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.

Food For Thought

It really didn’t occur to me before becoming a parent, just how much women tear each other down. I mean, I turn on the laptop or look at my phone and I’m bombarded with articles about the right way to parent, about how motherhood is meant to look and often starting with the dreaded “Dear mom…”. It’s not okay.

Parenting and motherhood are individual experiences. One persons norm, can be completely and utterly different to another persons. So why do we insist on writing articles that tear each other down? Shouldn’t we be creating the “village”? We should be building one another up, being a compassionate and understanding ear to one another when shit gets real. Because motherhood is hard and if you think it’s not, well, as Amy Poehler says “Good for her! Not for me”.

I’ve been torn down by other women, first hand. Grown women passing judgement on someone they know nothing about in order to what? Feel better about themselves? Elevate themselves above the women they are treating so negatively? No. Not for me.

In the same brush stroke, these same women are the ones not only targeting other mothers, but women in general. They fit shame, fat shame, body shame etc. Mind your own business. Be mindful of yourself. And please, don’t sugar coat your objectification and judgment and label it as being “concerned”.

You might be thinking that by writing this, I’m judging these women, and in turn, I’m doing exactly what they are. And I’d challenge you in that I am not tearing these women down, they’ve already lowered themselves to a point that I hope, they can elevate themselves from. I won’t stand idly by and watch others treat anyone with so much disdain, parents, women and men.

I leave you with this quote, some food for thought so to speak.

“You don’t have to knock anyone off their game to win yours. It doesn’t build you up to tear others down.” – Mandy Hale

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.

Dear Jodie

It’s time you made a change. Stop taking steps forwards and then running back to your bad habits. Look forward, stop falling into the same old traps, the emotional eating, the talking yourself into having one more bite and saying “It won’t hurt!”. It will hurt. Because the next time the scales don’t show the numbers going down, or you see yourself in the mirror and you are still fluffy around the middle, scrutinizing your body, you’ll hurt.

So the next time you reach for some chocolate or ice cream, stop. Grab an apple.
The next time you tell yourself “Just one more”, stop. Have a glass of water.
The next time you look in the mirror and feel defeated, or stand on the scales and see no weight loss… close your eyes, take a deep breath and move on.

The number on the scales has no correlation to your self worth. But the fact that it hurts you to be going through these motions, to not be moving in the direction you desire, that tells you that it’s time for a change. No more excuses.

You’ve got this. You aren’t a teenager, and your body has grown and birthed two wonderful children, so you’ve got to change up the game.

And you know what? GAME ON!

Lines, Dots and The Squiggles In-between

Parenting is definitely a learning curve, that looks something like a crayon squiggle across a brightly colored wall. So maybe it’s not a curve, but it sure has its ups and downs.

I’m learning a lot about myself in the process of raising these two tiny human beings. I’m realizing things about my personality, my approach to life and really feeling more connected to my emotions in the process. And trust me, for a British person to be sharing as much as I have about my feelings, is a big bloody deal!

Calvin is teaching me every day. He’s made me more patient, more understanding and shifted my perspective on what parenting would be like. We are taking this journey together. For example, today he went running off across the field at the park. Usually he doesn’t go far and knows that he needs to stay where I can see him. But in an effort to keep up with some squirrels, my calls to him to turn his little butt back around, fell on deaf ears. I chased after him. My immediate response was that I should be angry and tell him off. Then he opened his mouth and the excitement as he told me why he had run away made me put the breaks on. I listened. And although I still told him off for running and not listening when I called, we also discussed his interest in the squirrels and also the dangers of him being out of my sight. I could have blown up, him not listening really pushes my buttons. But I’m learning.

Mia although she can’t speak, is teaching me the power of communicating in different ways. She is the most communicative child I have met without having to say a single word. The looks on her face, her bodily response, speak volumes. It’s making me more aware of my own body language and behaviors. When I approach the kids with love, I want it to really show, and when I approach them with discipline, I want my expression to read as stern and not frightening as I fear it does right now.

Removal

When Calvin was born, we noticed that he had a skin tag on his left ear. No big deal, it hasn’t effected his hearing and Curtis and his uncle actually both had the same thing when they were kids, although both of them had the tags removed. We had a consultation with a surgeon when Calvin was a couple of days old, who decided that it was best to wait until he was past the two year mark so that they could use anesthesia.

Today we had his three year well check and his pediatrician asked if we would like to see a surgeon to get it removed. I decided that it was probably for the best that we do it at this point before he starts preschool. Most people don’t really notice it, but I have noticed more recently that older children do. And some of the unkind words that are said about it, make my heart hurt and Calvin being the sensitive soul that he is, usually takes it with a grain of salt, but I can tell it upsets him.

He won’t need to go under anesthesia after all, so it will be a quick out patient surgery and hopefully the healing time will be minimal for such a small issue. I do feel somewhat bad for making the decision for him. I had told him that he could decide for himself when he grows up, which is what he told the doctor this morning! But, as the doctor also noted, we don’t know if it will grow.  So, next week it will be removed.

Also, he is 3ft 6″ tall… he’s a giant toddler!

Change 

There are dishes in the sink, plates on the table and laundry to be done. But they can all wait. For the first time in a while, today I felt like I was just relaxing with the kids. We visited the zoo together, something we haven’t done very much in the past, but with new memberships, I hope we can do more of in the future. We set out bright and early and enjoyed the warmth of the first signs of spring as we toured the new African Adventure exhibit at Fresno Chaffee Zoo. I pulled the kids in the wagon whilst they looked at the animals, snacked and enjoyed the ride. 

  We got up close with some cheetahs which I think was a highlight for myself and the kids.

Calvin and Mia both fed the giraffes and giggled their heads off when the long tongues grabbed the lettuce leaves.
 Mia was mesmerized by the sea lions and Calvin loved feeling the sting rays drift past his fingertips at Stingray Bay. 

 

Today’s outing was a welcome break! We moved out of our house last week and into our little apartment that we will reside in until the limbo of having a new house to move into is over. It’s been a whirlwind of moving everything into our temporary home and into storage whilst Curtis has juggled work and I’ve juggled the kids. Luckily we have had some amazing friends and family to help.

I needed today. The kids needed today. Everything else can wait. We are busy making memories! 

 

In the Closet

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but Mia sleeps in our closet. She has done for probably the last four months or so. She sleeps in our closet (it’s a walk in) because the only other options are to sleep in our room, sleep in Calvin’s room or sleep downstairs by herself. All of those options have problems, like standing up and shouting at us in the middle of the night, keeping Calvin awake (and Calvin keeping her awake) and my uneasiness of her being so far away. So the closet it is.

We also thought that being isolated, but within close proximity, would help her sleep.

She has never slept through the night.

You aren’t reading that wrong, she’s one and has never slept through the night.

Well, I think we have had a breakthrough tonight, something so simple and overlooked. White noise. We have tried it in short bursts in the past, but then our machine broke and we abandoned it. We went out and bought a new one on a whim and low and behold she slept from 7:30 until 3am without a wake up. That is miraculous!

On the flip side of this, I had caffein today, a lot of it (I usually only drink decaf) and I’ve had about an hour of sleep… It’s 3:30am. I could kick myself! 

Nearing An End

I think the breastfeeding journey with Mia is nearing an end. We have already implemented night weaning and she is becoming less interested with nursing during the day unless she is tired. I’m looking at this next phase with bittersweet emotion. On one hand, I will be happy to be done with nursing through the night, sore nipples and fingers up my nose, but on the other hand, Mia is the last baby I will nurse.

I breastfed Calvin until around the 18 month mark, I can’t remember exactly, as I was nauseated from pregnancy and it was that which pushed me to finally wean him. Mia is coming up to 14 months and she is a biter! She has left me more than once with little troll teeth marks around my nipples before aggressively pushing away.

I’m extremely thankful that I have been able to breastfeed my children, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world had I not been able to or that they would have preferred the bottle, but it’s given me a unique opportunity to watch them grow from something my body has produced, that’s kind of awesome!

I can also almost see a full night of sleep in sight… almost!

 

*This is my 100th post! Thank you for reading!