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milestones

Gwen Stefani, 1st concert, this is what the truth feels like, parenting, girls, milestones

I learned something life altering at the Gwen Stefani concert last Sunday.Raising girls has taught me to be a better woman. My little girls are no longer little girls. . It is beautiful and sad at the same time. On one hand, they amaze me by the young ladies they are becoming but on the other hand, to be honest, I am nostalgic for the babies who so desperately needed me. I’m torn. Happy for this new phase of real closeness that’s replacing the relationship where I got to be the hero. But, on the other hand, I do miss being the hero. Being human in your child’s eyes is both humbling and liberating but absolutely equalizing. Everybody who has ever had a child that’s grown into an adult knows this. I’m still figuring this all out.

Something strange is happening in our house, the girls are growing up and turning into actual human beings that I love spending time with. The thing  is that this is not what I expected. I based my parenting beliefs on one untruth that my daughters would naturally separate from me as they grew older. I was dreading it but this is something I was counting on saving me from dying from a broken heart when they leave for college. But, contrary to my experience with my own mother, we seem to be growing even closer as they enter these years and this scares the hell out of me. How am I to survive the pending separation in a few years?

Gwen Stefani, 1st concert, this is what the truth feels like, parenting, girls, milestones

I’m not the kind of mom who would ever keep her kids close for her own satisfaction. I had that done to me and, honestly, I think it truly altered the course of my life. No, I believe that if you love something you have to set it free. I have to give my children wings to fly, no matter how much my selfish heart wants to clip them and keep them with me forever.  The thought of not seeing their faces every single day breaks my heart. I try not to think about it too much.

Lately, I find myself catching my breath at the realization that I made this. When they were newborns, I used to be in awe of their sheer perfection. How could someone so imperfect give life to something so amazing and unscathed? But now, I sometimes watch them while they sleep and stand in silence and awe because I can’t believe these amazing humans they are becoming. It’s more than just cute and smart and funny, it’s big hearts with passionate minds and an openness that blows my heart wide open. They’ve been living in this world and they actively pursue goodness. They strive to love in a world filled with so much hate. They inspire me to be better. Then I’m stopped in my tracks when I realize they are reflections of their father and I and that’s wow. HUGE!

Gwen Stefani, 1st concert, this is what the truth feels like, parenting, girls, milestones

I remember being thrilled with each passing milestone; each defiant act of independence made my heart explode a little bit. The thing is this summer, there has been a huge shift happening, one I never anticipated…my girls are becoming human beings that I really enjoy being around. I thought I’d never be able to love them more than when they were sweet little newborns and toddlers and depended on me for survival but there is certainly something to be said for your children choosing to be around you rather than just needing to for survival.

This summer has brought some slight physical changes in my girls, things I won’t talk about because it’s my blog and not my story to tell, but I will say at a time when most girls begin to shut their mom’s out, my girls seem to be turning to me for guidance. Yep, I am as baffled by this as you because when I was a tween and I started “changing” I shut my mom out, first thing. But instead, they’re coming to me with questions, and for hugs and guidance.

Somewhere between the last day of school, all of these little changes have been happening very subtly. My cute little caterpillars are changing like whispers into butterflies. We have real conversations about real things and they listen and want my advice. It’s almost overwhelming because I was prepared for battle and instead, I’ve found allies. I didn’t think it was possible to love them any more than I already did but I was wrong. The bond is getting deeper.

Gwen Stefani, 1st concert, this is what the truth feels like, parenting, girls, milestones

The changes are small, minute almost, but they are definite. Suddenly, my baby is almost as tall as me and her feet are only a size smaller than mine. We can shop from the same stores and in the same departments but the thing that surprised me the most is that instead of wanting to be nothing like me, they want to be exactly like me. I don’t deny them this because they could definitely have worse role models. Sometimes I feel a little embarrassed when the oldest wants to dress alike because I’m sure the perception by strangers is that I’m trying to look younger by dressing like my daughter. That’s definitely not the case. I think, in her way, she uses it as a way to pull closer to me at a time when she feels herself naturally pulling away.

It’s a whole host of moments that have happened this summer. The kind that you’d miss if you weren’t paying attention. Moving into the juniors department and leaving the kid’s department behind. A new perspective and dedication to the things they love, not that of a fickle child but of a determined young lady. Suddenly, they are spending more time at the side of the pool talking to me on a lounge chair than cannon balling. Then there are the glances from boys that I don’t think they even notice, but I see it happening.

They are finally cool enough to enjoy Gwen Stefani in concert!

Their taste in music has improved drastically. We’ve long been past the days of the Wiggles and YoGabbaGabba (well, not too long they will still listen if a CD finds its way into the cd player) but they have been comfortably smack dab in Radio Disney land and that’s ok. They love pop music but suddenly they are developing a taste for alternative and rock and and an openness to all kinds of music (like myself). In fact, we took them to their first ever concert (that wasn’t a kid’s group) to see Gwen Stefani and her This is what the truth feels like tour and they loved it and we loved seeing them love it. It was definitely a moment that I will never forget.

School starts back next week and I’m honestly sad to see our summer together over. The school year brings with it obligations, rehearsals and a full schedule. We literally have one free day a week. I only have 7 more years, 7 more summers with my oldest in my house before she leaves for college and I can tell you definitely, it is not even near enough.

They say childhood goes by fast but in those first few days holding your newborn, you can never imagine just how fast. It’s a flash and I think if you do it right, when the time comes to send your child out into the world, it will break your heart into a million pieces but you will be able to take peace in the fact that they know you will always be their home and you are always there if they need to come home. At least that is what I’m believing from my short 11 years of parenting.

What was  your Gwen Stefani moment this summer with your kids?

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car seat, milestones, growing up, leting go, 8

growing up, car seats, milstones, motherhoodThe moments of motherhood that sneak up on you. Last week, my daughter turned 8. Wow, time is flying by at warp speed. Her birthday was on Sunday and it was preceded by complete chaos. There was a slumber party, the family party that concluded with the entire family shooting a Harlem shake video and Sunday, March 10, we celebrated officially; her father, her sister, her and myself. We always celebrate, just the four of us, on actual birthdays.

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The End of an era

Bella just lost her 2nd tooth over the holiday break, December 28th to be exact ( 2 months to the day that she lost the first one)  and now ( *gasp) Gabs has started saying “I”. Yes, my sweet , sweet baby who ALWAYS says, “MOMMY , ME…..” just this second ( inspiring this post ) said , ” Mommy, I’m a good girl.” And she said it while holding the dust pan as I swept, no less. This kid is  freaking breaking my heart with all her amazing, freakish sweetness and ginormous brains:)

New Year and looks like the littles have made some resolutions of their own.

Bella has decided that this is the year she is going to start using the word “glockenspiel” in everyday conversation. As of noon yesterday, she had already used it 347 times.  She is loosing teeth like its the end of the world.Hold on, didn’t 5000 birds just fall out the sky this week, for no apparent reason? Maybe her teeth are just one more sign of the times.Mind your P’s and Q’s people, maybe end of days are just around the corner.Nah, she’s only lost the bottom three..when the molars start spontaneously jumping out of her mouth…then, my friends, be worried.But still, the tooth fairy has not been allowed to visited us. By the time she decides to relinquish those teeth, the tooth fairy’s going to have to take out a small equity loan. Actually, a sure sign the world is ending will be the day my littles no longer want chicken nuggets for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Bella has also apparently resolved that she is going to argue EVERY single point I have, request I make, and food I offer.This does not bode well, as I am resolving to have my own resolution to prioritize and be present. Lucky for her, I’ve resolved to love hard and love often. Lucky for me, I have also resolved to let forgiveness rule my world.She doesn’t listen, I forgive her. Deep breath. So, she can argue at every turn and I will still be there to wrap my arms around her crazy little self and love on her.If its too much on occasion, I can walk to another room, take a breath and not feel guilty that I’m not feeling particularly sunshine and unicorns about her behavior that day. Forgiveness for me! Serenity now!It’s a good thing and I think it will serve us well in our household.

Gabs, aside from resolving to talk like a grown up and break my heart, has resolved that since she does everything her sister does, she too is going to argue every point, request and food that I dare to offer.She has even upped the ante by throwing in bedtime, bath time,and playtime. I’m a lucky, lucky lady. Just when I thought my heart was going to burst from the pain of them growing up too fast, they go and do something amazing like make me want free time by being argumentative.In direct contradiction,Gabs has decided that while whipping me into a breathless tizzy ( from all the deep breaths, obviously) she will toy with me. She has decided that the best remedy for a Mommy who’s head is about to explode from aggravation is to constantly chide her with “I LOVE YOU, MOMMY” well, up until today “ME LOVE  YOU, MOMMY!” Then, just when I think I can’t take one second more, she will lean in and squeeze me around my thighs like I am a puppy from the pet store that she is trying to convince us to buy ( because the dog we have is so not the “in” thing anymore.) Just like that, I melt into a pool of putty in her tiny little hands.

I’m not sure what  this year will bring, but I do know that the girls and I will be growing together;bending and reaching to meet one another in the middle. Hopefully, soon, we will get to join the Big Guy. Because though I did not mention this in my New Year post, my number 1 resolution is to get the Big Guy, our girls and myself back in the same zip code. It feels like the shades are only half open on our lives with the Big Guy not here with us. For now, I’ll keep on inciting my revolution to be the best me, the girls will keep testing my resolve to keep to those resolutions and we’ll try not to drive one another completely crazy while waiting for more angry birds to fall from the sky. I still think they were only trying to get those damn piggies, but that’s just me!

*Update, last night after  I wrote this post, Bella lost her 3rd tooth (Jan 4, 2010). Come to think of it, this kid is loosing teeth at an alarming rate! Beware the apocalypse.

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tips for potty training, potty training, toddlers, motherhood

How did you go about potty training your little ones?

Two years ago, I first embarked on this lovely little fact of life, we lovingly refer to as Potty training. It was my first time and I followed the advice of all the parenting books. I constantly , from the age of 18 months, stalked my daughter for any indication that she was ready to start the dreaded Potty training regime.

So, as soon as I noticed that she 1) absolutely hated her diaper being wet 2) told me that her diaper was wet 3) did not want to wear diapers anymore; I got right on the potty training. So, at first I tried the whole “take her diaper off and let her run around commando”, all that did was let her pee all over my carpet. I thought it was embarrassing the first time I caught myself sniffing her butt in public to see if she pooped, holy guacamole, that was nothing compared to the fact that her urinating on my floor didn’t even phase me. I simply thought to myself, “Yeah, that’s going to have to be shampooed tomorrow!” When did I devolve into this butt sniffing, urinating not caring, vomit and spit up wearing person?

Anyways, back to the task at hand..”potty training”. Yeah, the peeing on the carpet wasn’t working for either of us. She was wet and irritated, I was annoyed and somewhat grossed out and I felt really bad for her. Next, I tried the “put on some panties and take her to the potty every 15 minutes” approach. All attempts and approaches were coupled with lots and lots of praise, her Dad and I would jump for joy and sing the “Go,Bella! Go, Bella!” song. She loved it and squealed with delight and pride, asking for more, each and every time we did it. This seemed to work and after only a couple of mishaps and near misses, she totally got the hang of it. We were so proud. So, of course, the Diaper fairy had to pay a visit. I stole this gem from Jo Frost of “the Nanny”..but hers was a pacifier Fairy, luckily, we had no need for that Fairy.

In effect , what happened next was my husband and I had our dear, sweet almost 2 year old put all her “daytime” diapers in a Fed Ex box and mailed them off to the “Diaper Fairy”. Well, that was our story and we are sticking to it. It just so happens that the Diaper Fairy is one of my other alter egos. The next day, the Diaper Fairy sent our girl a Fed Ex box full of goodies for her accomplishment. All was good in our household.

Baby # 2 was coming in a couple months and baby #1 was on her way to making life, for Mommy, a little easier. What a little rock star she was to me.
Fast forward 2 months, Baby #2 is here.Life is fantastic.Baby #1 decides that “No, not feeling this potty training stuff. That baby’s not stealing my thunder.” She completely regressed. I knew it was too easy.So, fast forward almost an entire year and finally, it stuck! It was a long haul but totally worth it!It’s always worth it not to have to change diapers or shampoo pee out of the carpet, thank God that we never had the privilege of having to shampoo a “poo” out of the carpet, or she still may have been wearing diapers to this day.
Now here we are, almost two years later and guess what? Baby #2, that awesome, rock star Gabs, is ready to be trained. But the most amazing thing has happened.Having learned from my previous fiasco and the “Year of the potty”, I have decided that I will just wait until she is ready… really ready . Well, she follows her sister everywhere, to the ends of the earth and that includes to the potty. So, one day she just comes to us, rips off her diaper, “Mamma, potty!” and she takes my hand into her little hand and pulls me to the potty. She sits on the potty and promptly pees. A huge smile, ear to ear, and she is beaming with pride.

We are shocked and amazed.I was seriously expecting to fall over and pass out from shock. But in true Truthful Mommy fashion, I scream for my husband, who rushes into the bathroom ( probably thinking that one of the girls has fallen in the tub or maimed herself in some horrible accident) only to find me smiling from ear to ear. I point to my little genius on the potty and we immediately break into that old familiar chorus of “Woohoo!Go Gabi!Go, Gabi!” and we clap and tell her how proud of her we are and her sister tells her what a big girl she is. We are ecstatic. The thought of no longer having to buy or use diapers, thrills us all, beyond fathomable belief but it has to be a fluke.

Then the next day, she does it again, and then so on and so forth. Now, 2 weeks into her doing this on her own and her big sister constantly reminding us, the Diaper Fairy is finally making an appearance at our house again.She’ll be 2 tomorrow and she’s potty trained, all by herself. Oh my God, SHE IS POTTY TRAINED!!! Seriously, there is a silver lining to every cloud. Life is good.Diapers be gone, come again no more!!!

We survived potty training..TWICE!

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