Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Little Girl

I stumble over the phrase, "my daughter" in everyday conversation. It shocks me when I walk into her room filled with pink accents and a closet full of dresses. Her feminine name still sounds awkward, but beautiful, coming out of my mouth. I am so very, completely in love with her. I feel drawn to her. I hold her and whisper my love for her over and over because I can't think of any other words worth saying to her in the moments that are just for the two of us, like rocking her to sleep or cuddling with her while the boys nap. It's beyond's amazing.

Now, before my mother reads this and sends me an email explaining her concern for these types of blog entries because my boys might one day read this and feel less loved, I must point out what I feel is obvious. Stella is my third baby, not my only one, and I love and adore each of my children equally. I am in no way implying, or straight up stating, that I love her more than the boys. But right now...oh she's my favorite for the peace she brings. Aiden and Cole, if you are reading this and feeling less loved, sorry, but you should have cried less and slept more...I do love you immensely though.

Things are simply different with her, especially at this point, than they were with the boys. The boys had acid reflux and cried without any chance of consolation. They woke and ate constantly. They were restless sleepers when they were asleep and rarely slept more than 4 or 5 hours in a row until they were 4 months old. They consumed me. They drained me. I had to give all of myself to them constantly for the first 3 months of their lives and it was rough. I loved them desperately and would do it again for them (unless I could have them and skip that part, I mean why would I want the torture?), but I didn't have the opportunity to peacefully enjoy the first days and weeks of new life in one of my children, until now.

Everyone asks me if it feels different to have a little girl specifically. In a word, yes. But, why is difficult to pinpoint. I mean, some things are so clear, like clothing covered in hearts and baked goods versus construction vehicles, or as basic as pink versus blue, but that isn't it. At times, the differences resonate with me so profoundly in everyday moments, but I can't quite articulate them. Some of the differences I feel are truly because she is a girl, and some are probably more because she is my third and let's hope final baby which makes her the light at the end of my baby tunnel (maybe not a good expression because this definitely sounds more birth canal than part of an analogy, but you know what I mean,) thank goodness...I think.

I feel irrational pride over how adorable she is, though I do feel it is not even subjective, she just is adorable. While getting the boys' haircut last week a woman waiting next to us was staring at Stella. I turned and smiled at the woman and she half talked, half gasped, "your baby is beautiful!" She continued to comment on her delicate features and gorgeous skin. I felt an irrational surge of pride of my child's appearance that I never felt with the boys, and I think I have good looking boys. My little girl could be...pretty! It was ridiculous on so many levels. I was embarrassed of my pride about such a shallow thing, and even more embarrassed that I felt this about my daughter but never had felt this about compliments on my sons' looks. What's next? Would I start telling my boys to be smart, make a lot of money and be funny and they could have everything they would want in life? Ridiculous stereotypes.

I do love to dress her, something that rarely gave me joy with the boys. I feel like I have this smaller, much cuter version of me that I get to dress in crazy things like large bows on her head or bold print dresses that come with matching underwear covers. I could never wear that since no one wants to see my large butt covered in a bold print bloomer, but I love that my daughter can.

I had always felt that girls were more peaceful babies, though I do know there are exceptions to this. Stella is immensely peaceful. I find her lying in her bassinet, quiet and smiling at the ceiling, amused and satisfied by herself. Both my boys would have been crying and squirming to have someone come save them from this private moment. She fusses when she gets tired and is only pacified by me putting her down and leaving her alone to rest. I can not describe the immense joy I feel at her not needing me every moment. She is bliss.

I left her in the middle of my bed starting at a ceiling fan for 30 minutes today. Every time I walked by she was smiling at the fan. When I stuck my head over her to say hello she glared at me as if I had interrupted her private joy with watching the dare I? I love that she was that independent. (Dear Lord, please help me remember this gratitude of independence during our first fight over makeup, clothing, curfew, etc.)

I could go on and on. She has been an immediate joy with no effort from me. I always felt I was working to love the boys in amongst all my work just to survive with them. This is heaven to just be with her, love her and feel like she is adding to me rather than trying to rob me of me. I know, this is possibly helped by this being my third and all the perspective that comes with that, but she is different. She is heaven. She is my little girl.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bored Mom

It is late afternoon and I am bored and dreaming of having more purpose...something which requires me to shower daily or wear shoes other than flip flops. I have spent the last hour trying to find a way to bribe, threaten and entice my children to go outside and amuse themselves or harass the neighbor I saw outside across the street who is always extra interested in everything the boys have to say...probably because her kids are grown and out of the house so she doesn't have to listen to their every thought and need. I have been rearranging my sons' car and truck collection by color and size, just to have something to do that forces me to think a little. This scares me.

I am stuck inside waiting for my baby to wake up and eat before we can leave this house for something more exciting like the playground...or God forbid, the grocery store. I refuse to watch another matchbox car crash into another matchbox car and fake amazement over this spectacle. I might start screaming without end if I am asked another question about why we can't buy a real race car or what is car insurance and why would we buy something we can't see? Lord help me. I might have to start sketching four letter words into the flags of the millionth pirate ship I have been asked to draw on our dry erase board or at least make the canons into some sort of inappropriate male body part. This is why bored kids in school get into trouble.

I truly feel that staying home with my children is the most challenging endeavor I have, or ever will, take on...but let's be honest, I am straight up bored sometimes. . Yes, there is always laundry or meal planning or someone to punish but sometimes I feel like my brain isn't actually working. I spend exorbitant amounts of time thinking about whether or not my kids have pooped or not, this can't be good for my future capacity to think or solve problems. I went to college, I studied for tests, I read books about things other than vampires. I had an actual job that paid me. I had a title and people who reported to me. I solved problems that never involved fighting over a small plastic object or trying to force someone to sleep. I had to think, often.

As challenging raising my children is, I feel I could be doing more. Sometimes I feel lazy for not doing more to continue to improve myself (or more specifically my brain,) like going back to school. I could at least be volunteering to help someone else's life in some capacity. Am I lazy? Selfish? Is my brain only capable of solving issues revolving around people under the age of 5? Maybe, but I truly believe I am where I am supposed to be now. I have no question about my current place. I don't wish to have my children in daycare and I am grateful for the opportunity to be home with them as they turn into real people and not just baby blobs, but what happens when they are all in school and I am here with my shrunken brain. Will I go back to school? Will I try to get a job? Is the ability to predict when a child will poop an attractive skill to employers?

This issue is something I think about a lot during the down moments of life here at home. I sometimes feel like I could be doing so much more. But, when I am honest I feel that it isn't truly feasible while wanting to do my best for my their current ages. My sister-in-law once mentioned that this issue bothered her at moments but finds peace in the knowledge that this is just the now, just a small slice of her life. She is very wise. Our children won't always be small and need us. We won't always be involved in every bowel movement our kids have...we certainly hope. Someday they will grow and move on, if we do a good job with them now. Far too soon we'll be like my neighbor, willing to patiently listen to every thought of the small neighbor children that are excited about rolly-pollys and trips to the pool while their mom rolls her eyes and dreams for a little distance. I'm sure this will all be over before I know it, before I am ready and I will miss being bored at home with my three small children that want nothing more than me.

For now though, I am going to continue to daydream about what is next for my brain because despite the fact that this is very counter-productive at times, I can't help it. I love my kids, but hopefully can be excited about whatever is next too. Besides, this gives me something to think about while watching car crashes and drawing pirate ships.