On a lighter note…

Rain is due in the next few days and I am looking forward to it! Rainy days mean cuddles on the couch with the kids, playing in the muddy back garden and doing crafts in the dimly lit dining room whilst listening to the pitter patter of the drops.

Rain is a rare in Fresno, but so common at home in England. It’s weather that can make my heart feel heavy and light simultaneously. I love it.

Advertisements

News

I haven’t paid much attention to the news lately. When I do, I see so much pain, so much sadness. And, I suppose it has always been there, it will always be there, but right now it seems magnified. I try to pay attention only to the positive stories, the little glimmers of hope, of love…

Maybe I am the ostrich, with my head buried deep in the sand, wanting not to see the world in it’s grey and tarnished state. I want to see the world perhaps, through rose tinted glasses, as a child sees it.

I know Calvin and Mia only see love around them. I know that they have no concept of the hate of other human beings, or the atrocities committed in the names of so many. But I also know that a four year old understands strong dislike, they understand the idea that someone can be a bully, that bad behavior can hurt more than just someones heart. Isn’t that just a little bit terrifying?

I want to shelter them from the news, from hearing about the pain of the world and the people in it. I want to shelter my own heart and mind, pouring all of my love, all of my positivity into my family. So whilst the negative sometimes slips through the cracks, and I choose to read the occasional news story, to keep current, to know what it out there, I will continue to seek the positive. I will seek the love and the light.

Happiness and Tears

I feel like growing up, for me, moments when I saw my parents cry were few and far between. I remember seeing my mom cry a few times after an argument (she’s an angry crier, as am I). She cried when Princess Diana died, and when my brother joined the Army. And in my adult life, she cried when my grandfather died and when my father died. I’m sure she has cried many times that I haven’t seen, but those are the moments I have witnessed, and the times my father cried openly, were as few. But consistently, saying goodbye at the airport has been moments of shared tears between us.

I don’t want to dwell on the tears we shared today in the airport, or the tears I shed as I drove home and the tears I will inevitably cry when the kids go to bed tonight. She stayed with us a month this visit, and I want to focus on the happiness that I have felt, the experiences we shared as a family. So tonight, I will flick through the photos we took, I will look at my kids smiling faces, and I will focus on the joy.

I hope you can find the happiness beneath the tears, as they can often be the most therapeutic and cathartic.

 

Finding Myself

Do you ever feel like you are adrift?

I’ve been feeling this often lately and I think I have touched on this feeling in past posts. I am Jodie, I am wife, and I am mother. But what else am I? I am incapable of placing my finger on the map of my life and really finding direction. This is a hard thing to come to realize when you are a planner.

I love spontaneity, but at the same time, I like organization, I like the details planned out so that I feel secure in the decisions being made. I learned to let go of those expectations a little when I became a parent. After all, how can you really plan ahead when you have two tiny humans who are chaos incarnate?

Our days are about to be shook up. Calvin will be starting preschool three days a week in August and Curtis is about to begin a new schedule, at a new station. And then there will be Mia and I, and I feel the need to fill those mornings when Calvin is in school, with activities for her and I. But with what? That direction thing again…

If life came with a compass, it would have no needle.

Sensitive Children

I was reading an article this evening where the author wrote about how her nephew is a sensitive child, and how his emotions are not something to be fixed, but rather to be helped along in learning to control and understand them.

I couldn’t agree more. Calvin is 3, he’s also 3.5ft tall and looks very much like a 5 or 6 year old child when playing with other kids. He is also very sensitive and some might say, overly emotional. This can sometimes cause problems. Often I am asked by other parents how old he is, and usually it is because he is acting like the 3 year old that he is, and he is dealing with some big emotions. He wants to play with everyone, he wants to be friends with everyone, and when faced with rejection, or a child who hits or pushes him away, he deals with is with great sadness and anger.

Part of me looks at these emotions and the way he handles them, usually with tears, and wants to toughen him up. But then I remember something, I remember that he is three, he is dealing with emotions that are sometimes much bigger than he is. There are adults, myself included, who are still learning to manage their emotions appropriately. So how can I expect him to stop crying if his feelings have been hurt, just because I may shrug off those feelings as an adult?

Right now I am dealing with him also not wanting to talk things over, he would rather deal with things by looking away, by crying and then eventually just needing a hug. I’m trying to get more response from him on a verbal level. I want to be able to discuss these overwhelming emotions with him, and perhaps to guide him in the right direction in handling them. I’m not trying to fix him, but he has to understand that sometimes, it’s just not the right time or place to cry.

This may always be a challenge for him. I know that I can sometimes be swept away by emotions, whether is be anger or sadness, but I have also learned ways to handle them. I hope he can get to that point as well.

Though he is sensitive, I can also see how empathetic he is. He may take another child ignoring him or not wanting to play, as rejection, but I know that when a child is alone, or seems to be sad, he is right there by there side to be the friend they may need.

On this day

On this day last year, my sister, her boyfriend, my mom and my dad, came to visit us for three weeks. At the time we didn’t know just how sick my dad was. We thought the sickness he was experiencing was a reoccurring chest infection that the doctors had been telling him he had for over a year, treating it with antibiotics and a nebulizer. They almost didn’t make the trip at this time, they were going to come in March… But that would have been too late.

They spent three weeks with us, we did a lot of mundane things, we hung around the house, but we also did some exploring, seeing Yosemite, Old Town Clovis and Sac, Avila Beach and San Francisco before they went home. 

I’m so grateful that they made the trip, that dad had the opportunity to see the kids and that we had time together as a family before everything shattered just 18 days after his diagnosis. I try so hard not to go to that dark place when I think of him. I try not to dwell on those last days, but to savor the laughs, the joy and the sweetest memories.

I’m glad that Calvin remembers him, that he says often that he misses his papa, and shows Mia photos of him. He’s three and death is a big concept for such a little person. 

Family is the most important thing to me. My little unit of four, my parents, my siblings… These are the people who make me, me. 

Weaning

When I started breastfeeding Calvin, I had some struggles with it, but after consulting with experienced friends and family, he and I, got the hang of it. He breastfed until 15 months and I would have let him go longer, had him nursing not made me feel like I wanted to vomit (I was pregnant). 

Mia took to breastfeeding like a duck to water, and is approaching her first birthday. I’m struggling lately with the desire to wean her, in hopes that it helps her sleep better at night (no more comfort feeding) or letting her go as long as she wants and self weans.

I’m blessed to have been able to breastfeed them at all, for some women it’s just not possible. And for others, formula was always the plan, and either way, I don’t judge anyone on that choice. Just feed all the babies!

So the desire to wean her is somewhat selfish. She still wakes 2-3 times a night and the only thing that gets her back to sleep, is nursing her. And I am exhausted. Ive racked up 26 months of breastfeeding at this point, and only a few months after I stopped nursing Calvin, I had a newborn. You can do the math on how many months of uninterrupted sleep I’ve had in the last three years (hint: not many!).

It’s also a selfish desire, as I want to lose weight and whilst I’m breastfeeding, attempts at dieting have left me with decreased milk supply and the weight isn’t budging! I’ll get there, but I think the ideal time will be when my bodies nutrients aren’t being literally sucked out of me!

Here I stand on the precipice of ending nursing with my last child, and I’m torn. 

Sensitivity

Motherhood really gives you an uppercut to the feels! I noticed recently that since having children, I have become more sensitive when watching or reading anything about babies and young children. Tonight I found myself welling up watching Call the Midwife, because it not only focused on birth, but on the difficulty that some women face in having to give a child up for adoption.

I have no first hand experience of adoption from any angle, and thus, it has never really been a sensitive issue for me. I sympathize with all parties, but this evening, the idea of an otherwise healthy mother and child being separated from one another due to circumstances such as age and social standing, made my stomach ache and my heart catch in my throat. 

It’s great storytelling that as an observer, you can’t help but be drawn in by the emotional experience these parties are having. You find yourself trying to imagine making such a difficult decision, or in the case of some women having that decision made for you. I can’t begin to truly understand.

I don’t often read or watch the news now. There is just too many negative stories involving children that just the thought of such topics brings a burning sensation to my throat. I’m not trying to shelter myself from reality, but I also can do without filling my head and my heart with scenarios I’d rather not even imagine.

On the flip side of this, the increased tug on my emotions, I feel, has made me more empathetic. In general I find myself relating easier to people, and specifically, I can empathize better with parents and also the emotions of young children. Where in the past I may have looked at a crying child and thought “what have they got to cry about!?” (callous I know!), I am able to understand that young kids are dealing with a whole host of new emotions. I’m not excusing bad behavior, but hell, a few years into life is hardly enough time to expect a child to have their feelings perfectly in line with something such as the high concept of logic! 

I don’t know where I’m going with this, other than to say, I’m more emotionally in tune. And a glass of wine and a topic close to my heart is much more likely to have me reaching for the tissues nowadays than ever before!