanta, or Love and Hip Hop for me. I absolutely do not have lengthy telephone conversations, in fact I rarely know where my phone is, especially after 5 p.m. I choose my extracurricular activities very carefully and I am clear and upfront about my level of participation in those that make the cut.

So here are my personal sanity rules:

I do what I can, when I can.

I go to bed when I am sleepy.

I ask for help, from my husband, my momma and my friends.

I forgive myself daily for falling short and commit to do better tomorrow.

I keep lists, a grocery list, a wish list, and a got to do list.

I pray about everything.

Having said all that I also know I have not yet “arrived. “I still have a lot of things to figure out. I still haven’t figured out how to workout everyday and I still haven’t figured out girl time, or better yet “me” time. But then again, that’s what tomorrow is for, right?