Sitting with one of my long time friends, she began talking about parenting and her two little ones. She has a two and a half-year old and a ten month old. “Does it get easier?” she asked. She asked this and I reflected back to the time my first child was placed in my arms. It was so foreign to me and the years seemed like they would never pass. Becoming a parent was a change to me and so was my life. There are some that it seems motherhood and parenting comes natural, for me, it was a bit different. Perhaps, because I never paused to think about my life with kiddos? I am not sure. Though as I thought about it in those brief moments as my friend was waiting for an answer and I saw my eight and a half-year old playing for the most part independently and being okay doing that, my answer to her was yes, it does get easier in some ways. As children start growing you see their inclination to want to grow up and it’s a proud moment and a sad one too. Dependence of children when they are young can be so very draining on a parent. I have three children, each about three years apart, so I never encountered children that are really close together in age. I can see how that could be a bit more challenging. Some days as parents we feel as if we are being pulled in so many directions. Fatigue and tiredness set in and any kind of break is welcome and needed. It especially becomes a little more difficult when there is a lack of family support or limited help around. Not that having some else take care of your kids is what you are looking for, just a break, a moment to breathe, to regroup is a great gift. As a parent of young children, from ages 0-5, some of the things I found to be helpful during those “Does it get any easier” days:
- Get your kid or kids outside (summer is great for this of course but winter works too! Kids love the snow!)
- Read books for ideas on how to communicate with your little one. A couple of my favorite books are, Happiest Toddler on the Block and Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp
- Get the craft materials out. Kids love to get messy.
- Bubbles, kids love bubbles
- Have fun with them and give them structure. Visit my Build ME Blocks website for ideas.
What do you think? Does parenting get any easier as kids get older or does it just change?
Summer is in full swing, the kids are out, you’ve probably visited a few places. Don’t throw away those tickets! Use them to make a summer memory bowl. Browsing through the pages of the Family Fun magazine, I came across this idea of a Summer Souvenir Bowl. What a great idea! Summertime is a great time for kids and families and when it come to an end, even though there is excitement of school starting, there are those days of wanting the summer days and nights to return. This is a great idea to remember the fun times and be able to look back on them when the summer closes and the fall begins to roll in. So, no, don’t toss those tickets, they are worth memories. In fact, this is a good idea, even for yearly keepsakes.
Oh, I had a million things I could do, catch up on work, dirty dishes, sweep, pay bills, you know where I am going with this. And, there are many days that I do this. The kids were upstairs, content, no squabbles, no he did this, she did that, no tears, no screams of horror that need saving from mommy. Everything pointed toward relaxation time, a time that comes sparingly. Instead, a wild idea enters my thoughts to play with my three glued to the tv–hence the quietness–kiddos. Leaving the computer, thinking it is so very quiet, what am I doing, I enter the room. “Do you want to play a game?” They looked at me as if the Mom they knew had been captured by a magical creature (clarification, we do play games and this was not the first ever suggestion of playing games). They asked, “What game?” “You guys choose,” I said. We cleared some room so we could play Dizios. I played working to block out the things to do all around me. Many times I sit down to play and end up in my own game of pick up (better known as cleaning). Not today, today my full attention was with my kids. We played 30 minutes or somewhere around that time frame. Those 30 minutes could have been used to tackle many other things though I would not have ever had the moment–those 30 minutes of time with my kids.
Have you ever had an experience like this?
Jack’s Five and Ten, Grape and Orange Popsicles and 1 cent fortune gum—the best gum—memories of the past but history of the future. Instead of sitting in traffic on the Kennedy Expressway, we decide to take Cumberland to get us into the city. We hit the city and the neighborhood, streets and areas become familiar. 2543 N. Kilbourn, we are by the first house I remember as a kid. It’s actually and apartment. My parent’s help manage it and took care of the tenants. It is where my sister and I ate our neighbor’s fundraiser Tootsie roll tubes. They looked so inviting in those tubes with the slots at top. Mom was not impressed. “I am going to have to pay for all of those.” Her words still clear nearly 30 years later. I thought to myself, we ate almost all of them. “Oh no!” The backyard comes into view and I remember my childhood play: “I knew a senorita with diamonds in her hair,” my favorite black shoes, the tons of stairs that led down into the back common yard. The garage, the ally. We continue on, “that is the high school you would have gone to if we didn’t move.” Mom says. Kelvyn Park we come upon next. Sprinklers, Metal swing horses—not sure if they were trying to eliminate kids because these swings though fun were deadly! 2825 N. Kenneth, my favorite house. My Mom loved this house. Creativity would sneak in on cold days—tape recording my favorite songs of my favorite station B96. Snowy days Barbies would visit Alaska right out the window of my bedroom. Down the street childhood memories return like the sun on a bright day: neighbors, tragedies, kids and kid stuff. At the stop sign we turn left, Barry Elementary, the grammar school I attended until 6th grade. “Look,” I say to my kids—“that is my grammar school.” “That looks creepy,” they say. I laugh, “you should see the inside.” Past the ally my mom would walk me through when I called home from the office, sick for the 5th time that week. I am lucky she did not follow the “Boy who cried wolf” fable. Teacher problems, I wasn’t really sick. Being a kid seems like a different world as my mind travels back to my childhood. Looking back that different world was forming much of who I am today. Life lessons were learned, fears faced—conquered and not, consequences paid, milestones met. “Mom, I have to pee,” my three-year old bursts out as we are driving. Where will we stop, the neighborhood has changed so much since my childhood, we found a restaurant behind my grammar school. I had not walked near that school in years. A zap, the memories. My kids, our kids, they are in the midst of their childhood. Inventions, technology has increased the speed of life. That is my philosophy anyway. Kids, they are so eager to grow up faster. I am old school I suppose, I say be a kid, cherish your childhood, it only lasts just a short while and “the little years pass so fast.” These are famous words, I hear them all the time. I have no rebuke. I am seeing my kids grow before my eyes.
My heart and prayers go out to those kids whose childhood is less than a childhood in any way. I know that in certain circumstances…childhood can be less than optimal.
I look at him as he sleeps. I think to myself, is he really mine? He was a newborn just yesterday, in reality yesterday was 10 years ago. He sleeps and I slip back into his baby years, my first born. The time we spent together–he and I. Reflecting on one of my most favorite traits about him, his smile and infectious laugh. I prayed he would always keep that with him and not let the weight of the world turn on a frown, that he would push through his challenges no matter what they are. Looking at him, I ache for his struggles–the battle that he fights. A fight where I can be in his army and walk with him in his battle and be his backup where needed. Feeling what he feels will never be a superpower of mine. To walk in his shoes will be as close as I get to his fight. I will battle with him on his journey. I will be happy as he meets his successes. I will stand in his corner as he meets his childhood battles and then some. Patience and understanding will be a battle tool of mine that will be sharpened. Answers will be the treasure. The goal to help him fight his battles while he lives a great life!
Alarm clock set for 5 a.m., Yes! I can do it. Dropped my husband off at work the night before so we could get there on time. Nine and a half years ago Dicky started working for an airline. I resigned at my job to be at home with our then six month old baby boy. Deciding to stay home was an up and down roller coaster, though in the end, staying home was the end of one ride and the beginning of a new one. The combination of flight benefits and the choice to stay home, William and I started using the flight benefits and traveling often. We saw a lot of baseball, traveled to many states and visited my hometown of Chicago and Dicky’s hometown of California. It was a time of fun with a lot of learning. Fast forward one year from my last travels on an airplane, relying on my early travel expertise, we set out to Chicago to see my side of the family as the oldest two kids’ summer vacation began. Sitting on the airplane, I thought to myself, we did it! I did it! Security and the flight were successful minus a couple of blunders. No major breakdowns and a mostly calm baby, an older sibling helping a younger and a nap for baby, big sister and Dad. Yes, travels–on a plane (in a public space) with kids (little, young kids) can be stressful and feel not worth it, though with a few pairs of hands, a semi-plan of organization, a few musical plane chairs, trips to the hardly fit one person bathroom, a couple snacks (mostly sugar) and not worrying too much about the plane company, we pulled off our travels with four kiddos with mostly high spirits and arrived all in one piece. We are enjoying excursion number one of the summer.
2004, the year I found out I was pregnant with my first child. Exciting and new and ready for a new adventure. Pregnancy progressed and I saw my body changing. I thought it was just the belly, that is where the baby grew after all.Time progressed, I got through the beginning, the hardest part for me. Sick, tired and just didn’t quite feel like me. Once passed the sickness, uncontrolled hunger. Where did this come from? I wanted to eat everything and my weight began to reflect it. 40 weeks passed and I gave birth to my firstborn son. An amazing experience. Now, I find myself in my 6th pregnancy, my 4th to term pregnancy and I have found that I am not the greatest pregnant woman nor do I marvel in being pregnant. Hibernation for 12 months or so would not be so much to ask, would it? Approaching my 28th week, entering my third trimester, I cannot believe the time has past as quick as it has for this pregnancy. After a miscarry in October of 2013, I feel like I have been pregnant forever (I was able to get pregnant again in November 2014). In my previous pregnancy, I really didn’t take the time to enjoy the life that was growing inside. I was focused on the weight I was gaining and why with each pregnancy I feel like I have such lack of control when it come to food during pregnancy. I have worked to focus on the growth of baby and not worry so much about my lack of physical activity (though I try to be as active as possible). My body hurts this pregnancy around and I know that this is the last time I will be pregnant. I work at focusing on the kicks that are happening inside, the growth, the life that is living vs. the roundness of my face or the extra weight I will be left with after baby arrives. As I write, she kicks, she moves and I know that she is there. It’s as if she knows that I am writing about her and her life to be. Life is a miracle, the growth of a child is a miracle. As I realize this, I work to set aside my insecurities to enjoy these last encounters with pregnancy: kicks, side sleeping, rolling out of bed, physical limitations, round belly, awkward pregnancy waddle. I know as this season of my life comes to a close, I will miss it. Though I am ready for the continued adventures of motherhood and parenting.