He Does It Because He Loves Me

It’s has to be hard for the first born when a new sibling arrives.  One day your getting all the attention and love then BAM, another baby comes along that is newer, smaller and cuter than you are.  How can one compete with something that is brand new? How can the first born compete for the love of their mother to someone that is needier than they are?  It seems like the first born is being pushed to the side for this new baby; outstaged for the part of the baby of the family which was won by a baby that was born with an age difference of almost two in a half years. What can the first born do?  He/she will take any attention that they can get even if it drives mama crazy.  At least they are getting noticed right?

I don’t remember how I behaved when my younger sister came along.  I’m sure that I had my moments of attention seeking to win my mother back from my sister.  But in the end, I got use to my little sister being the baby and accepted my new role as the big sister.  For my oldest son, I think he understands that he is the big brother and that he has a baby brother.  I think he enjoys the role of big brother. He adores his baby brother to the point of being a little possessive over him.  But deep down I think he wishes that he had mama all to himself again.    

My oldest is a great kid but sometimes he can really push my buttons to get me to notice him.  I know that I should let him push my button but gosh darn it his antics can push me off the deep end.  He would scream or yell for me.  Sometimes he would wait for me at the door of the bathroom for me to come out crying, “I want to come in.”  I would tell him not to do this or not to do that and he does it anyway just for me to raise my voice and then he smiles or laughs at me. Sometimes I tell him not to hug his brother too hard or to hit his brother then he does it anyway. There are nice ways he have me to notice him.  When the baby cries and I’m trying to get to him, my oldest would get in front of me and hug me.  If I’m on the floor with the baby doing tummy time, my oldest would come and try to sit on my lap, or give me a kiss, or will hug me.  A lot of the things he does annoy the hell out of me.  I think sometimes “Why won’t he listen to me?  Why won’t he leave me be?”  When I tell him to get away, I feel bad afterwards because I know he wants time too but I have to put the baby first. right?  Eventually he would understand.

At the end of the day at story time, my oldest have at least some times with me.  My husband would hold the baby while I read to my oldest.  I can see the joy he gets out of me reading to him.  He would sit on my lap and I would pretty much be hugging him as I read the story.  After the story he would want me to play like I’m biting him, or he would give me extra hugs and kisses and he would rock on me until he felt sleepy.  Then he would put his head on my breast and would stretch his body on me like I’m a bed and would drift off to sleep.  He looks so happy in my arms.  Reminds me when he was a baby. I look at him thinking “this is all that he wanted.” He wanted me to show him some love and affection; to be the baby again just for a few minutes. Lately he’s been requesting me to do his bedroom routine and to tuck him into bed.  I guess it’s his way of getting an extra ten minutes of mama to himself.

Thinking back on certain antics that he does throughout the day especially the ones that he was being disobedient, I wonder if he was truly being disobedient or was he trying to get me to notice him.  Acting almost like a celebrity thinking bad publicity is good publicity.  So now I take a step back to see what’s really going on if he’s misbehaving or if he does things that annoy me and to see if he doing it just to disobey me or he’s doing it because he loves me. 

 

Mirror Image

I think that every parent wants their child to have the best of their qualities.  When our child shows off what we think is our best qualities, e.g. athletic, thoughtfulness, caring, dimples, curly hair, we are the first to say that “My child got that from me or he/she got that from my side of the family”.  But what if your child show qualities that you think are the worse of you e.g. shyness, clumsiness, passiveness, freckles, or that funny shaped nose, as a parent, you hope they don’t inherit what you consider your flawed traits.

Growing up I felt like I was awkward.  I was shy and quiet.  I felt weird or should I say different than all the other kids.  I wasn’t properly socialized as a kid and it took me years to break out of my shell somewhat so I don’t seem weird.  But sometimes I slip up and say something “weird” and I wonder if the person I’m talking to thought what I said was weird too.  I was never good at introducing myself to other kids and when I thought that they weren’t interested in playing with me, I would go and play by myself.  I remember I was at the park with my mother, little sister, and my late great grandmother.  There were some girls in the park playing Double Dutch.  I didn’t feel comfortable playing with them so I try to learn how to ride my bike at the time.  In my post “If a bird can’t fly” I said I never learned to ride a bike.  I don’t know how to ride a bike. I owned a bike but never really got the chance to use it enough to learn how. I remember my great-grandmother tell me, “Get back over there and play with the other kids.” I wasn’t comfort socializing because I didn’t know how and I think she wanted to break me out of it. I saw these same traits in my oldest son and fear that he would be like me in that he is cautious and not outright outgoing.

I took my two sons to the park a few days ago.  I notice when there are a few kids playing at the park, my oldest son is open and ready to climb bars, swing on the swings, and slide down a slide and play with other kids.  He seems fearless.  But when the park is crowd and kids are running like crazy and climb here and jumping there, he slows he’s pace, picks his top lip, and cautiously walk over to the slides. It’s like he starts to close up emotionally and mentally. He would climb the stairs to get to the big slide but as soon as a herd of kids coming behind him, he freezes or he moves out of their way so the other kids can go on the slides.  He would wait until all the kids go down before he attempts to go.  This can go on for five minutes because these same kids will climb back up and slide down two to three more times.  I call up to him, “Its ok you can go down” or if he’s blocking the way of the other kids “Either go down or move out the way.  Don’t hold up the slide.”  I could see the uncomfortableness and confusion in his face; the same confused and uncomfortable look and feeling that I had as a child. It’s like a nervousness of being around other children. Then I get nervous and try to remove him from the situation by telling him to come down.  Sometimes, I would jwatch and see how he would react before I say anything to him to see if he would “snap out of it”.  Eventually after about thirty minutes at the park, he would start to get his grove but he’s still cautious which I guess it’s good considering that there is a herd of kids coming up behind them.  I noticed sometimes the older kids can see that he is nervous and would help him by pushing him along or telling him to “go, go, go” in a nice way.  Before he turned one years old, I tired to get him out to play dates so he can develop social skills.  I wonder if I should have started when he was much younger.

I’m trying to let him be who he is.  If he is cautious and need time to warm up in a crowd, so be it.  But I can’t help to revisit the feelings I had as a child, that mirror image of the weird awkward kid.  I want to give him every opportunity to socialize so he won’t be the weird kid. But I don’t want to force to be someone he’s not.  I want him to feel good about himself. I catch myself telling him to not be afraid of the other kids, to just go down the slide and keep it moving as if I’m giving the advice to the younger version of myself. I don’t if I should say anything because that might make him more nervous. I have to see that there’s nothing wrong with him and however he responses to a situation is the most comfortable for him at that moment.  At the end of the day, this isn’t about him…it’s about me and when it’s about me, I’m not allowing my son to be himself. 

I Want To Get Away!

“I want to get away. I want to fly away. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.”  Lenny Kravitz

It’s very exhausting being a mother.  The hours are long and the time offs are none.  What is a mother suppose to do if she need a break?  It took me almost three years of being a mother to realize that if I don’t take breaks, then I will break down.  In my post, My father in me, I realized that I was burnt out.  I don’t get a lot of help with the kids.  My mother in law helps when she can and my parents are way across town; the drive to my parent’s house won’t be worth the time to have some time to myself.  I usually get a break from the kids when I do my weekly grocery shopping on Saturdays when my husband watches the kids.  Even then that’s not a break because I’m still working.  Sometimes my husband wants us to go out as a family which is nice but I’m still mom and I have to tend to the kids while my husband has all the fun. 

I was having a conversation with a fellow mommy friend about having time to ourselves.  She mentioned a friend of hers that told my friend that if you want time to yourself you have to take it.  Don’t ask your husband, say you need some time to yourself and take the time preferably away from the house.  It does make sense. I don’t know if any other father’s feel this way but my husband thinks that since I’m a stay at home mother and that’s the only job I have, I don’t need breaks and if I do I should ask him so he would watch the kids.  In my mind, I shouldn’t have to ask him to help me or to watch the kids so I can have a break. In my husband’s words, “It’s a luxury to spend time with the kids.” Of course if you only see them an hour or two a day but if he was with them for twelve to fourteen hour day’s everyday without a break like I am, I bet he’ll feel differently. 

So last Sunday and this past Sunday, I took an hour to myself.  I was thinking of just sleeping in for an hour or so but the kids would be in the house. If I stayed in the house, I might as well not have a break because the kids would want or need something and I may give in to take care of their needs.  I needed to do something that I wanted to do.  I need my space away from the kids.  I decide to take an hour long walks with the dog.  I find that walking my dog give me a break mentality and it helps me clear my head.  It’s also good exercise to get rid of this extra body fat.  I didn’t ask my husband, I told him I need a break an hour or so from the kids because I’m burnt out.  He understood that I needed a break but I don’t feel that he fully understand why.

I try not to feel guilty about taking time for myself.  I’m always thinking about working around other people’s schedule to have time to myself and I realize that other people are looking out for themselves and their needs.  So I need to think about myself and look out for my health and sanity.  I can’t look for others to do that for me.  I think this hour away is just want I needed to have a little bit of freedom for myself.  It also teaches my sons that it’s ok for mommy to have a break away to get her thoughts together and relax. This also shows them that mommy isn’t the only one that can take care of them and they can go to daddy if the need something too. Don’t take it personally guys, Mama needs to get away.  

 

 

An Unexpected Request

This evening started off normal.  I gave my infant son his bath and then we did story time.  Story time is special for me because my husband joins us while I read to the kids.  I usually give my infant son to my husband while my oldest son sits on my lap while I read him a story.  Since my oldest doesn’t get as much time as he use to with me, I think it’s a special treat to baby him for just a few minutes. 

After story time I noticed that my oldest son’s nails where getting long so I got the nail clipper and proceed to cut his nails.  I went to the trash can to dispose of the nail clippings when I heard my oldest son say, “Mama tuck you in.”  I turned to my husband and asked him, “Did he say that he wants Mama to tuck him in?”  My husband said, “That’s what he said,” in a condescending voice.  My husband is the one that puts my oldest to bed while I tend to the baby.  I was shocked but I felt special that my oldest chosen me to tuck him in to bed.  I said, “Ok, Mama will tuck you in.  Say good night to daddy and your brother.”  I was honored to fulfill that request.

My oldest did his nightly routine; potty, brush teeth, wash hands then off to bed.  I pull down the blinds and closed the curtains.  I turned on his night light star doggy toy that display stars onto the ceiling.  I made sure that I turn his heater on slightly because it was a little chilly in his room.   My son asked for his doggy toy.  I asked him which one he wanted to sleep with.  The boy has about five doggy toys.  I turned on his night light blue clues doggy to find the dog he wanted to sleep with.  I asked him did he want to sleep with the Blues Clues doggy or the Fisher Price singing puppy.  He couldn’t decide.  So I put the Blues Clues doggy next to him by the wall and the Fisher Price puppy near the head of his bed.  My son turned on his Baby Einstein mirror music mobile in his bed, lied down as I put his covers on him to tuck him in.  He’s room has two doors so I walked over to closed the first door leading to downstairs. As I closed the door, my son lifted his head from the bed and said the sweetest words a mother could ever hear, well the second sweetest “Mama, come give me a kiss.”  Those words melted my heart and brought a smile to my face.  “Mama, will give you a kiss,” I told him.   He laid his head back down and waited for me to give him a kiss.  I kissed his cheek and said goodnight see you in the morning and he said goodnight. As I locked his bedroom door, I thought to myself, “Times like these make it seems like being a mother isn’t so bad after all.”
  

Being a Kid For a Moment

Today was one of those days where I was so exhausted that I felt like I was on autopilot.  You know the feeling where your body is moving but your mind is asleep.  My infant son is still going through his sleep regression waking up every hour and a half after a couple of nights sleeping four to five hours straight.   Although I only had four hours of sleep, I had to keep moving.  Things have to get done; important thing like laundry, walking the dog, feeding the kids, etc.

This afternoon, the boys and I went to the local park down the street.  It was kind of chilly today and the park was empty when we got there.  I parked my infant son stroller about six feet away from the stairs to the slides.    Something inside of me wanted to play.  I climbed the stairs and I went on the big slide and slid down it. My oldest son was climbing the stairs behind me and started smiling. I had an idea.  I said to my son “I’m going to count to ten and then I’m coming after you!”  I started to count, “One, two, three, four…” I saw the excitement on my sons face as he finished climbing the stairs to the big side.  I continued my count, “five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.  Here comes mama!”  My son started screaming, “Here comes, MAMA!” then starts laughing.  My son doesn’t really understand the concept of being chased; he is usually the one that does the chasing. 

I ran up the stairs. I didn’t realize I could run so fast…ok you can stop laughing now. My son just laughed and smiled as I ran up the stairs.  He says, “Mama, chase you!” I laughed and said to him, “You are supposed to run if someone is chasing you.”  Then my son slide down the big slide and I said, “Here comes mama, run!” and then I slide down again.  I felt adventurous so I decide to climb the curvy ladder.  “I wonder if I can do this,” I said to my oldest son.  So I climbed it and it was fun but I felt a little dizzy afterward.  Nope, won’t be climbing the curvy ladder again.

We continued with this play for about five to six more times all the while that I’m making sure that my infant son is ok although he was looking at me like I was crazy like “What the hell is mama doing?”  I took breaks before I start again because I’m not as young as I use to be. Some time later, other kids and their parents came to the park. I notice the parents were playing chase with their children as well up the slides.  Maybe it was something in the air today like someone casted a playfulness spell for overtired, cranky adults who need to loosen up and play with their children (I’m speaking about myself of course).

Although I was exhausted, I had fun playing with my oldest son today.  I was happy that he was happy playing with mama.  Sometimes I can come off as the strict parent but today my son seen a side of me that he doesn’t see quite often, the kid side of mama.  For that hour I was my son’s playmate and I think he enjoyed that side of mama; maybe he even miss that side of me since he’s little brother came along.  I have to admit, I’m glad she came out today to play too.  I needed to relax and live in the moment like my son does everyday.  I need to do that more often.

Go To Sleep!

It’s time to put the little one to bed.  I would put on his sleep sack, nurse him, burp him and then put him into his crib.  Hopefully he would go down on the first try.  If you read my post Name That Cry, you would know that the first attempt to put him down for the night is always a test run.  I would be lucky to get him down on the first try.  If that happens, he must be very tired.  When I do get him down, his down for maybe three hours before his next feed, sometimes it could be six.  But with his teething how long he sleeps your guess is as good as mine.

For the past few nights on and off, my infant son was starting a familiar pattern of sleep.  Something that I thought was just the personality of my oldest son when he was a baby.  My infant son started waking up at two sometimes three in the morning and starts talking.  Well not quite talking.  He would start cooing and slurring like he was trying to talk.  So when he starts to talk, I don’t engage him.  If I do, he would think its ok to not go back to sleep and to stay up as long as he pleases. Sometimes he wants to play; other times it’s something bothering him.  Maybe if I had the energy to entertain him I could but I don’t so I won’t.  When he wakes up, he is so excited to see me. Too bad I don’t feel the same way.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good feeling to have someone excited to see you, but not three in the morning.

On this particular morning he woke up around three-thirty. I changed his diaper.  He talks to me while he’s on the changing table.  I politely smile back at him.  I’m trying not to be rude.  I nurse him.  He falls asleep on my nursing pillow.  I burp him then gently put him down in his crib.  Then he starts to rub his face and his ear. I cradle his legs and pat his butt. He stops moving and slowly lower his arms to the bed.  I slowly remove my hand from his butt and then suddenly he kicks his left foot out sharply and starts a coughing cry.  Meaning he does a few coughs and then he cries.  It’s like his cough is like revving up a car and the cry is the engine running. 

So I picked him up and sat in the rocking chair to rock him to sleep.  He keeps squirming and moving.   He’ll stop to settle down then he wants to talk.  I was too exhausted, I said to him frustrated, “I’m not putting up with this tonight.  I’m putting your activity mat in the crib and you can stay up but mama is going to sleep.”  So he played in his activity mat and I lay back down on the couch.  Fifteen minutes later he’s crying.  Thinking that he might be tired now, I tired the rocking chair again.  Turning off the night light and only had the glow of the baby monitor, trying to rock him to sleep.  We do this song and dance for about another two hours; I rock him, he talks, he pees, I change him, I rock him again, he pees again, I change him again, I put him down. I left to go to the bathroom. He’s crying. I come back to the room, turn the night light on and shouted, “Go To Sleep!”  I felt my temper rising.  It happens because I’m human but I don’t let it take over where I take it out on him.  I know there’s a reason why he’s not sleepy and I know he will eventually sleep.  Now would be a good time though.

I picked him up nursed him again, burped him again and tired rocking him to no avail.  I decided to put on this music mobile with flashing lights maybe that would help him sleep.  By this time it was six in the morning.  I turn out the night light and let the mobile play as I lay on the couch.  The mobile seem like it was working.  My little one was calming down.  I think he’s falling asleep.  About fifteen minutes later, I heard a wet fart; no it was a wet poopy.  So that’s why he couldn’t sleep.  I got up, changed him, and let him nurse a little so he can go to sleep quickly.  At about six-forty am, my little one finally fell back to sleep, About ten minutes later so did I.

 

Watch Your Kid

It is great to get out of the house.  After the brutal snow storms that we had in Philly, it’s nice to see the sun and to get out and stretch our legs. I’m just glad the winter is finally over and my oldest son and I won’t be going stir crazy anymore and getting on each others nerves. 

Today was a great day to get out and go to the park.  It was warm and a little windy.  Not chilly windy, a warm wind that felt like it was comforting your soul. I took my sons for a walk down to the park about two blocks from where we live.  I love going to the park.  It’s where kids can be free and run around to get all that energy out.  Once their energy is out, hopefully they will take a nice long nap.  My son loves to climb the curvy bars to get to the big slide.  Sometimes he would try to climb up the double sides.  My oldest can be adventurous sometimes, so much so he could easily give me a heart attack.

Most of the parents at the park are nice.  Some of them are very watchful of their children and sometimes they would look out for your own. I do my best to watch out for other children as well because who would want to see their child hurt?  Then there are other parents who let their kids run wild while they sit on the bench texting, talking on the phone, talking to their friend they brought with them, or sitting reading a book.  These parents are unaware what their child is getting in to or up to.  It’s like they just want the kid to go away and hoping that someone else will deal with them for an hour.  If the child is well behaved, I can see them roaming free without too much vigilance.  But if the child is a terror; the parent need to watch their kid.

At the park today, I was at the area where the big slide were watching my son attempt to climb another set of bars where he can have access to the slides.  There was another boy there, about three or four years of age.  His father placed him on the steps that led to the slides (there are two double slides and the big slide at the top). The father walked back where his friend sat which looked about a good fifty feet away from the slides.  First the boy attempted to block my son from getting down the big slide. I told my son to go down the slide and the boy moved out of the way when he heard my voice.  Later on while my son climbing the curvy bar ladder; the boy started kicking the wood chips and dirt that surrounded the steps that led to the slides towards my infant son’s stroller.  He was kicking it hard and high enough that the dirt and chips could fly in my little ones face and hit his eye.  I told the boy sternly, “Watch where you’re kicking, the dirt and chips can hit the baby.”  Apparently the little boy was hard of hearing that he did it again and then looked at me to see if I would say something.  I stared at this little boy very hard and wanted to grab this little punk by his arm and push him away from my baby.  I told the boy louder and angrier this time, “DON’T KICK THE DIRT AND CHIPS NEAR THE STROLLER!” So the boy turned away and kicked in the other direction.  My oldest son wanted me to help him climb the other set of bars to get up to the slides. As I was helping my oldest, I was keeping an eye out for that demon spawn of a boy to see if he was going to kick some more dirt and chips near my baby.  All this time, the father and his friend wasn’t watching him.  I don’t know if the father heard when I raised my voice to his son or he didn’t care but I dared him to come and say something to me about it.  He should be watching his kid. 

It’s not my job to neither watch your kid nor discipline your kid when they act up at the park.  My job is to look after my children and if I think your child is a threat to my children, I will speak up and will parent your child.  I’m not one of those parents that believes “kids will be kids.” I think that’s an excuse that parents use for not raising their children to respect others and to treat people well.  Mama Bear was out today and if you have a problem with it, then you better start watching your kid.